We recognise that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is for the whole of society and we are committed to minimising our environmental impacts as well as determining the risks climate change presents to our business and stakeholders.
In 2021, in support of the UK Green Finance Strategy, we set out our ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. We also conducted a review to identify how the Group can work towards meeting the recommendations of the TCFD, which took into account our environmental targets. In terms of the review of our environmental targets, we determined that we will need to achieve deeper emissions reductions that align with climate science and the rules governing the setting of science-based targets, while enabling us to deliver our commercial objectives.
Since 2021, Vanquis Banking Group has been committed to the UN Global Compact corporate responsibility initiative and its principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment, and anti-corruption. Read more here: www.unglobalcompact.org
We're ISO 14001 Certified
We’re proud to announce that the environmental management system we have in place at our offices in Bradford, Chatham, London and Petersfield has been awarded the internationally recognised ISO 14001: 2015 certification.
This continues to demonstrate our commitment to reduce our impact on the environment. We’re doing this by ensuring that, in the running of our business, we use resources efficiently and reduce waste.
“It’s important that we continue to keep the impacts that our operations have on the environment to an absolute minimum, alongside responding to the biggest environmental challenges of our time, such as climate change. Having an environmental management system in place across Vanquis Banking Group help us to do both.” - Rob Lawson, Head of Sustainability
Understanding the role we play in climate change everyday
At Vanquis Banking Group we understand that we have a key role to play in responding to the climate crisis. This means ensuring that our climate-related targets are aligned with the Paris agreement which aims to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and ideally, to 1.5 degrees Celsius. And this is why we set an overall target in 2020 to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.
We have also committed to, in line with Government’s expectation, meeting the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) by 2022.
Offsetting our Carbon footprint
Offsetting continues to be play an important role in our carbon reduction strategy. However, we recognise that certain approaches to offsetting have been criticised because they can be used to burnish
environmental credentials without solving the root cause of the climate problem and reducing the amount of carbon that is emitted into the atmosphere. We have therefore shifted our approach to carbon
offsetting in 2022.
This year, we have financed two projects which are considered carbon capture projects; one local and one international. By doing this, our approach to offsetting supports the removal of carbon from the atmosphere on an almost permanent basis.
The Scottish ReGrow project
The Scottish ReGrow project aims to restore a diversity of woodland types to Scotland, prioritising the pinewood and riparian woodland habitats. Financing this project protects over 200,000 hectares of critical Scottish Highland forestry and natural wildlife habitat and provides carbon neutralisation across the furthest lands of the Scottish peninsula. Its aim is not only to preserve the environment but to build upon the peat landscape and allow for the natural development of organic and diverse habitat. These woodlands are important for stabilising the riverbanks, preventing soil erosion and reducing flooding.
They also improve the health of the river by adding nutrients to the water in the form of leaf litter and
invertebrates and creating shelter and shade for wildlife. This is vitally important for Scotland’s fish
species, particularly salmon and brown trout, which are threatened by the rising water temperatures
brought on by climate change. By financing this project, we offset 3,000 CO2e tonnes which more
than compensate for our scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Planting biodiverse forests in Panama
The Forests Planting in Panama project aims to mitigate the impact of sourcing timber from rainforests which has resulted in the depletion of tropical rainforests. This project supports the production of sustainable sources of timber while reforesting degraded pastureland with a mix of native tree species and teak. By financing this project, we have offset 5,000 tonnes of CO2e. This fully compensates for the emissions from our fueland energy- related activities, upstream transportation and distribution, waste generated in our operations, business travel and colleague commuting and some of the emissions that result from the goods and services we purchase.
In addition, by supporting this project:
- more than 7.5 million trees from 20 different native species have been planted;
- 25% has been declared a nature reserve, protecting the forest and the animals and plants living there;
- the reforested areas serve as bridges for wandering animals seeking new habitats; and
- long-term employment has been provided for the local population.
The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure
The TCFD is an industry-led initiative created to develop a set of recommendations for voluntary climate-related financial disclosures. Its objective is to advance the quality of financial disclosures related to the potential impacts of climate change in order to improve investors, regulators and other stakeholders’ ability to assess climate-related risks and opportunities.
Our proposed three-year TCFD route map
The TCFD expects us to evolve our understanding of potential climate risks and opportunities over time, which means our climate disclosures will correspondingly need to adapt over time. We are already working towards our three-year plan to identify and map out our priorities, building and embedding these across Vanquis Banking Group, and continuing to refine and integrate them into our core business processes.
To help us to assess and manage material climate-related risks and opportunities, and undertake the technical work that will enable us to meet the recommendations of the TCFD, we have established a new Climate Risk Committee. This Committee will be chaired by the Banking Group's Chief Internal Auditor and include senior representatives from functions such as finance, risk, operations and sustainability. The Committee will report into the Group’s Executive Committee and will play a pivotal role in developing and implementing Vanquis Banking Group's new climate risk strategy. In doing so, it will ensure that our climate risk work takes account of our value chain, divisions and functions, and the different aspects of our business models, assets, operations and organisational structures.
We have also signed up to the ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C’ pledge which commits us to, among other things, set a science-based carbon reduction target and other related targets that will enable us to realise our 2040 net-zero ambition.
Reducing our carbon footprint
Set out below are key reductions in our carbon footprint which occurred throughout 2022, when compared to the same period in 2021.
of waste was recycled or sent for energy recovery
13% reduction in our total gas usage
reduction in the number of miles colleagues drive their own cars on business
reduction in our total paper usage
reduction in our reported waste sent to landfill
reduction in our suppliers emissions
We offset our direct operational carbon footprint by financing renewable energy projects around the world to mitigate the effects our operations have on the climate.
This year, we offset 10,000 tonnes of CO2e, which accounted for all of the Group’s 2021 operational footprint. These emissions were offset through the purchase of carbon offset certificates in two projects. We reduced 9,800 tonnes of CO2e through producing electricity from wind power in Northeast Thailand, and 200 tonnes of CO2e in a wind power generation project in Bac Lieu Province, Vietnam.
Thailand and Vietnam’s energy, like in most countries, has historically been produced by burning fossil fuels. However, as new regulations are introduced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Thailand is producing more energy from renewable sources, including wind power. The demand for energy in Thailand is also expected to increase by 78% by 2036, so there is an urgent need to increase the amount of energy Thailand can produce, with a growing proportion of this energy coming from
These two projects also deliver a range of positive environmental and social impacts, including:
- between them generating 820,000 MWh of renewable electricity every year which is fed into Thailand and Vietnam’s national grids, helping to bridge the gap between supply and demand that currently exists;
- by replacing electricity generated from fossil fuel fired power plants with renewable electricity generated using wind power, these wind farms will prevent around 250,000 tonnes of CO2 and 143,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere every year in Thailand and Vietnam, respectively; and
- providing around 180 jobs to local people who operate the wind power plants, as well as providing local support, development and activities annually, including community festivals, educational projects and sports days.