Being a responsible business is part of our mutual heritage. From our people to the environment and the communities we serve, we’re taking actions to drive better outcomes for our members and colleagues in the 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.
We're putting sustainability high on our agenda for the present and the future. And we have 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.
We want to avoid doing any environmental harm that impacts our members and the wider society, now and for future generations. We want to contribute positively to the environment by carefully weighing 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.
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.
In 2022 we were able to identify a baseline which we need to reduce against in order to work towards net zero emissions. We now know that the majority of our emissions come from our mortgage lending and purchased goods and services.
Many of our mortgage members’ homes emit a large amount of greenhouse gases through normal day to day living. To help members identify ways to improve their home’s energy efficiency, we offer all members a free EPC Plus home energy efficiency report to those who own a home over 10 years old. Members can then use this information to pursue home improvements which could reduce their carbon footprint and save them money on their energy bills.
We also offer additional borrowing mortgage products to existing borrowers to fund energy efficiency improvements in the home.
We’ve refurbished almost all of our branches for both operational and environmental reasons with the installation of LED lighting, efficient air conditioning and low energy heaters. Around 99% of our boilers have been changed to more energy efficient condensing boilers and we have begun exploring the potential to use solar panels to generate on-site electricity at head office. Here, we also harvest our rainwater and have installed auto sensors for both taps and toilet flushes to improve water efficiency.
We have recently expanded our EV charge points from four visitor and two pool car charge points to a further 20 charge points for colleague use. In addition, in 2023 we have launched a new colleague benefit for employees to lease an electric or hybrid car on a company hire scheme. This could further help colleagues to reduce the emissions from their commuting and personal vehicle use. In addition, we continue to offer the cycle to work scheme benefit, where colleagues can buy a new bike to enjoy the local scenery on their way into the office. The Society also continues to champion the re-opening of the East Lancashire to North Yorkshire rail network, which would allow further public transport commuting as well as opening up economic potential across wider areas of North West England.
We continue to divert over 99% of our waste from landfill and we’ve made significant reductions in our use of single use plastics (this has reduced cumulatively by 83% since 2019). We also keep our colleague café packaging materials under review as well as sourcing sustainable marketing materials for colleague and external events. Our Paperless Project is helping to reduce the requirement for paper in our mortgage offers process and so far since launch in September 2022, over 80% of our customers have chosen to receive their communications digitally.
EPC Plus is provided by Vibrant Energy Matters, who are owned by Connells Group, a Skipton Building Society Group company. EPC Plus is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.