Andrew Karow of Telluride’s Alpine Bank supports The Challenge

Andrew Karow of Telluride’s Alpine Bank supports The Challenge

[click “Play” to hear Andrew Karow]

Dad and Morgan at beach Put the words “green” and “bank” in the same sentence and the conclusion is obvious: we are talking about money, right? In this case, half right. Headed by regional president Andrew Karow, Telluride’s Alpine Bank is one of 37 branch locations on the Western Slope, whose primary business is managing its collective total of $2 billion in assets. However, the bottom line at Alpine is not just the bottom line: it is about accomplishing its goals in as environmentally friendly way as possible.

Alpine Bank, which is employee-owned, was one of the first businesses in the country to declare a goal of becoming a paperless environment, and they are well on their way. In 2005, the institution took the next big step, creating a Green Team. As the initiative evolved, Alpine did what banks do: It found a way to measure the success of its good idea. Alpine’s Environmental Management System (EMS) is now earning recognition statewide for environmental leadership.

Because Alpine Bank is not a national behemoth, it can react quickly to opportunities on a local level. For example, Alpine Banks in Telluride, Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Dillon, Frisco, Steamboat Springs, Vail, Avon, and Gypsum partnered with their local communities and the Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) in support of local eco-entrepreneur David Allen’s 2009 CAST Reusable Bag Challenge, a friendly competition to determine which town can minimize its use of disposable bags most effectively.

The Challenge started in March with local participating stores responsible for tallying the use of every reusable bag used or purchased by a customer at checkout. The winner will be determined on a per capita basis by which community uses the most reusable bags during the six month contest period, ending September 1.

The winning community – fingers crossed for Telluride – will receive a $5,000 grant from Alpine Bank to install a solar panel system at a public school. For this and other green initiatives  – competing banks should be green with envy. Or better yet, motivated to fall in line.

To learn more about Alpine Bank’s involvement with The Challenge and other sustainable projects, press the “play” button and listen to Andrew’s podcast.

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