Pledges to halve its paper use and cut business travel are among new environmental targets announced by UK bank RBS that will save it £200 million by 2020
The RBS Group also aims to cut energy use across its global operations by 15% over the next two years, alongside commitments on reducing water consumption by 12% and diverting a further 15% of waste from landfill.
In addition, RBS says it increase the proportion of waste it recycles to 75% by 2012, up from 50% in 2010, and ensure that all the paper it uses is at least 85% recycled or from certified sustainable sources.
The group has also set two longer-term targets: to reduce by 50%, on 2011 figures, the amount of paper it uses – both internally and in mailings to its 30 million customers – and the amount of carbon emissions the group creates through business travel.
New technologies, particularly communications software will play an important role in meeting the new targets and saving costs. In particular, the bank highlights virtual meeting technologies, which it commits to ensuring all of its 150,000 staff has access to by 2014. According to the firm, setting up one regular virtual briefing for executives saved the bank 24,000 air miles in 2011, the equivalent of 72 tonnes of CO2.
Electronic communications will also play an important role in meeting its paper reduction targets, with the bank committing to replacing traditional paper letters with emails, for example.
To meet its energy-efficiency goals, RBS plans to upgrade its existing building management systems, to improve the energy performance of its offices.
In total, the group believes that meeting the new targets will save £200 million by 2020.
Sefton Laing, head of environment at RBS Group, said: “The targets will make a huge difference to the way we run our business. We believe we now have some of the most comprehensive targets in financial services and we’re using ideas from customers and employees to achieve, and hopefully exceed them.”
Meanwhile the group’s chief executive, Stephen Hester, said that large companies had a duty to manage their carbon footprints.