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Bendigo makes it easy being greener

9 February 2007 |Media centre

Bendigo Bank on Monday launches a new suite of solutions to help customers reduce their environmental impact.

The bank’s Generation Green™ program will enable customers to offset carbon emissions produced by their home, cars or business.

It will also encourage customers to reduce their emissions by providing discounted Green home and personal loans for incorporating simple energy and water saving measures into their homes.

Bank Managing Director Rob Hunt said Generation Green™ was a further step in Bendigo providing its customers and communities with practical ways to become more sustainable.

“Our connection with communities across Australia, and the relationship we have with our customers, always enables us to consider solutions beyond just our own responsibility, and Generation Green™ aligns perfectly with our strategy.

“It might seem a strange thing for a bank to do, but Bendigo Bank has always been focused on the sustainability of local economies, communities and the environment.

“The health, prosperity and sustainability of our customers and their communities is fundamental to the long-term prospects of our business.

“World scientists have now united to draw attention to the effects of unrestricted carbon use and Generation Green™ will offer our customers practical, affordable ways to take responsibility for the impact they personally have on the environment.

“The Bank itself is investing to reduce its environmental footprint – offsetting our vehicle emissions, reducing power usage and building a new five-star green head office – and from Monday our customers will be able to join us.”

Bendigo Bank first introduced its Green Home Loan in 2002, with Mount Eliza residents Brendan and Narelle Callen one of the first borrowers to build their energy and water efficient home.

“We are concerned for the environment and want to do as much as we can to reduce our impact,” Mr Callen said.

“The Bendigo Bank introduced us to their Green Home Loan and at that time were the only bank to offer a product like this – it was a major factor in our financing decision,” he said.

“Our home includes recycled timbers and bricks, full insulation, double glazed windows, rain water tank, grey water recycling and solar hot water and heating, so we know we are reducing our impact on the environment,” he said.

Mr Callen said it was “brilliant” to see large organisations like Bendigo Bank taking the lead to change people’s attitudes towards the environment and enabling them to make a personal contribution.

“A bank introducing carbon offsets for cars and homes is something a little out of the ordinary, but hopefully it will mean these environmental initiatives reach even more people and become business as usual,” he said.

Through Generation Green™, customers will be able to purchase carbon offset credits to neutralise the greenhouse gas emissions from their car, house or business.

The bank has contracted central Victorian firm Greenhouse Balanced to plant already cleared land (initially in the Macedon Ranges) with indigenous vegetation which absorbs (or sequesters) carbon dioxide. Over time, the plantings – which aim to mirror pre-1770 vegetation – offset customers’ carbon emissions.

Mr Hunt said the revegetation and sequestration would be audited and regularly reported to customers.

“The style and location of our revegetation also aims to address localised issues like salinity, erosion, habitat and water quality,” he said. “Over time, too, I am sure other solutions and options for carbon offsets will emerge.”

One of the first customers of Generation Green will be three Victorians – Linda Beilharz, Rob Rigato and Roger Chao – who will trek across the Greenland Icecap in April. Bendigo Bank will offset the 15 tonnes of carbon emissions expected to be emitted during their 35-day expedition.

More information is available by calling 1300 304 541.

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