At Bank of America, we understand our responsibility as a leading financial institution to work to tackle critical environmental issues facing our customers and communities. That's why in 2007 we established a 10-year, $20 billion initiative to address global climate change through lending, investing, products and our own operations.
As part of that commitment, we recognize the need to balance the demands we place on forests with the fact that paper continues to be a heavily utilized communications medium for our customers. We have reduced direct mail volumes by more than a third over the past two years, and we continue to provide customers with the ability to opt out of receiving marketing materials from the bank.
Since the advent of our online services 15 years ago, we have seen a steady increase in customer adoption of paperless communications. We are working with customers to dramatically reduce overall paper consumption through online banking and bill pay, e-statements, deposit image ATMs, and other innovative products. In fact, we encourage all forms of e-delivery - it not only reduces paper usage but it cuts cost to the bank and provides customers more ways to protect their privacy. Customer response has been positive - in the past year we saw a 38% increase in the number of account-related communications suppressed through digital delivery.
Equally important to paper usage is how we obtain the paper we do use.
Over two decades, we have proactively worked with other institutions to set industry standards for the responsible procurement of paper and other forest products - serving as a founding member of the Recycle Paper Coalition. We have a rigorous paper procurement policy that addresses both source reduction and recycling, and in order to reduce demand on forests, minimizes consumption of "virgin-wood" paper products.
Forest certification is one of the most effective tools available to promote sustainable forestry practices. Bank of America requires its forest products suppliers to document the sustainability of their fiber sources and obtain third-party certification in accordance with credible, independent and widely accepted standards. In addition to the Forest Stewardship Council, we believe the Sustainable Forest Initiative, the Canadian Standards Association and other organizations provide such standards. Importantly, our ultimate goal is to create a market for certified forest fiber, accelerating this process by procuring forest products whose fiber is third-party certified.
We recognize that as consumer habits change, so will the ways in which we communicate with them. There will always be room for improvement, but we believe we are making good progress.
I encourage you to visit www.bankofamerica.com/environment to learn more about Bank of America's efforts to address climate change, and the specific policies and practices cited in this letter.
Bank of America
I responded with my concerns regarding the unavailability of e-statements, etc. in the State of Washington. I'll post their response, if any.