Environmental performance

... min read

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.

Business travel

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 to utilise 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 still have a 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. That's 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.

Sustainable procurement

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.

Compensation measures

Following our CO2e reduction measures, we compensate for our remaining operational carbon emissions by purchasing voluntary carbon units (VCUs). These units are not counted as part of our reduction of CO2e. These VCUs come from projects such as the Gola Rainforest Protection REDD+ project in Sierra Leone (verified under the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard), and renewable energy projects in Rwanda and Nicaragua (verified under the Clean Development Mechanism and Gold Standard).

Our organisation

The Environmental Programme is headed by our Environmental Programme Steering Committee. The Steering Committee ensures that the Environmental Programme 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, and is sponsored by ING’s chief operations officer (COO) and chief technology officer (CTO).

ING Cedar office

ING Cedar office


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.

Our commitments

We want to show leadership on environmental performance, so we’ve committed to significant milestones in our specific impact areas.

Our commitments

  • We will reduce our scope 1, 2, and scope 3 (business travel) emissions by 75% by year-end 2025 (base year 2014).
  • We will reduce our scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions from our buildings and data centres by 90% by year-end 2030 (base year 2014).
  • We will reduce energy consumption by 65% by year-end 2030 (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 year-end 2022 (base year 2014).
  • We will continue to source 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.

Our progress

We have already achieved progress on many of our objectives.

Theme Indicator Unit 2014 figures Target (from baseline 2014) Target year 2021
Energy CO2e emissions (scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3 business travel) kilotonne CO2e 105 −75% 2025 −75% (*where results were impacted by COVID-related restrictions)
Energy CO2e emissions (scope 1+2) kilotonne CO2e 80 −90% 2030 −77%
Energy Energy consumption GWh 428 −65% 2030 −40%
Energy Sourcing renewable electricity* % 74% 100% Since 2020 100%
Water Water usage thousands of m3 572 −26% 2022 −66%
Waste Residual waste tonnes 2.870 −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. In 2021 99.2% of our sourcing of renewable electricity was aligned with the market boundary criteria of the RE100 initiative, where the remaining 0.8% was not aligned. This was because the EACs for the energy sourced by some of our smaller markets were from outside of the market boundaries specified in the RE100 criteria.

CO2e and emissions

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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 75% as of year-end 2021 compared to 2014. In 2021, travel and working from home restrictions continued to impact these figures.

Carbon emissions
  2021 2020 2014
Total extrapolated carbon (in kilotonne CO2e) 26 29 105
Renewable electricity icon

Energy & renewable electricity

We want to lead the way when it comes to energy efficiency and using renewable electricity. Since 2014 we reduced our overall energy consumption by 40%. We also increased efficiency and increased our sourcing of renewable electricity to 100% of total electricity consumption for ING managed buildings. This includes the use of renewable electricity contracts and renewable energy certificates (RECs). In 2021, travel and working from home restrictions continued to impact these figures.

Energy consumption
  2021 2020 2014
Sourcing renewable electricity %* 100% 100% 74%
Total energy (in GWh) 255 273 428
*for all ING buildings where we have management control, and includes the use of purchase agreements and renewable energy certificates (RECs). In 2021 99.2% of our sourcing of renewable electricity was aligned with the market boundary criteria of the RE100 initiative, where the remaining 0.8% was not aligned. This was because the EACs for the energy sourced by some of our smaller markets were from outside of the market boundaries specified in the RE100 criteria.
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Business travel

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.

Business Travel
  2021 2020 2014
In # vehicles
Fully electric vehicles 893 763 59
Hybrid vehicles 1986 1691 473
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Our residual waste was reduced by 66% in 2021 relative to our base year.

Residual Waste
  2021 2020 2014
Coverage (% of employees) 99 99 92
In tonnes      
Total residual waste 1,065 1,366 2,870
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Since 2014 our measured water footprint decreased by 66%.

Water consumption
  2021 2020 2014
Coverage (% of employees) 96 91 87
in thousands of m3      
Total water consumption 194 366 572

Full details on the progress we are making on our environmental objectives and other important environmental data can be found in our 2022 Climate Report.

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