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 are working hard to reduce our impact on the environment and are determined to play our part in tackling climate change by reducing our carbon footprint. We have achieved Carbon Trust Standard Accreditation for the management and reduction of our operational carbon emissions over the last 3 years. Since our baseline year (2010/11) we have reduced our emissions by nearly 10%. Our footprint covers emissions from our use of gas and electricity and the fuel used in our fleet vehicles.
This is the first time Nationwide has achieved Carbon Trust Standard and particularly important as it is based on both an absolute emissions reduction and the processes and management plans in place to meet the sustainability objectives.
Our main environmental impacts come from our use of energy, business travel, water and office waste. In 2011 we set the following three targets.
Ensure our 2020/21 carbon emissions* remain at or below our 2011 baseline levels
Reduce the water consumption of our operations by 10% by 2015 from our 2011 baseline
Achieve zero waste to landfill by 2015
* Total Score 1 and Score 2 carbon emissions. Scope 1 emissions are 'direct' emissions from the consumption of gas and diesel oil in our building and emission from the fuel used in our fleet vehicles. Scope 2 carbon emissions are indirect emissions from our electricity consumption.
How are we getting on so far?
We're pleased to report during our first year we have made good progress with our environmental targets;
Click here for full details of our environmental performance for 2010-2013
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.
Emissions from our fleet vehicles have been reduced for the third year running and we will continue working with our vehicle suppliers to make sure our fleet emissions continue to reduce.
Our Water Use
Over the last three years we have reduced our water use by 25% (enough water to fill 26 Olympic-size swimming pools).
This has been due to improved monitoring which has meant we were able to spot and report any water leaks quickly. We have also introduced waterless urinals in two of our main admin sites and expect to see even greater water savings over the next year.
Over the last year we have been working closely with our employees and suppliers to deliver Target Zero 2015.
The aim of the campaign is to divert 100% of our waste from going to landfill by 2015. All the waste from our branch network is taken to a recycling centre and all useful materials re-used or recycled. We’ve also put new recycling bins in our offices and encourage people to sort their waste into separate containers.
Earlier this year we installed ‘Oscar’, a machine which ‘eats’ the food preparation waste from the kitchens in our head office. Oscar uses natural enzymes to convert the food waste into water which can be safely disposed of in the sink. As a result of these campaigns and innovative projects we’ve increased the percentage of our waste diverted from landfill to almost 83%.
We realise that the remaining 17% isn’t going to be easy to achieve so we are working hard with our suppliers to identify ways to reduce, reuse or recycle other waste streams safely.
What we are doing
2012/13 was a very busy year for our environmental activities both in terms of reducing our own environmental impact but also supporting our members to do the same.
Over the last year we have:
Worked with the Carbon Trust to develop a new, on-line tool called ‘Empower’. The tool enables our employees to take a virtual tour of their workplace to see exactly what they can do to help us continue to reduce our environmental impacts
Improved our metering and monitoring to help identify and target energy and water waste
Generated enough electricity from our solar panels to boil about half a million kettles of water and reduce our carbon footprint by more than 20 tonnes
Launched Green Further Advance – a new product for mortgage customers who want to invest in reducing their energy bills and leading more environmentally sustainable lifestyles at home
Replaced plastic cutlery with more environmentally friendly bamboo cutlery and the hot food take-away containers from our main catering facilities are made from sugar bagasse which is a natural bi-product from sugar cane processing
Added three electric pool cars to our fleet for employees – the cars have already saved over £1000 fuel costs and reduced our carbon footprint
Achieved a Gold SKA standard for the design of our new offices and branch in Threadneedle Street. SKA is an environmental sustainability assessment developed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Installed ‘Oscar’ – a machine which ‘eats’ food waste from the kitchens in our head office and converts it to water
Recruited volunteer ‘Green Champions’ from across the business to help promote environmental good practices in their workplace
In April 2012, approximately 55 tonnes of corporate clothing was returned for recycling following the launch of the new clothing range to all 7,800 employees in the Distribution Network which amounted to 141,490 garments.
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