Environmental sustainability

Managing our environmental impact through sustainable banking

Protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development have always been cornerstones of our Ethical Policy

We support small businesses and organisations whose activities promote a healthy environment and we seek to minimise our impact on the environment.

We support international efforts to tackle climate change, actively support organisations whose activities promote a healthy environment, and we do not provide banking services to customers that conflict with our commitments.

How we promote sustainable development

Reporting on our carbon footprint

We have reported our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 1998. We measure our direct GHG emissions in carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2 e) using the latest UK government guidance. Our direct GHG footprint encompasses energy consumption, refrigerant leakages from major occupancies and all business travel (air, rail and road).

We are 'beyond carbon neutral'

And have been since 2007. We take steps to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible, for example by sourcing all of our electricity from renewable energy suppliers and reducing our business travel.

We reduced our carbon emissions by 21% in 2019, but it’s impossible to reduce them to zero. We compensate for this by offsetting our residual carbon emissions, plus an additional 10% to address the impact our business activities have had in the past, and convert this into carbon credits.

In 2019, we offset 1,836 tonnes of carbon, allowing us to invest in environmental projects around the world. We work with climate and development experts, ClimateCare, to identify projects that have a positive impact on the environment and the local population, which is in line with our Ethical Policy.

In 2019, these projects included our continued support for the Gola Rainforest project in Sierra Leone. This has helped protect the critically endangered western chimpanzee and pygmy hippo, and fund programmes that benefit the local community. We also supported the Aqua Clara project in Kenya, which provides communities with access to safe drinking water.

Reducing our use of energy

We source our electricity from renewable sources. In 2019, we continued to reduce our own energy use and encourage our suppliers to make reductions in their own operations.

Zero landfill waste by the end of 2020

While we’ve made great progress in reducing our operational carbon emissions in 2019, we recognise we can do better.

That’s why we are determined, that by the end of 2020, none of our waste will be sent to landfill. We’ll do this by reducing single-use plastics and other consumables across the business and increasing recycling.

Wherever possible, the things we throw away will be used again. We’re now sending our food waste for anaerobic digestion, making new milk bottles from our empties and giving our used crisp packets a future as completely new products.

Reducing our travel

We continue to encourage colleagues to work flexibly and make fewer work-related journeys. As a result, we reduced our travel-related carbon emissions by 248 tonnes in 2019 compared to 2018. Our colleagues benefited from less time travelling, alongside a reduction in their environmental impact.

Ethical screening

It is our commitment not to provide banking services to businesses and organisations that conflict with our Ethical Policy.

Values and ethics

At The Co-operative Bank, we have always been driven by something different: an ethical approach to banking.

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