We support long term strategies that aim to reduce our environmental footprint. We provide full disclosure of our carbon emissions, and where relevant, we consider the social and environmental outcomes of the business decisions we make. We also develop and participate in initiatives that offset our environmental impact, educating and encouraging others to do the same.
As a corporation we have an obligation to the environment. But it’s more than that. We work towards creating a sustainable difference because we recognise and accept the impact climate change is having on the world.
Statement of Commitment to the Environment
In 2010, the Bank’s Executive team formally established its Statement of Commitment to the Environment.
This statement articulates the Bank’s commitment to making a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate by taking part in activities that are in the best interests of the environment.
In this statement, the Executive team pledge to;
- Actively identify opportunities to reduce the Bank’s environmental footprint
- Assist our staff, customers, partners, shareholders and communities to identify opportunities to reduce their environmental footprints
- Consider the environment in all relevant business decisions
- Commit to measure and report progress in acting to achieve these goals
- Work together to make a difference Bank employees supported the Executive team in also pledging their commitment, formalising a decades-long commitment to improving communities through promoting and supporting environmental projects and initiatives.
We support long term strategies that aim to reduce our environmental footprint. We provide full disclosure of our carbon emissions, and where relevant, we consider the social and environmental outcomes of the business decisions we make.
We also develop and participate in initiatives that offset our environmental impact, educating and encouraging others to do the same.
Carbon emissions disclosure
Our Group has voluntarily reported our carbon emissions since 2011 to the world’s largest database of carbon information, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). CDP works with thousands of businesses globally, helping them to implement effective carbon emission reduction strategies.
Our total C02-e emissions for this year were 36.79kt compared to total C02-e emissions for last year of 37.77kt. The 2.6 percent decrease from the previous year attributed to a reduction in the Group’s electricity and paper consumption, reduced waste to landfill and increase in recycling.
The Group partners with not-for-profit carbon offset provider, Greenfleet to offset carbon emissions through its biodiverse revegetation program. The Bank’s contribution to the Greenfleet Program this year resulted in 18,329 trees planted across Australia, improving water quality, reducing soil degradation and providing essential habitat for native wildlife.
The environment in our business decisions
Where relevant, our Bank considers the social and environmental outcomes of the business decisions we make. As an example of these considerations, our Bank does not lend to projects in the coal and coal seam gas sectors, and we have taken a pragmatic approach that says it makes no sense to broaden our footprint by starting to do so.
Environmental sustainability in our workplace
The Bank aims to reduce its use of natural resources where possible in our offices and throughout our branch network. We do this through initiatives that reduce waste, save energy, water and paper, and improve energy efficiency.
Energy ratings for corporate sites
The Bank’s major corporate sites in Bendigo and Adelaide were designed and built with environmental sustainability and energy efficiency as a priority. Opened in 2008, the Bendigo Centre was the first 5 Star Green Star building in regional Australia, boasting a water treatment plant with the capacity to recycle 15,000 litres of waste water per day, underfloor air-conditioning for energy efficiency, and solar panels to reduce reliance on non-renewable energy.
The Bank’s Adelaide office building achieved a 5 Star Green Star rating for construction, design and interior fit out and a Green Council of Australia 5 Star Green Star Office Interiors certification. Using about half the energy of a typical office, the building features underfloor air-conditioning and central atria to encourage natural light, while more than 1,200 plants improve the health and wellbeing of staff and guests.
70 percent of the power the Group purchases is matched against renewable sources. An additional 41 Community Bank® branches across Australia also purchased power which is matched against renewable energy sources.
Recycling and waste
Where possible, our people recycle waste, including bottles and cans, cardboard and paper, and organic material. Staff in our Adelaide office split waste into these categories using designated bins located on every floor, and general waste bins are also provided. About 38.4 percent of Adelaide office waste was recycled this year, 1.4 percent more than last year.
In addition, staff in the Bendigo Centre recycled about 17 metric tonnes of paper this year, and in the Adelaide corporate office, 11.2 metric tonnes of paper was recycled.
Follow Me Printing is a print reduction initiative that allows staff to select documents to print from a networked printer, reducing unclaimed, misprinted or lost documents. All printers across the Bank’s corporate sites are now Follow Me Printing enabled. A combination of the full rollout of this initiative and other paper saving initiatives have resulted in a 2.75 percent reduction in paper use from last year. The Bank also has a continuing commitment to purchase 100 percent carbon neutral paper for all sites.
Environmental sustainability in our community
Through establishing valuable partnerships and funding streams with government, industry bodies and corporate peers, and developing our own initiatives, we seek environmental outcomes that will benefit our community.
Switch to Save
The Bank relaunched Switch to Save this year, a program that forms part of the Victorian Government’s energy saving scheme to encourage Victorian households and businesses to exchange their power-thirsty halogen down lights with energy efficient LED lights free. In the past year, about 55,000 lights were installed at 2,680 houses and businesses, saving 47,200 tonnes of carbon emissions or the equivalent to removing 10,000 cars off the road for a year.
In addition, the Bank donated more than $65,000 to fund selected local Victorian primary schools’ environmental programs.
Connecting Greater Bendigo
Recent research undertaken as part of Connecting Greater Bendigo: Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy revealed there are a large number of employees from Bendigo Bank and the City of Greater Bendigo who commute to work from Strathfieldsaye by car. In response, the Bank supported the City of Greater Bendigo to trial a new bus service from Strathfieldsaye to central Bendigo, encouraging local people to reduce their car usage by taking the bus or riding their bike to work instead.
The Bank has turned off lights across our Bendigo, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney corporate sites for one night in March since 2008, encouraging customers to do the same. The 2016 Earth Hour partnership celebrated the “Places We Love” with a competition that provided funding for grassroots environmental projects.
Cool Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that provides online education to Australian children about sustainability. Its key activity is Enviroweek, where children take action on waste, gardening, energy and health projects, helping to protect the environment for generations to come.
eShareholders receive all communications electronically, reducing the need for printed materials. The Bank encourages its shareholders to register as eShareholders, with more than 22 percent now receiving annual reports, dividend statements and voting forms electronically, up from 17 percent last year.
In June 2015, the Bank introduced eStatements, an initiative that offers customers choice in how they receive banking information while reducing paper consumption. About 30 percent of Bendigo Bank customers request to receive their statements electronically.
Trees for Life
A promotion launched through the Bank’s third party wholesale mortgages and wealth deposit business, Adelaide Bank, saw a native tree or shrub planted for every new customer who nominates to receive online statements this year. Trees for Life donated about 700 plants and 200 shrubs, which were planted in the Adelaide Hills by Adelaide Bank employees.