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Being environmentally sustainable

Being a responsible business is part of our mutual heritage. From our people, to the environment and the communities we serve, we’re helping to build a better future. And using our financial strength helps us to achieve our vision and purpose – to provide a good place for people’s savings and help them own their own home. A purpose which remains as true and important today as it was when we were founded in 1853.

Sustainable Environment

We're putting sustainability high on our agenda for the present and the future. And we’ve clear ambitions and targets which help us focus our efforts so we can take action where we can have the most impact. Together, we’re working to build a better Society and a sustainable future for us all – socially, financially and environmentally.

By understanding we must do no environmental harm that impacts our members and the wider society – now and for future generations, we can work towards making sure our contributions are always greater than the impact of our operations. We’re improving our operational procedures and supporting our customers to change for the better, as there is no planet B and climate change is no longer a future problem, it’s happening now.

We’re also helping to make our communities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable through our fundraising, volunteering and community activities.

Working towards Net Zero

We’re committed to reducing our environmental impact and contribution to climate change through increased energy management, awareness and changes to operational procedures. We frequently examine our energy efficiency and engage with carbon specialists to reduce our carbon emissions.

Here’s just some of the work we’ve been doing:

Measuring our operational emissions (which mainly includes our buildings, fleet and business travel) and offsetting more than we produce – in 2020 we provided funding so that 15,000 trees could be planted through a partnership with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and we’re providing further funding so that another 15,000 trees can be planted in 2022 to offset our 2021 carbon emissions. This also helps to reduce flood risk and improves the natural environment for the benefit of the climate, wildlife and people.

Our buildings

We’ve refurbished almost all our branches for both operational and environmental reasons with the installation of LED lighting, efficient air conditioning and low energy heaters. LED lighting is used throughout at our head office and to reduce our water usage, all urinals are now fitted with auto flush and we’ve installed auto taps in all our restrooms. The electricity we use in our buildings all comes from renewable sources.

Our transport

We want to help and encourage our colleagues to move away from traditional engines as hybrid and electric vehicles become more popular, economical and affordable. To support this, we’ve installed four electric fast vehicle charging stations at our head office, and we have two electric cars which are available for colleagues for business use.

Our waste

In 2021 we diverted 99% of our waste from landfill. And we’re continuing to find and use alternative materials across the whole business, as well as reducing single use plastics. Examples of this include changing the packaging in our canteen, sourcing sustainable products for our events and using alternative marketing materials.

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