Note:

This area of our website offers information about some of the things we do as a responsible business. For information about how you could ‘go green’ and how we’re helping UK homes become greener please visit our Greener homes page.

What's on this page


Building a better relationship with nature

Nationwide’s strategy does not involve lending to or investing in businesses that have a negative impact on the environment. This includes investments linked to fossil fuels, deforestation, or agriculture. We recognise the need to consider our own impact on nature and are actively exploring opportunities to enhance biodiversity around our own offices.

Greener behaviours in our workforce and supply chain

We have ongoing initiatives that are focused on enhancing our colleagues’ understanding of the impact of nature loss and exploitation. Our Green Employee Network and Environmental Support Guide provide resources and solutions to help colleagues maintain greener lifestyles that protect biodiversity.

We’ve partnered with sustainability ratings provider EcoVadis, who collect environmental performance data on third parties from across our supply chain. This assessment considers biodiversity and further supports our efforts to create a greener supplier chain.


Biodiversity around Nationwide House

We asked colleagues across the Society to tell us what environmental initiatives they wanted us to fund. Based on their responses, we set up a project to increase the biodiversity surrounding our head office in Swindon.

In 2019, we nurtured a ‘pictorial meadow’ to support pollinating insects. We also built and installed nest-boxes, with the local Royal Wootton Bassett Men’s Shed project, to supplement nesting sites in the growing woodland.

In 2021, an ecological assessment took place around our administration centres in Swindon to see what opportunities we had to promote plant and animal life. The report highlighted:

  • how we can change our ground management to support a thriving, native ecology.
  • ways to increase awareness and engagement with our colleagues on sustainability and biodiversity.
  • ways to work with other neighbour businesses and organisations to enhance biodiversity across the wider area.

What’s next?

The findings of the report have allowed us to create a five-year action plan. As part of this we intend to increase the population of existing native plants and animals through methods such as improving the connectivity of hedgerows and increasing foraging opportunities.

With the combined efforts of colleagues and ground maintenance experts we’ll be working on different areas to reach this goal, including:

Woodland

  • increase biodiversity value of habitats
  • diversify floral population
  • decide priority species for conservation

Water

  • increase ecological value of open water habitats
  • increase freshwater pond dip score
  • decide priority species for conservation

Shrub and grassland

  • increase wildlife value of habitats
  • diversify wildflower population
  • more pollinator friendly plants species within ornamental areas, as per Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)

Species and connectivity

  • support species that are new to a built environment  
  • increase connectivity between habitat patches  
  • plant more native hedgerows  

Biodiversity at Oakfield, our not-for-profit housing development

Oakfield is a not-for-profit development of 239 EPC A-rated, off-gas homes on a former Brownfield site. Nationwide is the lead sponsor of Oakfield and has worked closely with the local community in the design and planning of the homes.

Oakfield is designed in a way that encourages wildlife and biodiversity. Central to the development is a landscaped park, which has ‘swales’. Swales are areas of ground that collect and slowly release water into the landscape. This removes pollutants and creates a habitat for certain pollinators. There is also a wild meadow area which further encourages biodiversity.

Species selection has been key in the design

The landscape has been enhanced with plants recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) ‘Perfect for Pollinators Plant List’, to encourage a wide range of wildlife. More than 300 trees of different varieties have been planted throughout Oakfield to bring seasonal interest and variation to accommodate different wildlife.

The development also includes green corridors of formal hornbeam hedges, allowing highways for hedgehogs and other small animals. Homes have also been fitted with bat boxes.

An award-winning development

The development was awarded the industry-leading Building with Nature Design Accreditation (opens in a new window). Building with Nature enables developers to create places that allow people and wildlife to thrive, recognising high quality green infrastructure at all stages of the development process including policy, planning, design, delivery, and long-term management and maintenance.

The Oakfield development has also been awarded the ‘Building for a Healthy Life’ award by Design for Homes in its Housing Design Awards 2021. This award recognises housing developments that have been built to create places that are beneficial for both people and nature.

The future of Oakfield

We will continue to promote the mutual benefits of Oakfield. We hope that our approach will become a blueprint for others to develop sustainable homes, with the support of local communities. Therefore, we are sharing our learnings and plans from this development to help create positive change.

The development has been designed to minimise carbon emissions, and Nationwide has committed to offset the embodied carbon up to practical completion. This will include all the carbon required to create the building products, transport them to site, and install them. We are currently exploring the best way to offset this.


We are encouraged by the growing interest across the industry in taking measurable actions to protect and restore nature. We aim to use and embed any recommendations made by the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) in the consideration of biodiversity-related risks and impacts, and in the setting of appropriate targets.

We all have a responsibility to expand our understanding, drive positive impacts and make a difference in this important matter.


Last updated: March 2022