Reducing environmental harm
The changes we’re making to achieve carbon neutrality and minimise any harm we have on the environment.
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
Our responsibility to the environment
Our purchasing choices. The products and services we provide our members. How we power and run our buildings. The tools and travel our colleagues need. Running a business leaves a mark on the environment in so many ways.
The good news is, by making changes across these areas, any harm we might make upon our precious environment is minimised. That’s why in 2021, we became a member of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) and part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ), committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
We also signed up to the Science Based Targets (opens in a new window) initiative, Business Ambition for 1.5°C (opens in a new window). We are setting intermediate science-based targets for our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in 2030, aligning to a net-zero emissions pathway. We understand the challenges facing the industry in achieving the wider UK net-zero ambition. We will continue to work with the government and the wider industry to effect the change required to achieve this.
Encouraging greener behaviour
Our members and colleagues have access to our suite of green services and propositions that help enhance the adoption of green home initiatives. This includes hints and tips around the home, cheaper borrowing to help make green changes and automatically switching to the cheapest green energy tariffs. We've joined the EcoVadis community to rate and collaborate with our third party suppliers to enhance collective sustainability performance. We’ve also set operational targets for 2025 and 2030 and have no appetite to lend to, or invest in, businesses that have a negative impact on society and the environment, such as those in the fossil fuel industry.
It’s important that we’re all joined up in our efforts to reduce water, waste and energy use in our drive toward net-zero carbon. That's why we’re committed to widening awareness and understanding of the urgency for a more responsible relationship and behaviour change in relation to the environment. Our aim is to build something special with our third parties, members and colleagues and through our relations with politicians.
Fighting climate change
We’re proud to have held the Carbon Trust Triple Standard since April 2014, with our most recent reaccreditation in 2020, demonstrating our commitment to continually reduce our operational carbon, water, and waste footprint.
Our carbon neutral journey
Nationwide has been ‘carbon neutral’ for our operational greenhouse gas emissions since April 2020. As a Society, we use electricity, gas and diesel. While 100% of our electricity comes from renewable sources, a small proportion of gas, diesel and other emissions, such as those from our car fleet, do not. We offset these emissions through a Ugandan Reforestation Project. This project organises hundreds of small community-based tree planting initiatives on land owned by subsistence farmers. It also contributes towards sustainable development, improves community livelihoods through education and training, and creates additional income beyond small holder farming.
We selected this project as it meets rules derived under the Paris Agreement and supports several Sustainable Development Goals. The project is verified and has approval under both the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB). Additionally, over the longer-term, we are looking to move away from static diesel generation as a backup generator fuel source, rather than rely on offsetting.
Our Scope 2 electricity use, comes from 100% renewable sources
This is the primary source of operational energy use and approximately 50% is supplied from a solar farm in the UK, through a Power Purchase Agreement. Solar PV panels on the roof of our HQ Nationwide House also support on-site electricity needs. The remainder is sourced through a 100% ‘green tariff’ using wind, solar and hydro.
We’re now looking at how we can reduce our upstream Scope 3 emissions
Our upstream Scope 3 emissions are those emitted prior to core business operations by Nationwide. These include goods and services purchased (such as computers, paper, debit cards), their transportation to our offices and branches, as well as employee commuting and business travel.
To help achieve this, electric vehicles have been made available on the colleague car scheme and we’ve installed more than 50 electric car charging points across our sites. We’ve also established our Procurement for Mutual Good programme.
Operational targets and policies
“I’m proud of our operational carbon neutral status and continued achievement of the Carbon Trust Triple Standard but recognise there’s still a lot more we can do. I look forward to expanding our carbon neutral commitment across our supply chain and taking every opportunity we can to green our business from the inside out as we define a new way of working and strive to build back better.”
Laura Faulkner, Director of Shared Services
|Energy (Scopes 1-2)||Electricity*||-10%||-30%|
|Emissions (Scope 3)||Commuting||–||Carbon Neutral|
|Purchased goods and services||–||Carbon Neutral|
|Diversion from landfill||100%|
|Single-use plastics in our waste stream||-100%|
* Targets are set against a 2019/20 baseline
Policies and principles on environmental management
We have a thorough set of processes in place for protecting the environment from our business activities and mitigating any potential damage:
- Our Enterprise Risk Management Framework (ERMF) embeds climate change into the framework as a level one cause. This is to ensure appropriate identification, monitoring and management across all risks, with full traceability.
- Our Safety, Health and Environment risk policy sets out Nationwide’s approach to managing operational and conduct safety, and health and environment risk in accordance with board risk appetite.
- Our Responsible Purchasing Principles outlines supply chain responsible business considerations for sourcing, and what supplier management colleagues need to take into account when interacting with suppliers.
- Our Third Party Code of Practice, PDF 1MB (opens in a new window) sets out minimum standards and encouraged practices for suppliers.
- Our Climate Change Risk Standard articulates the principles and requirements that must be met for us to manage the risks arising from climate change.
- Our Human Rights Statement recognises our responsibility to the environment.
Climate-related financial disclosures
Take a look at our climate-related disclosures, which are aligned with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) report - PDF, 417KB (opens in a new window). Read more on:
- the risks associated with climate change – and how we are responding to them
- how we have integrated environmental concerns into our strategy
- our emissions – how we measure and manage them
- how our governance process holds us to account.