At ING we believe that managing our environmental impact is key to achieving our goal of being truly sustainable. That’s why we monitor and manage the impact of our operations though our Environmental Programme.
The Environmental Programme was established to ensure that we’re not only empowering our clients to make the transition to a more sustainable economy, but that we’re making our own transition to become a more resource-efficient and climate-resilient company.
ING’s Environmental Programme therefore allows us to effectively tackle the combined challenges of climate change and the need for more efficient use of natural resources while also providing opportunities to succeed in the low-carbon economy of the future.
What has the programme accomplished so far? In 2015 we announced our global targets for reducing our operational footprint. To support this, we have successfully developed our Environmental Management System to reduce our global environmental footprint and increase awareness around the opportunities and impacts of energy use, business travel, waste, water and sustainable procurement.
A good example of the Environmental Programme in action is the commitment to 100% renewable energy powered buildings via the RE100 initiative. This initiative pushes us to reduce our direct environmental impact by providing clean energy for our operations, buildings and IT systems.
Projects like this have not only helped us in becoming more environmentally friendly but have also drawn the attention of industry analysts. We achieved the highest possible score on CDP’s climate change assessment, being included in the ‘A-list’ for the fifth year in a row and recognised for our leadership on climate action.
However, there is still work to be done, so the Environmental Programme is focused on continuously improving our environmental performance in the following areas:
One of the largest sources of carbon emissions globally is energy production and consumption. To understand and reduce our energy use, we carry out regular monitoring, reporting and reduction strategies across our global operations. Our strategies range from more efficient use of building space, to increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings and data centres, to increasing our use of renewable energy.
As a global bank, communication across our network is key. This traditionally required large amounts of business travel. With our Think Forward strategy and sustainability direction however, we are focusing on increased use of technology for seamless digital collaboration such as video conferencing to limit unnecessary travel. Where travel cannot be avoided, we discourage the use of air travel where possible and promote the use of public transport and electric vehicles.
The issue of water stress is an increasing environmental issue worldwide. Although as a financial institution our water footprint is comparatively small compared to other industries, we have still launched an extensive monitoring and water-reduction strategy to minimise our impact. We make use of water-efficient infrastructure such as rainwater collection for sanitation, aerators for faucets and updated appliances for optimal efficiency.
Paper use and waste
Paper use and waste are also two focus areas due to our concern for the conservation of natural resources. This is why we aim to reduce our use of paper through greater utilisation of digital media and more efficient printing. We are also increasing our use of eco-labelled and environmentally friendly paper and recycle disposed paper worldwide. For general waste we have focused our efforts on increasing our recycling rate, management of e-waste and overall reduction of residual waste.
With a considerable global procured spend and an extensive network of suppliers worldwide, we have a real opportunity to drive our sustainability agenda through our supply chain. By encouraging suppliers to share our standards and work towards continual improvement, we believe we can make a demonstrable impact while mitigating risks.
At ING, our procurement policies and procedures require us to take into account the social and environmental aspects of the products we procure as well as the attitude of the supplier towards sustainability. We have implemented, globally, a supplier qualification (Know Your Supplier, or KYS) process and sustainability is an explicit part of that process, helping us to determine the levels of social, environmental and financial risks associated with a supplier, specifically related to human rights, including forced and child labour, fair labour standards, environmental protection, and anti-corruption.
Once suppliers pass the KYS process, they are qualified to become ING suppliers and the ING Procurement Sustainability Standards (IPSS) apply.
Carbon Neutrality: REDD+ Portfolio – Amazonian Rainforest in Brazil
We offset 100% of our operational carbon emissions through purchasing voluntary carbon units (VCUs), with the majority originating from a high-impact Acre Amazonian Rainforest REDD+ Portfolio in Brazil. This collection of three projects prevents deforestation across 105,000 hectares of pristine rainforest in the Amazon basin by promoting sustainable economic livelihoods. Through granting land tenure and providing agricultural training to local communities, trees are kept standing, drawing down carbon from the atmosphere and protecting the area’s rich biodiversity. The portfolio is verified and validated to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and has achieved Gold Level status under the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard.
The Environmental Programme is headed by our Environmental Programme Steering Committee, which is chaired by the global head of Tech Infrastructure. ING’s chief operations officer (COO) is the MBB sponsor of the programme. The Steering Committee ensures that the Environmental Programme strategy is integrated into daily business activities and has an impact across the global ING network.
By integrating this programme throughout our business activities and operations we ensure that our positive environmental impact extends further than donations and community investment but rather takes advantage of the large economic impact ING has on society.
A good example of the integration of the programme’s sustainable strategy within ING is our new corporate office ‘Cedar’ opened in January 2020. Sustainability is key for the building. Cedar’s design has been awarded the highest sustainability rating by BREEAM-NL. It was partially built with the concrete from the previous building on the same location. Around 3,000 square meters of solar panels provide energy for the building, while triple glazing and insulated window frames help to save energy. Various sustainable measures save up to 12 million litres of water per year. Single-use plastic is banished from the restaurants and coffee bars.
At ING we want to show leadership on environmental performance both to our clients and to the rest of the industry. This is why we committed to significant milestones in our specific impact areas.
- We will reduce our CO2e emissions by 50% by 2020 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce global residual waste by 20% by 2020 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce our water footprint by 20% by 2020 (base year 2014).
- We will remain carbon neutral by offsetting remaining carbon emissions.
- We will procure 100% renewable electricity for all ING buildings where we have management control worldwide by 2020.
- We will preferably procure green energy from local renewable projects: electricity supplied by energy sources that are naturally and continually replenished, such as wind, solar power, geothermal and hydropower.
- We will maintain a standard for transparency about our progress by reporting to CDP and disclosing material environmental performance indicators in our annual report.
We have already achieved substantial progress on many of our objectives.
CO2e and emissions
Reducing our direct CO2e footprint is one of ING’s key environmental goals. With the help of the Environmental Programme ING has decreased our total carbon footprint by 57% as of year-end 2019 compared to 2014, achieving our 2020 target a year early. This is thanks to reducing business travel, an increase of renewable electricity consumption and a decrease in total energy consumption.
|in kilotonne CO2e||2019||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014|
|Coverage (% of employees)||99||96||96||96||95||90|
|Total extrapolated carbon||44||57||64||74||94||101|
Energy & renewable electricity
We want to lead the way when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy production. Since 2014 we reduced our overall energy consumption by 29%. We also increased efficiency and increased our consumption of renewable electricity to 98% of total electricity consumption.
|Coverage (% of employees)||99||99||98||96||95||90|
|Renewable Electricity %||98||98||95||91||86||77|
While our total business travel distance travelled increased since 2014, we offset this by introducing more fuel-efficient vehicles including fully electric and hybrid vehicles. As such, the overall efficiency of our fleet has increased since 2014.
|In # Vehicles|
|Fully Electric Vehicles||609||231||105||82||75||59|
Our residual waste was reduced by 17% in 2019 relative to our base year.
|Coverage (% of employees)||99||99||99||98||95||92|
|Total residual waste||2,370||1,836||1,576||3,032||2,714||2,870|
Since 2014 our measured water footprint decreased by 13% while coverage has increased.
|Coverage (% of employees)||94||95||96||92||91||87|
|in thousands of m3|
|Total water consumption||500||498||563||578||574||572|
Full details on the progress we are making on our environmental objectives and other important environmental data please see the non-financial appendix section on our Annual Report 2019.