We measure our emissions in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol1 Scope 1, 2 and 3 definitions. 77% of our emissions continue to be Scope 2 and arise from electricity purchased to power our buildings. Scope 1 (5%) includes our company car emissions in South Africa and UK, and diesel generators. Scope 3 (18%) is business travel, of which 92% is our global business flights. It is challenging to reduce emissions associated with travel due to the nature of our business. We continue to encourage the use of video conferencing and other technology in place of face-to-face meetings and we plan to address this issue more strategically in the future.
|Total emissions by scope 2011||tonnes CO2|
Emissions reduction initiatives
Given the nature of our business, the overwhelming majority of the energy we use, and the emissions we generate, relate to our buildings – our offices, data centres and branch networks. During 2011 five of our sites achieved certification to either the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM®), or to Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design (LEED®) standards. You can read more about this work in .
A number of key initiatives contributed to our emissions reduction in 2011, including:
- Absa invested in both building efficiency initiatives and better data management, leading to more accurate data collection and a 12% reduction in reported carbon emissions.
- The Investment Bank and Wealth and Investment Management data centres reduced their energy consumption by 9.4% in 2011 (this is a 19.5% reduction from 2009 usage). This was due to a combination of data centre consolidation, server virtualisation, investment in cooling technology and the adoption of best practice.
- The use of new energy management services in the UK and South Africa resulted in better environmental and cost control. For example, we have installed automatic meter readers across the retail network in the UK and South Africa, which led to significant improvements in data accuracy, resulting in more effective energy management.
- Absa installed a gas energy centre in South Africa to help reduce emissions by using less carbon intensive energy than the traditional coal alternative.
Like all other large organisations, we are required to comply with various UK and EU carbon reduction regulations. In the UK, we are full participants in the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme, and achieved a position of 634 in the league table of over 2,000 participants in 2011. Our UK data centres and Head Office fall within the scope of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and we continue to operate within our allocations under this scheme.
We remain committed to reducing our carbon emissions and offsetting the remainder by purchasing carbon credits. On the latter, we purchased 2,200,000 carbon credits in 2011, which covers our emissions in 2010 and 2011 (based on updated 2010 figures published this year). We only purchase carbon credits that are certified to the strict Voluntary Carbon Standard or Gold Standard.
We are keen to fund projects that offer social and economic benefits, as well as carbon reductions. For example, one of our new projects with Climate Care provides water filters in Kenya, which not only avoids the need to burn firewood for water purification, but helps reduce water-borne diseases.
We continue to explore effective models to finance community-based carbon projects in Africa, including the creation of a dedicated carbon seed fund. We have made progress in engaging with a range of stakeholders and will aim to execute specific projects during 2012, working in collaboration with project developers, funders and NGOs.
In 2011, we extended the scope of our water data reporting to include a number of locations outside the UK. Our total reported water usage was 1,046,427m3, of which 204,668 m3 was in the UK, a 1.32% increase compared to UK usage reported in 2010. In 2012, we will expand the scope of water data reporting and continue to improve its accuracy.