5.2.09

Before changing the world... Think about it.

The Green Web
Preach, but do too.

Being thirty something, thinking of building a familly, etc. makes you necessarily think about the future and the legacy that your children will inherit from your acts. Well, I am certainly not the best example of an eco-friendly consumer, but I do try to bring my little contribution. Sustainable development is something that everyone have more and more at core. And obviously some brands try to surf on that trend. Some in all legitimacy, others with more opportunism...

Fiat falls into the first category. I have re-discovered tonight their engagement to develop more eco-friendly cars and to pave the way for more sustainable behaviors. The website, Eco-drive, designed by London-based webagency AKQA and so awarded during tonight Creative Showcase Awards that IAB and Microsoft Advertising organised, drives you through a series of initiatives and tips around carbon footprint and eco-friendly car usage. Simplistic, realistic, to the point and... Believable as these intentions are turned into proper actions.

The green rant.

Now, I would like to share a personal experience. Being a migrating worker, who has been active in Germany, Singapore, Canada, Paris and now London, I had to open a few bank accounts in different banks around the globe. Today, since we spend some time on both sides of the Channel, we have kept our Parisian accounts open alongside our UK accounts. I have one, my wife too and we also have a joint account. The three of them in the same branch of the same bank, the BNP Paribas in Paris. We have nothing to complain about when it comes to account servicing. We have been migrated to an international account supervisor who kindly liaises with us to help us keep an eye on our finances (and tries to sell us some investments every now and then).

The BNP slogan is "the bank of a changing world". They even created a blog to crystalise this vision and exchange with their customers and partners. As you can see on that blog, they prominently feature a section on the Environment. They have also a dedicated section of their corporate website dedicated to sustainable development. The later features a series of reports, going back to 2004, to certify that they are committed to deliver and have been for quite some time now.

With that in mind, I decided to do my eco-friendly act of the day. I had just come back from a long and hectic day and found on my doorstep three envelopes with the BNP logo on it. As mentioned my wife and I have overall three current accounts with this bank and every month they send us three separate mails, to let us know what transactions occured in the past few weeks. Our statements come along with some commercial leaflets that we don't care about. 3 times the same brochure that gets teared apart and thrown away in the recycling bin. I thus decided to click on the 'contact us' link on their website and explained the following:
  1. We live a digital era where online banking should enable us to get visibility on our accounts in a digital format, but...
  2. BNP does not enable you to opt out from receiving your statement by post
  3. BNP website grants you visibility only on your last month of activity, without the possibility to consult your older archives.
  4. They are thus far off the UK best practices that you have with institutions like Barclays, HSBC and the like.
  5. Worse, BNP online banking is a chargeable option. I am not kidding, pure insane truth. You are paying for dematerialisation, reduction of paperwork, efficiency gains, etc. Everything that everywhere else is considered as cost-saving items.
  6. We have three accounts and yet we don't need to receive three different mails with irrelevant brochures.
  7. These are even sent at a premium cost since they require international stamping

My logic was quite solid, I thought: improve your website to enable full visibility on my transaction history and let me opt out of your eco-unfriendly statements which will save you money alongside as few trees. I was quite proud of myself. I was about to change the world, the BNP world... However that was without expecting the answer from this so-called bank of a changing world.

It came a month later. When I came home that day, I did not find three BNP letters on my door mat, but four. The three ususal bank statements with their recurring brochures, and a letter: a useless A4 note stating that they acknowledged my query, valued my opinion which perfectly aligns with their coporate preoccupations as I could read on their website and wished me all the best in my ongoing relationship with the bank... So basically they ignored the content of my email, or they would not have pointed me to the site I contacted them from, and they would certainl have not sent a letter, in a separate internationally stamped enveloppe!

When you have such a brand claim and a logo featuring four green stars... Well you stop proclaiming, you act.

To read further:

  • Fishy Future, an ironic campaign on sustainable development
  • A spoonfull of meat, another interesting campaign spoofing The Matrix to bring you into the Meatrix and the deviant food processing industry
  • Agrarian Rant, some thoughts around French agriculture after Sarkozy hiccup during a recent tradeshow

1 comment:

  1. I am in the same situation, my french bank is BNP and they send my statement at my parents.

    Last time I went to France I asked the woman at the counter if I could stop receving them and she said no and that they are not planning to do so...What a waste of paper and money...

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