In the coming months, ICICI Bank will strive to
establish a connection in the minds of its customers between using their
debit cards and saving the planet.
Today, most people use debit cards to draw money from ATMs and spend the
money at shops and restaurants. ICICI Bank wants its customers to use
debit cards straightaway in shops and restaurants and thereby minimise
the use of paper currency.
Less paper use is more environment-friendly.
The Reserve Bank of India’s figures say that in 1935, India had 100
million pieces of currency notes in circulation. As at the end of March
2005, the notes in circulation were 36,985 million – or, about 370 times
“Imagine how much of energy, how much ink would be consumed in making
the paper,” says Dr Nachiket Mor, Deputy Managing Director, ICICI Bank.
The war against currency notes is one of the two steps envisaged under
the bank’s recent ‘Go green India’ initiative, the other one being to
coax customers to go online, in order to reduce paper-based transactions.
The initiative itself is a small step towards aligning all the bank’s
activities to environment sustainability, Dr Mor told /Business
Line/.The bank’s top brass is mulling bringing in what it calls
‘environmentally sustainable project finance’ or ESPF guidelines.
“At present, it is nothing more than a thinking. We don’t know what
shape the guidelines will take,” Dr Mor said.When fully evolved, the
guidelines will redefine the basis on which loans are given by the bank,
with a focus on environmental sustainability.
Dr Mor pointed out that there were two broad approaches to the issue.
First, to frame rules – do’s and don’ts to ensure environmental
protection – on the basis of which project finance will be made.
The second approach is to take a stand as ‘do whatever you want, but it
will cost you to go against environment protection’.
Dr Mor said that his personal sense was that the second approach might
be more practical. He said that one of the means of putting a cost on
any assault on environment was to develop a carbon trading market within