KeyBank prides itself on sustainability in and out of the workplace

Four years ago, KeyCorp, one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, released its first corporate responsibility report to demonstrate its commitment to responsible operations.

A big part of that report illustrates Key’s commitment to sustainable practices. In May, the bank released its fourth corporate responsibility report for 2014. A large part of that report centers on “responsible operations” -- a commitment to green building practices, reduced waste and reduced energy consumption.

That commitment translates into a good corporate neighbor to Clevelanders. “At Key we look at the operational footprint as well as our impact on the community,” explains Andrew Watterson, head of sustainability at KeyBank. For instance, Key’s Tiedeman Road facility, which employs 3,000 workers, is Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified, the highest of four levels recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

“Beyond energy efficiencies, we focus on waste streams, particularly paper,” says Watterson. “We’re really proud of where we’ve come in the last five years. Key has reduced paper use by 60 percent and the goal is to reduce use by an additional 30 percent by 2020."

“We’re performing significantly better than our peers,” he boasts.

The environmental concerns transfer over to the retail side of Key’s operations as well. Last year saw a 40 percent jump in the number of mobile accounts and 80 percent of Key’s active accounts now rely on e-statements.
Waste reduction also relies on Key employees across the bank’s facilities. During Green Office Week in April, Key employees were reminded of what they can do to reduce paper usage and even tracked the amount of food they threw away at lunch “to measure how much food waste is being generated on a daily basis,” says Watterson. On Waste Recycling Day, employees brought paper from home for shredding and recycling.
Employees also are charged with making sure the recycling containers on every floor are well placed and labeled. “We won’t be successful without engaging our employees in our efforts,” says Watterson, who also polls employees on areas of improvement in sustainability.
Key and its employees regularly sponsor and participate in community activities. Furthermore, Key boasts that it was one of the first backers of Sustainable Cleveland 2019, the initiative to encourage residents to implement green practices.

“Key was one of the early supporters of Sustainable Cleveland 2019 since it launched in 2009,” says Watterson. “We encourage employee participation and attend the summits.”

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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