The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

August 22, 2008

Dear Financial West Group,

August 22, 2008

Financial West Group
4510 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Westlake Village, CA 91362

Re: Account #[omitted]

Dear FWG:

In January of this year, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to move my retirement savings into socially and environmentally responsible investments. To that end, I signed up with The Social Equity Group in Berkeley, CA to ensure that my investment funds are used to help protect the environment. In order for that to happen, my investments held by Schwab and by ING were moved into an account with Financial West Group.

The irony is that I have moved my money from two companies that save paper by offering a paper-free online statement option to one that is still sending out paper statements. But a rep at FWG explained to me that there are legal regulations and hurdles to jump through before investment companies are allowed to offer paper-free options, and FWG is in the process of making that happen.

That is good news. However, in the meantime, a happy alternative would be statements printed on post-consumer recycled paper and sent in recycled envelopes without plastic windows. Plastic, as you probably know, is not biodegradable. And while the envelopes and statements can be recycled, the plastic will remain in the environment forever. I am working very hard to reduce my plastic consumption and eliminate plastic waste from my life. I hope that you will consider omitting the plastic windows and switching to recycled paper.

One company that has successfully eliminated the plastic window in its envelopes is Working Assets, aka Credo. When they do send out mailings (which is rare because we receive their statements online), their envelopes have an empty window. I don’t believe these envelopes are any less secure than ones with plastic windows. If someone wants to read the enclosed materials, they will open the envelope whether it’s got a plastic window or just an empty hole.

I am returning these envelopes to you, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue.


Elizabeth G. Terry

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Ian M.
14 years ago

I could not agree more with this and look forward to the day that not only the plastic isn’t used, but the paper envelopes too. A paperless option with secure email is a option. As soon as it is, you will be the first person I call :D

Take care and keep up the good plastic-free work!

14 years ago

You’re my new plastic idol!

Green Bean
14 years ago

That’s interesting. I’m having the same issue with the Salmon Nation Visa card. They have an online system to check balance, etc., but I can’t figure out how to get them to stop sending me paper bills. I’ll need to pull a Beth and write them a letter.

14 years ago

Hi Beth-

How archaic that they are still sending out paper statements! I work for a bank and we have slowly switched over all our lines of business from paper to online statements not only b/c it is environmentally friendly which they love to tout but it is also a HUGE cost savings to the bank (sadly more the driving force than environmental reasons). Not only do we save $ on paper and postage but we also don’t have to pay someone to sit and stuff envelopes all day… Also, I’m sure there are legal and regulatory implications however I suspect that the main reason they don’t have online statements is because they don’t have the technological infrastructure set up. Hopefully, they’ll get moving! :)

Anarres Natural Health
14 years ago

Dear Beth,

Your thoroughness rocks my world, and the eloquence with which you call people to environmental responsibility is awe inspiring.

Thanks you!

Love & RRRevolution, Tracey