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 in 2015 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.
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 our use of renewable electricity.
As a global bank, communication across our network is key. This traditionally required large amounts of business travel. With our digitalisation strategy and with the impacts of the pandemic, 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 encourage employees towards the most sustainable options and continue to increase the number of electric vehicles in our fleet.
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.
Waste and recycling 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. Next to paper we also aim to reduce plastic and e-waste. For general waste we have focused our efforts on increasing our recycling rate, management of e-waste and overall reduction of residual waste.
To be a safe and secure bank for our customers and society, we take care to know our suppliers and ensure they share our commitment to fighting climate change and protecting human rights. We have a process in place that encourages our suppliers worldwide to act responsibly. We believe this is a real opportunity to have an impact and drive our sustainability ambitions through our supply chain.
We’ve included social and environmental responsibility requirements in our procurement process since 2012. ING’s Procurement Sustainability Standards was based on the UN Global Compact Principles and is now incorporated into our global know your supplier (KYS) process. The sustainability part of the KYS process today has evolved and expanded beyond UN Global Compact Principles and also holds other social and environmental aspects, e.g. compliancy to modern slavery acts. This ensures we only do business with companies that agree to meet our sustainability requirements.
We compensate for our remaining operational carbon emissions through purchasing voluntary carbon units (VCUs), including from the Gola Rainforest Protection REDD+, project in Sierra Leone. The Gola Rainforest National Park was established to better protect the 70,000-hectare park, the 70,000-hectare buffer zone, and the millions of tonnes of carbon that are locked within Gola’s trees and the earth below it. Gola’s previous forest reserve status did not prohibit small-scale logging operations, industrial and artisanal mining, and agricultural activities, and the forest area was under threat of rapid deforestation and degradation.
This project is enabling local stakeholders (government, communities and national NGOs) to manage this entire landscape sustainably, to benefit local communities and wildlife. All the project’s efforts, from National Park Forest Guard employment opportunities to the establishment of a cocoa farmers’ co-operative, contribute to the rebuilding of lives after a decade of civil war and the recent Ebola outbreak. The portfolio is verified and validated to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and 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) and chief technology officer (CTO) are the MBB sponsors 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. The committee includes representatives from Corporate Real Estate, Procurement, Human Resources, Tech Infrastructure, and Global Sustainability.
A good example of the integration of the programme’s sustainable strategy within ING is our corporate office Cedar, which opened in January 2020. Sustainability is key for the building. Cedar’s design was awarded the BREEAM Outstanding score for design, one of the highest sustainability ratings by BREEAM-NL at the time. It was partially built with the concrete from the previous building on the same location. Around 3,000 square metres 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 scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions from our buildings and data centres by 80% by year-end 2022, and 90% by year-end 2030 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce our scope 3 CO2e emissions from business travel by airplane and car by 25% by year-end 2022 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce energy consumption by 65% by year-end 2030 (new target, base year 2014).
- We will reduce our global residual waste by 26% by year-end 2022 (base year 2014).
- We will reduce our water footprint by 26% by 2022 (base year 2014).
- We will continue to procure 100% renewable electricity for all ING buildings where we have management control worldwide.
- We will continue to compensate for our remaining carbon emissions.
- 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 disclosing material environmental performance indicators in our annual report.
We have already achieved substantial progress on many of our objectives.
|Theme||Indicator||Unit||2014 figures||Target (baseline 2014)||Target year||FY2021|
|Energy||CO2e emissions (scope 1+2)||kilotonne CO2e||70||−80%||2022||−80%|
|Energy||CO2e emissions (scope 1+2)||kilotonne CO2e||70||−90%||2030||−80%|
|Energy||Renewable electricity*||%||77%||100%||Since 2020||100%|
|Business travel||CO2e emissions (scope 3)||kilotonne CO2e||31||−25%||2022||−79%|
|Water||Water usage||thousands of m3||572||−26%||2022||−66%|
|Others||Carbon offsets||Ongoing||Continue to compensate for remaining emissions from our operations||Ongoing||Since 2007|
|*for all ING buildings where we have management control|
CO2e and emissions
Reducing our direct CO2e footprint is one of ING’s key environmental goals. With the help of the Environmental Programme, ING decreased our total carbon footprint by 57% as of year-end 2019 compared to 2014, achieving our 2020 target a year early. In 2020, we then created separate target reductions for scope 1 & 2 emissions and scope 3 emissions. At the end of 2021 our scope 1 & 2 emissions were reduced by 80% compared to 2014, and scope 3 emissions from business travel from air and car travel reached 79% reduction compared to 2014. In 2021, travel and working from home restrictions continued to impact these figures.
|in kilotonne CO2e||2021||2020||2019||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014|
|Coverage (% of employees)||99||99||99||96||96||96||95||90|
|Total extrapolated carbon||20.5||25||44||57||64||74||94||101|
Energy & renewable electricity
We want to lead the way when it comes to energy efficiency and using renewable energy. Since 2014 we reduced our overall energy consumption by 40%. We also increased efficiency and increased our consumption of renewable electricity to 100% of total electricity consumption for ING managed buildings. This includes the use of purchase agreements and renewable energy certificates (RECs). In 2020, travel and working from home restrictions continued to impact these figures.
|Coverage (% of employees)||99||99||99||99||98||96||95||90|
|Renewable electricity %*||100||100||98||98||95||91||86||77|
ING continues to reduce the impact from our business travel. In 2021, business travel by both air and car continued to be impacted by travel and working from home restrictions. We have continued introducing more fuel-efficient vehicles including fully electric and hybrid vehicles to our car fleet. As such, the overall efficiency of our fleet has increased since 2014.
|In # vehicles|
|Fully electric vehicles||893||763||609||231||105||82||75||59|
Our residual waste was reduced by 66% in 2021 relative to our base year.
|Coverage (% of employees)||99||99||99||99||99||98||95||92|
|Total residual waste||1,065||1,366||2,370||1,836||1,576||3,032||2,714||2,870|
Since 2014 our measured water footprint decreased by 66%.
|Coverage (% of employees)||96||91||94||95||96||92||91||87|
|in thousands of m3|
|Total water consumption||194||366||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 our Annual Report 2021.