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
Supporting the transition to net-zero
Running a business impacts the environment through different ways. We consider our purchasing choices, products and services, how we power and run our buildings and, the tools and travel our colleagues need.
By making changes across these areas, we aim to minimise harm to our environment. That is why we aspire to support the UK’s ambition to be net-zero by 2050. Net-zero means to achieve an overall balance between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced and taken out of the atmosphere. In 2021, we became a member of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) and part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ).
We also signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) (opens in a new window) and Business Ambition for 1.5°C (opens in a new window), and are developing a set of intermediate science-based targets for our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, aligned with a net-zero emissions pathway.
How we operate means that our strategy does not involve lending to, or investing in, businesses which have a negative impact on society and the environment, such as those in the fossil fuels industry.
Making UK homes greener
It’s our ambition to lead the greening of UK homes, and it forms one of our Mutual Good Commitments.
With around 16%1 of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from the home, and many homes built today not meeting the highest energy efficient standards, our ambition has never been more important – but we cannot achieve it alone. Reducing emissions from UK homes to deliver net-zero will require significant cross-industry collaborative effort, supported by government.
We are taking an active role and have brought together a cross-industry Green Homes Action Group, formed from leaders across the housing, construction, financial services and energy sectors. We collectively aim to influence and drive solutions that remove the main barriers to reducing the emissions of UK homes. Last year, the group proposed seven guiding principles to Government to inform a national retrofit strategy for greening homes.
We continue to offer a range of green propositions and initiatives to encourage members to green their homes, including cheaper borrowing when making green home improvements and cashback rewards for members who buy greener homes.
1 Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 2020 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Final Figures (February 2022)
Encouraging greener behaviour
Our members and colleagues have access to our services and products on the Greener Homes hub designed to make green home initiatives easy to implement. Our hub includes information on cheaper borrowing to make green changes and hints and tips for creating a greener home. We’ve teamed up with Switchd to offer members a six-month free trial of their auto-energy switching service, which includes green tariff options. Find out about our Switchd offer.
We offer climate change training to colleagues, to raise awareness of the risks and opportunities of climate change.
We believe it’s important to be 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 building awareness and understanding around the urgent need for a more responsible relationship and behaviour change towards the environment, with our third parties, members and colleagues and through our relations with politicians.
Our carbon neutral journey
Since April 2020, we’ve been classed as carbon neutral for our operational greenhouse gas emissions. As a Society, we use electricity, gas, and diesel.
Our Scope 1 emissions
Gas and diesel are used to heat our buildings and power our owned fleet. We offset these emissions through carbon offset projects. Nationwide offsets its scope 1 emissions through verified carbon offset projects, such as community reforestation, through a pre-purchase agreement. Purchasing offsets in advance enables us to continue to neutralise our operational emissions in line with our Mutual Good Commitment that by 2030, our business operations, suppliers and commuting will be carbon neutral. Over the long-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 our operational energy use and approximately 50% is supplied from a solar farm in the UK, through a Power Purchase Agreement. On-site electricity is also supported by Solar PV panels on the roof of our headquarter office, Nationwide House. 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 our core business operations. These include:
- purchased goods and services (including advertising, facilities management, IT hardware and software)
- capital goods (including plant, property, and equipment)
- upstream transportation and distribution
Our upstream Scope 3 emissions are approximately 10 times our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. It is therefore important we engage with our supply chain on decarbonising to achieve our carbon neutral target. We are using the supplier sustainability ratings tool, EcoVadis (opens in a new window), to gather information from our third-party suppliers on their climate change strategies, targets and performance and to work with them to improve over time. Find out more about our Procurement for Mutual Good programme.
Additionally, to help achieve our carbon neutral target for commuting, 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.
Operational targets and policies
We have set our own operational targets to reduce energy, waste and water use by 2025 and 2030.
“I’m proud of our operational carbon neutral status but recognise there’s still a lot more we can do. I look forward to expanding our carbon neutral status 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
Scope 1 and 2 usage reduction targets
Using the 2019 to 2020 figures as a baseline, this table sets out the reduction targets for 2025 and 2030.
|Energy (Scope 1 and 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%|
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, 1.4MB (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, and
- how our governance process holds us to account.