HOW WE’RE MAKING A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON EARTH DAY AND BEYOND
Thu, 21 Apr 2022
“Our world is facing unprecedented challenges – climate change, the depletion of natural resources, and rising inequalities, at a time people are experiencing big changes to how they live and work. Through more responsible consumption, people have the power to preserve natural resources, reduce their carbon footprint and make a difference on a greater scale.”
Stephen Hunt, CEO at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK
Corporate Social Responsibility is key to how we act, how we do business, and how we make things happen in society, and forms a core part of our commitment to be a sustainable, ethical and caring organisation.
At BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, we are driven to change the world for a better future and have been actively engaging with colleagues, clients and other key stakeholders to help make this happen.
To mark Earth Day 2022, Cliff Docker, our Head of Business Services who leads on our environmental initiatives, explains more about the steps we’ve taken to make a positive impact in our own operations, in our products and services, and in our local and global communities.
Reducing the environmental impact of our own operations
As a business, we are committed to supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint for positive change that aligns closely with our own positive impact principles. And, as part of this commitment to reduce our environmental impact in terms of our own operations, we have made a number of changes to the way we operate.
From banning single-use plastics in our offices to introducing sustainable bamboo lanyards for colleagues, often it’s the small changes that make the biggest difference but we are also taking on bigger changes for good such as switching to a hybrid working model. We’ve also successfully lobbied our Solihull landlord to install eight new charging stations for colleagues to charge their EVs for free.
In a bid to extend the positive environmental impact brought on by the shift to working from home during the pandemic, we have also reduced the size of our Solihull office space, donating and recycling surplus office furniture and electrical equipment in the process. What’s more, in a bid to further mitigate the impact of our office space, we’ve reduced in-office printing by 74%, leading to a 69% wastepaper reduction, and have switched to 100% energy efficient LED lighting in our offices.
The collective impact that these small but significant changes have had is already evident, and we’ve been successful in reducing our environmental impact to just 0.27 tonnes of CO2e greenhouse gas emissions per full time employee – down 67% from 2019.
This commitment to reduce our environmental impact ties into our wider BNP Paribas UK Territory goal to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across our UK operations by 60% by 2030. And, as part of the global BNP Paribas Group, our total carbon footprint is also offset each year through Voluntary Emission Reductions to the Wildlife Works project in Kenya.
Promoting access to more responsible and sustainable consumption
As well as driving positive environmental change within our own business, we’re also committed to promoting access to more responsible and sustainable consumption, to support our customers and partners. And, as a leading consumer finance provider, we actively seek ways to help our customers reduce their environmental footprint and are committed to expanding access to our services to a broader range of consumers.
As part of our pledge to promote a more sustainable way of life, we’re constantly looking for new ways to help our partners and their customers prepare for the future. As a direct result of this, our motor finance team now offer financing for both new and used Battery Electric Vehicles on our HP and PCP products.
But this isn’t the only area where we’ve taken steps to promote access to more eco-friendly ways of living; our home improvement finance solutions are also helping installers to remind homeowners of the choices they have available to reduce emissions in the home, as well as enabling consumers to spread the cost of green home improvements. In 2021 we provided customers with £50.35m of funding for energy efficiency measures.
Through our partnership with TrustMark, the government endorsed quality scheme, and other organisations, we aim to be at the heart of the UK’s green recovery, to benefit people and our planet for years to come.
Making a positive impact in society
Our company culture has always been centred around doing the right thing and playing a positive and active role in our society, and as a business, we take great pride in the valuable contribution we make to our local communities.
In a bid to give back to the areas in which our offices are based, we work closely with our charity partners and other local organisations to reduce our collective carbon footprint.
During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, for example, we donated 100 laptops to schools across Birmingham through the Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP), to help support students of all ages with home learning – demonstrating our commitment to reducing waste.
In addition, as part of our ‘1 Million Hours 2 Help’ volunteering initiative, many of our colleagues have also been using their volunteering hours to make a positive environmental impact. For example, our Motor Finance and Risk teams got together for two days to help Solihull college create a new outdoor classroom, clearing unused outdoor space and setting up an area where outdoor learning can take place.
Cliff’s Top 5 Eco Tips!
- REDUCE YOUR DIGITAL POLLUTION
Carbon emissions are created by the amount of electricity needed to perform any digital task. Only send necessary emails. If we each sent one less ‘thank you’ email a day, the UK could save over 16 tonnes of carbon each year! Reduce distribution lists (focus on who absolutely needs to see it), delete expired / unwanted emails and empty your email bin regularly.
- SWITCH IT OFF!
Devices in shut off or sleep mode still use energy and cost money. So, to reduce your carbon footprint, stop overcharging mobile phones, switch TVs and other devices off fully and unplug all devices from wall sockets whilst on holiday.
- REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Single-use plastic bags take about two decades to break down and the average home wastes hundreds of pounds of food per year – so let’s shop smarter. Only buy what you need and check dates, switch to reusable drinking cups and non-plastic shopping bags and check out what and where you can recycle on recycling.co.uk.
- USE ECO FRIENDLY TOILET PAPER
Did you know it requires at least 17 trees and 90,921 litres of water to make a tonne of paper rolls? As bamboo grows quickly, it’s a much more sustainable option – so consider making the switch to eco-friendly toilet paper.
- GIVE MEAT A MISS
Meat has a higher energy footprint than any other food and contributes to global warming. If you still enjoy eating meat, try going flexitarian and having meat free days or opt for meat substitutes and liven a dish up with herbs and spices. By reducing your meat intake you’ll also be improving your health.
While Earth Day is an important reminder of the threat the climate crisis poses to the world as we know it, our commitment to make a positive impact and reduce our environmental footprint stretches far beyond just one day. And although we’ve made some great progress so far in terms of reducing our carbon footprint and helping others to do the same, the hard work certainly doesn’t stop here.
To find out more about our continued commitment to make a positive environmental impact in our business, through our products and services and in society, click here.