# “Green” Calculators Help Bank Go Green—Twice

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I’ve been seeing a lot of “green calculators” around these days. I love the concept because they accomplish two goals in one swoop: 1) they encourage businesses or consumers to take more environmentally responsible actions that 2) coincidentally also happen to help the marketer’s bottom line.

The latest green calculator I saw was on my bank’s website. The bank has been trying to encourage its customers to move to online statements and bills, and the latest iteration of its efforts is an online calculator that determines how much money you can save by going paperless.

It works like this. You input the number of paper bills you receive each month and the number of paper bills you pay each month. Then it automatically generates an estimate of what environmental impact the elimination of this paper would have. In this case, I input 10 paper bills received and 10 paper bills paid.

The results?

Time: 5 hours saved

Money: \$52.8 saved

Water: 37 gallons of wastewater prevented from discharging into lakes, streams, and rivers

Paper: 4 lbs. paper saved

Greenhouse Gases: 212 pounds of greenhouse gases avoided, which is equal to:

• 205 miles not driven in your car
• 3 trees planted (and grown for 10 years)
• 28 square feet of forest preserved from deforestation

If we change that to 14 paper bills received and 14 paper bills paid,  that changes to . . .

Time: 7 hours saved

Money: \$73.9 saved

Water: 52 gallons of wastewater prevented from discharging into lakes, streams, and rivers

Paper: 5 lbs. of paper saved

Greenhouse Gases: 212 pounds of greenhouse gases avoided, which is equal to:

• 205 miles not driven in your car
• 3 trees planted (and grown for 10 years)
• 28 square feet of forest preserved from deforestation

Of course, all of these numbers are subjective and fraught with variables. They are certainly heavily skewed in the bank’s favor. They don’t represent the impact of transitioning your bank bills online (since the calculator asks you to calculate all bills, whether they have paperless options or not). And they most likely don’t offset the savings from the elimination of paper with the environmental cost of running computers, servers, and all of that in replacement.

Even so, it’s smart marketing, and that’s what I write about.

Like this post? Check out all of my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.

(Image courtesty of The Stock Exchange, uploaded by flaivoloka)

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