When we achieved carbon neutrality in 2010, not only were we the first financial services organisation in Africa to do so, but it also had the effect of propelling us into the next important phase of our environmental sustainability journey. The achievement also propelled us towards our vision of becoming a leader and driver of sustainability in SA and further afield.
In the years since we achieved carbon neutrality we have been able to leverage this position to enhance our client value proposition, contribute to the development of SA's green economy, and unlock numerous synergies and partnerships through close collaboration with like-minded organisations.
Importantly, our annual approach to carbon neutrality is to reduce first and then offset. Footprint reductions are achieved through internal behavioural changes and clearly defined reduction targets in terms of paper, water, electricity, waste, travel and carbon emissions.
We obtained the carbon credits required to offset our 2012 footprint from projects throughout Africa that are delivering benefits for the continent's natural resources as well as its people and communities. These include:
It is important to note that there are very few projects with verifiable carbon credits and social upliftment benefits. This has limited the types of projects that we have been able to invest in, particularly within SA.
The Rukinga Project in Kenya's Kasigau Corridor was the world's ﬁrst Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) project to issue carbon credits. In 2012 we continued our association with and support of this project, which is helping to prevent the deforestation of this eco-sensitive region while delivering massive economic and social upliftment beneﬁts to local communities.
As one of the last remaining tropical forests in Uganda, Kibale National Park hosts the greatest variety and concentration of primates found anywhere in East Africa. It is also home to at least 350 tree species. Quantifying and valuing carbon emissions that are avoided as a result of the project enable revenue generation through the sale of voluntary carbon units (VCUs). Our support of this project facilitates the work of reforesting approximately 10 000 ha of the park, thereby restoring its biodiversity and increasing carbon stocks. The project also educates local communities, promotes appropriate land management and creates employment.
This SA company has been operating a composting organic waste process for a number of years. Since it registered a carbon project for the business activities, income from sales of carbon credits has enhanced the financial performance of the company and allowed it to continue providing employment opportunities and contributing to education, environmental awareness and the other local community projects it supports.
In 2012 we were pleased to be able to include emission offsets generated by renewable-energy power generation using gas harvested from a landfill. Not only does this support demonstrate our commitment to working with municipal and provincial governments and the national government in promoting renewable energy, but it is also an example of our ongoing financial commitment to SA projects aimed at combating climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
This SA cooperative is responsible for managing waste collection, sorting waste and remunerating 'waste-pickers' active at its site in Hout Bay's Imizamo Yethu community. This project is under the mentorship of Thrive (formerly the 3Rs) and Trashback. The income generated goes towards improving the livelihood of employees, acquiring essential equipment, enhancing business efficiency and promoting project awareness.
We recognise reduction targets as an effective and accurate way to measure and manage our carbon emissions as well as our impact on other vital resources. The clearly defined targets also ensure full transparency in our reporting on our reduction efforts and overall greenhouse gases (GHG).
The reduction targets – particularly those aimed at carbon intensity management – are integral to the assessment of our performance during each financial period. Performance against these targets is monitored and documented on a monthly basis by a dedicated task team. This team also uses the results of its target performance measurement to raise awareness and promote ways of accelerating target achievement.
During the 2012 ﬁnancial year we achieved the following in terms of our intensity reduction efforts:
Our total GHG emissions increased by 3,83% for the year under review. The emission rate per FTE also increased by 1,8% from 7,74 tCO2e per FTE to 7,89 tCO2e per FTE, but decreased by 3,84% based on floor space to 0,34 tCO2e/m2. The increase per FTE was the result of the continued organic growth and our continuing efforts to expand the scope of our GHG reporting while simultaneously reducing our environmental impact. The positive impact of this approach can be seen in our reduction in electricity consumption per FTE by 0,67% to 5 801 kWh for 2012.
Approximately 73% of our carbon footprint is the result of electricity usage. We therefore make every effort to reduce our energy consumption through active intervention, staff education and focused investment. In 2012 we achieved an overall energy usage reduction of 0,67% per FTE and a year-on-year reduction of 1,5% at the campus sites owned by us. From this it can be deduced that buildings owned and managed by us are outperforming leased space from an energy intensity reduction point of view.
During 2012 we invested a total of R8,4m into speciﬁc initiatives aimed at reducing electricity usage. These included the continued use and rollout of occupancy sensors to regulate the use of lighting within ofﬁce spaces, upgrading of light ﬁttings to energy-saving units and regulated usage of decentralised airconditioning systems.
In addition to our paper recycling activity, we continue to encourage and enable employees to dispose safely of compact ﬂuorescent lamps, batteries and printer cartridges by placing accessible collection boxes at all campus sites. As a result of these initiatives, and the continued recycling drive across the group, general waste sent to landﬁlls in 2012 amounted to 372P tonnes or 21 kg per FTE, which is down from the 23 kg per FTE recorded in 2011.
Nedbank Group Property Services continues to drive cost savings through the effective use of recycling practices, the implementation of food waste disposal units and the use of vegetable gardens and worm farms at staff canteens and kitchens at a number of campus sites.
In 2012, 60% of all our waste was recycled (2012: 557 tonnesP), which amounted to an increase of 5,4% at campus sites. An overall mass balance exercise will be undertaken in 2013 to investigate whether recycling can be expected to decrease in the future years as less material enters our buildings.
In 2012 we added more campus sites to our water consumption assessments, while various other buildings were consolidated into many of those campus sites. The result is that total water consumption on campus sites increased from 266 316kℓ in 2011 to 292 325kℓP in 2012. Noncampus water usage, however, decreased because of the consolidation of facilities.
Our water usage per FTE increased from 15,97kℓ per FTE in 2011 to 16,52 kℓ per FTE in 2012 – as these campus sites are not fully occupied yet. However, if we compare 2011 campus water usage with the same sites in 2012, an absolute reduction of 2,2% was achieved.
This achievement was driven primarily through continued staff awareness of our water stewardship responsibilities, the installation of more watersaving devices such as hydrotaps and aerators, and the collection and use of rainwater and recycled water for non-potable water requirements. For more information on our water activities with the WWF refer to page 22.
In the 2012 ﬁnancial year we invested R80,2m (2011: R61,2m) in a vast range of environmental initiatives, the most signiﬁcant of which were carbon credit offsets (2012: R16,5m; 2011: R15m), energy efﬁciency initiatives, marketing associated with revitalising The Green Trust and investment in the WWF Agricultural Programme.
We have a detailed Business Travel Policy that includes comprehensive green travel guidelines to limit business travel and promote the use of teleand videoconferencing.
In 2012 overall business travel increased by 61% based on GHG emissions. It is important to note that the majority of this increase can be attributed to an increase in staff travel claims related to own-vehicle use. Particular focus is now being placed on ensuring that staff travel claims are captured accurately.
With more than 28 000 employees across the country, many of whom use their personal vehicles to get to work, Nedbank Group's onsite carwash facilities are well supported. However, traditional car-cleaning processes are typically very water and chemical intensive. So as part of our greater focus on water stewardship and environmental sustainability, Nedbank Group introduced an innovative and water-wise carwash system at two of our buildings in 2012.
The Eco Wash system combines innovative car washing and waxing technology with biodegradable cleaning products to deliver a worldclass vehicle-cleaning process that is environmentally friendly and uses less than one litre of water per wash. The pilot proved an instant hit with over 980 vehicles cleaned at just one site in just 6 months and a huge amount of water saved.
Based on the popularity and success of the Eco Wash pilot, a tender process is currently under way for the introduction of similar water-wise vehicle-washing systems at other Nedbank offices across the country.
In absolute terms our overall reported GHG emissions increased by 3,83% year-on-year from 2011 to 2012. Carbon emissions per FTE increased year-on-year by 1,8% to 7,89 tCO2e per annum, but emissions per m2 of office space decreased by 3,84% to 0,34 tCO2e per annum.
The GHG increases can be attributed to our continued efforts to expand our overall GHG reporting scope and boundary, while simultaneously focusing efforts on reducing our environmental impact. As in 2011, there was a continued increase in reporting detail in 2012 for our SA and non-SA facilities and operations. In 2012 we also undertook a big drive to increase the accuracy of non-SA business-reported electricity as well as SA staff travel claims.
Reported scope 1 emissions from refrigerants increased by 26% year-on-year. This was mainly due to maintenance requirements and the addition of new campus sites. We continue our efforts to ensure that as little refrigerant gas as possible is used and/or replaced. Emissions from all scope 1 activities remained below 0,5% of total emissions. It is also important to note that, for ease of interpretation, the refrigerants previously accounted for as Non-Kyoto Protocol GHG emissions were moved to scope 1 emissions.
Diesel used in generators decreased by 1% despite more campus sites and retail facilities being introduced.
Approximately 73% of the total GHG emissions reported for 2012 are from purchases of third-party electricity generation. This is in line with what was reported in previous years.
We continue to target reduced energy consumption and are pleased to report a year-on-year reduction of 4,75%* in the total energy consumed by our SA regional and headofﬁce sites. This is on an adjusted baseline that includes Phase II. These sites are owned by us, which implies that more advanced and costly technologies can be implemented than would be the case with leased properties, where as a tenant we have less leeway in terms of alterations.
* This compares the 2011 campus sites with the same campus sites in 2012. It is acknowledged that in 2012 additional campus sites were added.
Approximately 27% of the total 2012 GHG emissions arose from reported scope 3 activities, but more than 18% was from staff commuting. Going forward scope 3 staff commuting emissions will be highlighted separately, as these are not under our direct control. Approximately 7% of the scope 3 emissions originated from staff business travel with 1,6% from third-party manufacturing of ofﬁce paper.
In 2012 our various procurement functions across Nedbank Group continued to work closely with our suppliers to promote and enable greater environmental sustainability across our supply chain. The tendering and engagement sessions started in 2011 continued, with a particular focus on inﬂuencing suppliers to incorporate greater levels of environmental sustainability into their strategies and operations. At these sessions our representatives shared our sustainability journey, learnings and benefits to encourage similar actions and behaviours among suppliers.
During the year under review we also continued to build on the foundations that were laid in 2011 in terms of making sustainability considerations part of procurement decisions and processes. This requires that vendors demonstrate more than mere environmental sustainability awareness, but that they are able to show compliance with, or commitment to, the entrenchment of environmental considerations and practices in their business models.
In 2012 sustainability assessments of the top 300 Nedbank Group suppliers (representing approximately 85% of total group spend) showed that 15% have formal environmental policies in place and 31% are actively recycling. In 2013 we will be actively working with these suppliers to improve the commitment demonstrated by them to environmental sustainability. Further detail on specific work undertaken with specific suppliers is available in the supplementary information online.
The success in terms of sustainability partnering achieved with international information technology suppliers in past years was extended to local suppliers during 2011 and accelerated during 2012. We have concentrated on relationships with manufacturing and services vendors, and success has been achieved with vendors contracted for the construction and establishment of new branches and lobbies, as well as the upgrading of existing branches.
Each commodity specialist within the Group Procurement Division now has sustainability as an integral element of his or her performance scorecards, prompting careful consideration of environmental factors in all supplier engagements.
The 2012 procurement and supplier initiatives aimed at greening our supply chain included:
All new desks purchased in 2012 were manufactured using Forestry Stewardship Councilaccredited wood. The majority of chairs and carpets acquired are made from recyclable materials. The newly introduced 'link chairs' are 98% recyclable, which is the highest recyclable product level achieved by any supplier to us thus far.
All tenants in Nedbank Group-owned buildings are required to agree and adhere to our environmental approach in terms of water, electricity and waste management.
We continue to partner with hotels used by our staff traveling for business in an effort to encourage sound environmental practices and policies, particularly water usage reduction initiatives. Another outcome of these partnerships has been a number of hotel sustainability initiatives such as the planting of organic gardens and greater use of local food suppliers.
In 2012 we introduced a third preferred car rental supplier. All three suppliers are encouraged to introduce more efficient vehicles into their fleets. During the year under review a pilot initiative to introduce group G vehicles proved very successful, delivering cost savings through fuel economy and enabling us to cut carbon emissions by more than 40% when compared to group B vehicle use.
Group G vehicles have now been included in the catalogue of vehicles that employees may hire for business travel and our staffmembers are encouraged to select these vehicles wherever possible.
We continue to engage with the airlines we use in an effort to help them reduce their, and our, carbon footprint. Airlines provide us with regular progress reports on fuel reductions achieved and other improved processes that might deliver carbon reductions. Our booking process deliberately includes information on the environmental impact of employee travel to encourage more sustainable travel decisions.
All our suppliers of computer consumables are ISO-accredited. The new management information system introduced in 2011 continues to provide improved data on toner and printer usage, enabling effective management and cost savings for us.
We continue to monitor the usage of paper across the organisation. In 2012 a decision was taken to limit our usage of recycled paper owing to incidents of poor supply reliability and the still high environmental impact of the production process – particularly concerning the importing of pulp.
A decision to insource the shredding of confidential documents at our major campus sites has enabled us to partner with Nampak to recycle this paper into toilet rolls, which are now in use across the group.
We have also implemented a print management solution for a better understanding of our paper usage in the printing of brochures, posters and forms. The outcomes of this initiative will inform future printing decisions.
UTI Mounties and Skynet remain our preferred courier service suppliers thanks to their clear environmental and carbon reduction commitments. In 2012 we investigated the possible use of bicycle couriers for short deliveries in and around our headoffice building in Sandton. The findings of this investigation are still being discussed; however, there are a number of challenges that might prove limiting, not least of which are weather, security and safety considerations.
We use biodegradable cleaning liquids and processes at all our main campus sites and branches. A pilot project at our Killarney branch saw the introduction of new green chemicals and cleaning equipment supplied by SA Fine Industrial Chemicals (SAFIC), which has a strong focus on the environment, has ISO accreditation and has signed a public commitment to responsible care. Based on the success of this pilot, the products and services will be rolled out to other Nedbank campus sites in 2013.
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