Environmental Sustainability Strategy
Nationwide is the world's largest building society and we recognise we have an impact on the communities and environments in which we operate. Our mutual status means we want to make sure we are doing the right thing in terms of building a truly sustainable business for our members and employees.
We have a bold vision to be one of the leading performers of environmental sustainability in the UK financial services sector.
We will deliver this by:
1. Embedding sustainability into the way we do business
2. Setting a good example to our members and employees, by helping them identify and pursue carbon reduction opportunities within their own household and workplace. We have partnered with the Carbon Trust to develop a bespoke employee engagement tool to encourage staff to make efficiency savings
3. Responding to member needs and demands for products and services that help them achieve low-carbon lives and mitigate the impact of climate change
4. Ensuring our suppliers understand their responsibilities in cutting carbon emissions and support their efforts in doing so.
Our Environmental Impact
As a financial services company, our environmental impacts are relatively small compared to a manufacturing industry. Our main environmental impacts come from our use of energy, business travel, water and office waste.
Energy consumption is our most significant impact given that it results in carbon dioxide emissions (a greenhouse gas) from electricity generation and gas consumption. As a result, we have made carbon reduction the principle focus of our environmental strategy.
In 2011 we worked closely with the Carbon Trust to help us define and calculate our carbon footprint. Our footprint covers emissions from our use of gas and electricity and the fuel used in our fleet vehicles. Our baseline footprint in 2010/11 was 62,270 tonnes carbon dioxide (CO2e).
Our Travel and transport
Transport is responsible for the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, with commuter and business travel constituting nearly 40% of all miles driven by car.
Reducing single occupancy vehicle use is an important part of our sustainability work. Managing travel away from single occupancy can offer real benefits not only to our business and employees, but also the communities that surround us. In 2010/11 our employees travelled over 11 million business miles; 8 million of these were car miles.
Our Water Use
Although recent months have seen significant amounts of rainfall across the UK, water is becoming increasingly scarce.
2011 was one of the driest years on record and registered groundwater levels were lower than during the 1976 drought. As we can’t control the weather, or predict how much rain will fall, everyone needs to play their part in reducing the amount of water they use. In 2010/11, Nationwide used over quarter of a million cubic metres of water – that’s the equivalent of the water used in 100 Olympic swimming pools.
In 2010/11 Nationwide produced almost five thousand tonnes of waste from its administration centres and retail branch network.
Waste legislation is in place to ensure that waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering health or harming the environment. Nationwide has a legal responsibility to ensure it remains compliant and is continually seeking ways to reduce the amount of waste it produces in order to reduce environmental impacts and manage its costs. Nationwide already recycles some of its waste but continues to seek alternatives to landfill.
Carbon - to ensure our 2020/21 carbon emissions* remain at or below our 2011 baseline levels.
Water - to reduce the water consumption of our operations by 10% by 2015 from our 2011 baseline.
Waste - to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2015.
* Total Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions. Scope 1 emissions are ‘direct’ emissions from the consumption of gas and diesel oil in our buildings and emissions from the fuel used in our fleet vehicles. Scope 2 carbon emissions are indirect emissions from our electricity consumption.
To meet our targets we have established a programme of activity across our business focused on reducing the impact from our operations, our supply chain and the emissions from our members’ homes.
Environment - Over the last year
Over the last year Nationwide has:
Improved our metering and monitoring which has helped us identify and target energy and water waste
Installed a ground breaking solar photovoltaic panel on the roof of our Head Office in Swindon. The 50kW system is expected to cut annual carbon emissions by more than 20 tonnes each year
Offered our employees and their family and friends free home insulation to reduce home energy bills and carbon emissions
Improved facilities at key locations to encourage more employees to cycle to work
Organised a number of awareness-raising campaigns in Nationwide to support Climate Week, Energy Week and World Environment Day
Continued to develop a range of facilities to enable our employees to attend business meetings without travelling. We have seen a 55% increase in registered telephone conferencing users
Appointed one of the UK's leading recycling and resource management companies to collect the waste from our branch network and administration centres. From April this year all the waste will be taken to a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) to be sorted and recycled wherever possible
Launched our Green Homes Guide which provides practical tips on how our members can improve the energy efficiency of their homes with simple measures
Click here to view table showing 2011/2012 performance against targets.