Environmental programme

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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.

Our journey

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 and Environmental Approach to reduce our global environmental footprint and increase awareness around the opportunities and impacts of energy use, business travel, waste, water and sustainable procurement.

Solar panels on roof


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 analyses. In 2018, we received perfect scores for environmental reporting and climate strategy in ratings from the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. We also achieved the highest possible score on CDP’s climate change assessment, receiving the Euronext/CDP Leadership award and being included in the ‘A-list’.

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.

Business travel

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 roughly 95% of 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.

Sustainable procurement

While we try our best to minimise our direct environmental impact we also attempt to minimise our impact throughout our supply chain. Our Sustainable Procurement Programme ensures we have high standards of supplier sustainability performance and green purchasing strategies. We employ strict social, environmental and anti-corruption standards and monitor supplier performance via specialised sustainable supplier management agencies. Furthermore, we engage in the transition to the circular economy through our circular purchasing strategy.

Children at Rimba Raya in Borneo

Carbon Neutrality: REDD+ Project – Rimba Raya in Borneo

We offset 100% of our operational carbon emissions through the purchase of Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs), with the majority originating from a high impact REDD+ project in Borneo. This project preserves carbon-dense tropical peat swamp by helping to halt deforestation of roughly 47,000 hectares of forest which were originally slated for conversion to palm oil plantations. The project focuses on both community development and biodiversity conservation, particularly the protection of the endangered Borneo orangutan. In order to deliver on its goals, the project actively engages local communities to improve food security, water conservation, income opportunities, health care and education. In addition to conservation, the project also engages in land enrichment activities with a goal to plant one million trees.

Our organisation

The Environmental Programme is headed by our Environmental Program Steering Committee, which is chaired by ING’s chief operations officer (COO). The Steering Committee ensures that the Environmental Programme strategy is integrated into daily business activities and has an impact across the global ING network.

Environmental Programme Organizational Chart

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.

New headquarters


A good example of the integration of the programme’s sustainable strategy within ING is our new headquarters currently under development. The building is based on an innovative design, providing an open and inspiring place of work and public space with the latest in sustainable use of waste, materials and energy.

Our commitments

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 ourselves to significant milestones in our specific impact areas.

Our commitments

  • We will reduce our CO₂e emissions by 30% by 2017 and 50% by 2020 (base year 2014).
  • We will reduce global residual waste by 10% by 2017 and 20% by 2020 (base year 2014).
  • We will reduce our water footprint by 10% by 2017 and 20% by 2020 (base year 2014).
  • We will remain carbon neutral by offsetting remaining carbon emissions.
  • 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 also have dedicated commitments to ensure our supply chain meets our own high quality environmental standards.

Our commitments

  • We will ensure that globally, 95% of suppliers have agreed to the ING procurement sustainability standards by 2020.
  • 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 have 450 suppliers assessed for sustainability performance in 2016 as part of the Sustainable Procurement Programme.

Our progress

Though our programme was implemented only recently, we have already achieved substantial progress on many of our objectives.

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 has decreased its total carbon footprint by 37% as of year-end 2017 compared to 2014 while also increasing coverage of our emissions monitoring. This is thanks to an increase of renewable electricity consumption and a decrease in total energy consumption.

Carbon emissions
in kilotonne CO2e 2017 2016 2015 2014
Coverage (% of employees) 96 96 95 90
Total extrapolated carbon 64 74 94 101
Renewable electricity icon

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 23%. We also increased efficiency and increased our consumption of renewable electricity by 18 percentage points to 95% of total electricity consumption.

Energy consumption
  2017 2016 2015 2014
Coverage (% of employees) 98 96 95 90
Renewable Electricity % 95 91 86 77
In GWh GWh GWh GWh GWh
Total energy 315 367 385 409
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Business travel

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.

Business Travel
  2017 2016 2015 2014
Number of Vehicles
Fully Electric Vehicles 105 82 75 59
Hybrid Vehicles 302 301 485 473
Waste icon


Our residual waste was reduced by 45% in 2017 relative to our base year meaning we achieved our 2020 residual waste reduction target. This was achieved through a 25% increase in recycling activities and a 37% reduction in paper consumption since 2014.

Residual Waste
in tonnes 2017 2016 2015 2014
Coverage (% of employees) 99 98 95 92
Total residual waste 1,576 3,032 2,714 2,870
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Since 2014 our measured water footprint decreased by 2% while coverage has increased.

Water consumption
in thousands of m3 2017 2016 2015 2014
Coverage (% of employees) 96 92 91 87
Total water consumption 563 578 574 572
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Through our sustainable procurement programme we have increased the number of suppliers we assess as well as the number of circular-economy-based purchasing projects. In 2015 we initiated 21 projects. In 2016 we realised 18 of these projects. We also increased the share of local renewable energy we purchase in addition to offsetting 100% of our remaining emissions by purchasing voluntary carbon units (VCUs) from wind power projects in China and a landfill gas capture project in Indonesia.

Sustainable Procurement
  Unit 2017 2016 2015
Sustainable Procurement
Renewable Electricity % of total consumption 95 91 86
Supplier Sustainability Assessments # of Suppliers Engaged 877 647 596

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 Integrated Annual Report 2017.

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