We've been 'beyond carbon neutral' for the last 9 years, offsetting more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon

At The Co-operative Bank, we’re proud of being 'beyond carbon neutral' for the last nine years. Not only have we reduced our carbon footprint, but we have offset over 100,000 tonnes of carbon in the process. Offsetting this amount of carbon doesn’t mean that we plant a lot of trees. We use our carbon reduction budget to support smart projects that tackle climate change, poverty and sustainable development at the same time.


What is 'beyond carbon neutral'?

We achieve our 'beyond carbon neutral' status by offsetting the carbon produced through 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.


How we offset more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon

The Co-operative Bank’s relationship with ClimateCare goes back more than 10 years. The organisation focuses on projects designed to reduce carbon while helping to alleviate poverty, improve health and promote sustainability. The projects we’ve supported span the globe and tackle the twin issues of climate change and improving people’s lives in a number of different ways.


Our 2016 projects

We are continuing our commitment to remain Beyond Carbon Neutral through projects which cut carbon and improve lives. The programmes we’re supporting in 2016 provide safe water in Kenya’s Western Province and support the distribution of efficient cookstoves throughout Ghana.


Saving Lives with Safe Water in Kenya’s Western Province

780 million people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water.

Waterborne diseases are the third biggest cause of death in Kenya killing 86 children every day.

This project cuts carbon and provides safe water by providing LifeStraw Family filters to 4 million people in Kenya’s Western Province. The gravity driven point-of-use water filters require no electricity or consumables. The project relies on carbon finance. Without it, filters would not have been distributed at scale in the region and the ongoing operations, including education campaigns, could not be maintained.


Creating jobs, transforming lives, protecting forests

Nearly 3 billion people in the developing world cook food and heat their homes with traditional cookstoves or over open fires. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 estimates that 4 million premature deaths occur every year as a result of smoke exposure from cooking, with women and children most affected.

This project introduces the Gyapa, an efficient cookstove, to families in Ghana. The Gyapa stove cooks food more quickly, requires 50-60% less fuel and is less smoky, meaning it not only cuts carbon emissions, but reduces exposure to toxic fumes.  Cutting fuel requirements also saves families money and importantly, protects dwindling forests - Ghana has one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa.


Our previous impact

Over the years we’ve worked with ClimateCare to support a number of other projects which have cut global carbon emissions and improved lives, including:


Improving lives in Kenya:

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.


Empowering farmers in India:

This project, supported by The Co-operative Bank introduced human-powered treadle pumps to irrigate crops without using expensive diesel pumps. As a result smallholder farmers in rural India have more money to spend on food and education. And, there are environmental benefits too - treadle pumps reduce carbon emissions and contribute to reducing soil erosion.


Transforming the market in Cambodia:

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.


Restoring a Rainforest, Kibale National Park, Uganda

The Co-operative Bank helped fund a project to repopulate Kibale Forest - part of a rainforest that used to stretch across the entire Congo Basin – with indigenous trees.

The project created local jobs and once mature, will store up to 400 tonnes of CO2 per hectare.


What next?

The recently published Values and Ethics Report confirmed that we maintained 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.

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."

For information on the actions we are taking to bring our Ethical Policy to life, see our Ethical Policy in Action page.