Nationwide first lender to win low carbon award

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 2nd August 2016

Nationwide Building Society has become the first high-street financial services provider in the UK to achieve triple recertification to the Carbon Trust Standards for carbon, water and waste management.

The Carbon Trust Standard is an independent certification recognising organisations that successfully measure, manage and reduce their environmental impact.

Achieving the standard for carbon emissions, water use and waste output demonstrates leadership on three of the most significant sustainability issues the UK faces.

Tangible, year-on-year progress is required to maintain the certifications. Nationwide has also achieved the certification on its supply chains, which means suppliers must also be working to reduce emissions.

As a “mutual” organisation (run for customers not shareholders), part of Nationwide’s role is to do the right thing in the communities in which it operates as part of its five-year: ‘Living on Your Side’ Citizenship Strategy.

In 2011, Nationwide set three environmental targets:

  1. Ensure 2020/21 carbon emissions remain at or below 2011 baseline levels
  2. Reduce water consumption by 10 per cent by 2015
  3. Achieve zero waste to landfill by 2015

The Society has made good progress:

  • Carbon footprint has reduced by 13.5 per cent compared to 2011 – exceeding target
  • Used 23.6 per cent less water than in 2010/11 – exceeding target
  • 100 per cent of waste is now diverted from landfill – target achieved

New targets have recently been agreed:

  1. Keep carbon emissions down to 2015 levels
  2. Reduce water use by 5 per cent by 2020
  3. Reduce waste by 100 tonnes and increase recycling to at least 80% by 2020.

Jenny Groves, Nationwide divisional director for branch and workplace transformation said: “As the world’s largest building society we recognise our responsibility to build a truly sustainable business. Our vision is to be among the best performers for environmental sustainability in the UK financial services sector and becoming the first high-street financial services provider to be awarded triple certification to the Carbon Trust Standard in 2014 demonstrated our success.

“Since then we have also achieved certification to the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain, recognising that we are working with our suppliers to help them reduce their emissions as well.

“This year alone we have put in place a new power purchase agreement which will ensure at least 50 per cent of our total electricity use will be generated for us on a solar farm – this means we will be able to meet the increasing business demand for energy, whilst also reducing our carbon emissions. I’m proud that we have not only met our targets, but exceeded on two key measures.”

Darran Messem, managing director of certification at the Carbon Trust, said: “We have been working with Nationwide since 2010 and over that period the organisation has consistently been one of the strongest performers on sustainability in the financial services sector. We are impressed by the holistic approach the team at Nationwide takes to reducing environmental impact and making ongoing improvements. We are therefore delighted to recognise that these efforts have resulted in real achievements and once again award Nationwide triple certification to the Carbon Trust Standard.”