At The Co-operative Bank, we are proud of being 'beyond carbon neutral' for the last eight years, offsetting 100,000 tonnes of carbon in the process. But offsetting this amount of carbon doesn’t mean that we plant a lot of trees. It means supporting projects that tackle climate change, poverty and sustainable development at the same time.
We achieve our 'beyond carbon neutral' status by offsetting the carbon produced from our operational greenhouse gas emissions plus an extra 10 percent to address legacy issues. The carbon is offset in partnership with climate and sustainable development experts ClimateCare, supporting projects that cut carbon and improve lives.
The Co-operative Bank’s relationship with ClimateCare is over 10 years old and focuses on projects designed to reduce carbon while helping to alleviate poverty, improve health and promote sustainability. Our projects span the globe and tackle the twin issues of climate change and improving people’s lives in a number of different ways:
Almost half of the rural population of Kenya do not have access to safe drinking water, with many having to boil water with wood harvested from the local forests. The Bank’s support for Aqua Clara water filters is providing families in Kenya with safe drinking water - reducing their exposure to waterborne disease. This integrated ClimateCare project also tackles fuel poverty, protects precious forests and cuts carbon emissions.
Thanks to the introduction of human powered treadle pumps to irrigate their crops without using expensive diesel pumps, smallholder farmers in rural India now have more money to spend on food and education. The project, supported by The Co-operative Bank, has environmental benefits too - treadle pumps reduce carbon emissions and contribute to reducing soil erosion.
Nearly 3 billion people in the developing world still cook food and heat their homes with traditional cookstoves or open fires. Since 2006 The Co-operative Bank has supported a project to provide families in Cambodia with more efficient, locally manufactured stoves. The improved Lao Stove, which is safer, less toxic and more fuel efficient, is now used all over Cambodia - improving lives, saving families money and helping tackle climate change.
Speaking on the long term relationship with the Bank, ClimateCare CEO Edward Hanrahan says: "We’re delighted to have worked closely with The Co-operative Bank for over a decade, delivering integrated ClimateCare projects that reduce carbon and improve the health and wellbeing of some of the world’s poorest communities. Our work together continues to inspire other organisations and leaves a lasting legacy for local communities as well as our environment."
The recently published Values and Ethics Report confirmed that we will maintain our 'beyond carbon neutral' policy in 2015, continuing our long held commitment to minimising environmental impacts and helping improve the lives of people around the world.
For information on the actions we are taking to bring our Ethical Policy to life, see our Ethical Policy in Action page.