Arion Bank respects the environment and seeks to minimize any negative effect operations may have on the natural world. Environmental awareness runs through the company from top to bottom. Arion Bank is an active participant in society and is dedicated to contributing to its development. This is how we show our commitment to sustainable banking.
Our objective is for environmental awareness to be reflected in operations, management, decision-making and the day-to-day work of our employees.
A new policy on sustainability was devised at Arion Bank in 2016, in which the main focuses and stakeholders were defined. The policy builds on the culture which has evolved at the Bank and the work undertaken in recent years, and the policy is entitled Together we make good things happen. The policy also underlines the importance of environmental issues.
The results achieved at Arion Bank in environmental issues can be seen in the environmental accounting table. Data and information in environmental accounting are applicable to 2017 and relate to the core activities of Arion Bank, not its subsidiaries. Data from 2015 and 2016 are included for comparison.
1.1 Our environmental objectives
Arion Bank seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of its activities. The Bank’s environmental objectives are to:
- Optimize the sorting of waste produced by the Bank
- Use energy sparingly
- Use environmentally friendly solutions when printing by using new technology
- Encourage employees to adopt environmentally friendly practices at work and at home
- Choose environmentally friendly products and/or services wherever possible
- Increase the number of paperless transactions
- Reduce waste
1.2 Partnerships in environmental issues
In 2015 Arion Bank signed the City of Reykjavík and Festa’s Declaration on Climate Change. The declaration fits in well with the Bank’s objectives concerning the environment, and by signing the declaration Arion Bank committed itself to the following:
- Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases
- Reduce waste
- Measure what has been achieved
- Regularly report on the above factors
Arion Bank has published an environmental report annually since 2016. The report sets out our environmental objectives and an action plan to reduce our environmental impact. The environmental accounting table clearly shows that the Bank has made good progress in achieving its aims.
1.3 Arion Bank’s climate project
Arion Bank’s climate project is based on both the work undertaken on environmental issues at the Bank and also on the declaration on climate change. It is an ambitious project which requires meticulous organization and management to guarantee success.
As last year, Arion Bank has placed particular emphasis on item 3 of the climate change declaration, i.e. to set up an effective IT system to organize environmental issues at the Bank in order to ensure measurability, transparency and disclosure of information. We are continuing to link important data sources and to secure a stable stream of data into the environmental data base.
Arion Bank’s climate change project and other efforts to reduce the negative impact of operations on the environment are the Bank's way of meeting the UN's thirteenth goal, climate action.
2 Our focus on environmental issues
The Bank has launched numerous projects designed to reduce our environmental impact.
At Arion Bank our focus has been on gaining a comprehensive overview of the environmental impact of our activities, and the Bank has launched numerous projects designed to reduce our environmental impact. We have invested in electric cars for journeys around town during workings hours, introduced a transport policy for employees, supported forestry, initiated campaigns to improve waste sorting and reduce food waste, cut down on printing and reduced single-use plastic.
One of main areas of emphasis has been convenient banking through digital solutions. This strategy has been a major contributor to reducing the carbon footprint of the Bank and our customers as we are using less paper and our customers are making fewer visits to branches of the Bank.
This section describes the some of the Bank’s projects and measures related to our environmental objectives.
2.1 Optimize the sorting of waste produced by the Bank
Since 2016 we have made a concerted effort to increase the sorting of waste and to reduce the total amount of waste produced by Arion Bank. Initially the focus was on the headquarters and our branch in Borgartún. Waste sorting was improved significantly at both locations with the introduction of new waste bins for plastic, metal and hazardous materials. The waste management company engaged by the Bank helped to organize the sorting and reviewed the waste removal schedule and also held a talk on recycling for the employees.
Our campaign has now moved on to other places of work, including the service areas at our branches. In 2016 we tried to find the right kind of recycling bins for this space and we experimented with a new type. This work will continue in 2018.
We have made a sustained effort to reduce our use of plastic
The total amount of waste decreased slightly between 2015 and 2016 but increased once more in 2017, partly as a result of renovation work at several branches. At the same time the percentage of sorted waste increased, which is positive. This trend can be seen on the diagram below and further information on waste can be found in the environmental accounting table.
We have made a sustained effort to reduce our use of plastic. Non-recyclable coffee cups, plastic glasses, plates and packaging have been replaced by compostable alternatives. The branches were then given the option of ordering similar cups and packaging. We have also reduced the use of single-use plastics in the canteen at the headquarters and we reached agreements with many of our suppliers to ensure that the supplies we ordered came in multiuse plastic trays instead of being wrapped in disposable plastic.
Plastic bags at the Bank have been replaced by paper bags.
We also commissioned environmentally friendly bags for customers and employees on which useful information on protecting the environment is printed. The idea behind this initiative is to raise awareness of how important it is for everyone to make their own contribution to reducing pollution and making a better future.
In 2017 a new water cooler system was invested in at the headquarters. This system enables us to fill glass bottles with tap water and makes the plastic bottles at meetings and other events at the headquarters totally redundant. Plastic bags at the Bank have been also replaced by paper bags. The Bank’s pens are also made of recycled plastic.
2.2 Use energy sparingly
The Bank’s electricity consumption has decreased substantially over the last few years, which is primarily a result of the reduction in the number of square metres used by the Bank's branch network. We have systematically replaced conventional light bulbs with new LED bulbs. By the end of 2017 around 1,000 conventional light bulbs had been replaced by LED bulbs, represent around 10% of the Bank’s lighting. We will continue to review electricity usage at the Bank with a view to reducing electricity use even further.
2.3 Fuel consumption of our vehicles
Many of the Bank’s older vehicles have been replaced by new electric cars. We also trying to reduce the fuel consumption of our non-electric fleet. By recording the refuelling of every vehicle, we can collate information on fuel cards, car registration numbers and type of fuel. This information is fed into Arion Bank’s environmental software, where it is possible to monitor fuel consumption of our vehicles and the emissions produced by driving them in CO2 equivalents.
Fuel consumption increased slightly between 2015 and 2016 but dropped somewhat in 2017, as seen in the diagram below. See the environmental accounting table for more details.
2.4 Environmentally friendly printing solutions with new technology
In recent years we have made every effort to cut down on the amount of paper we use. In 2012 we entered into an agreement with Nýherji, now Origo, on a print on demand solution which enables us to control access to all printers and photocopiers. Each employee confirms their print request using their access card at the printer. Print on demand has resulted in a significant saving of paper since being introduced in 2012. Further information on the number of printed pages can be found in the environmental accounting table as well as in the diagram below.
The Bank has decided not to print calendars for the last two years. It could be said that this decision is a sign of the times, as growing use of computers and smartphones means that people increasingly resort to technology to plan their time. The decision also reflects the Bank's policy of greater awareness and respect for the environment. The Bank used to print tens of thousands of calendars, so this decision represents a significant saving.
2.5 Encourage and motivate employees to prioritize environmental issues
Arion Bank does its utmost to improve the health of its employees and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles through its transport policy. The objective of this policy is to encourage employees to use environmentally friendly and efficient means of transport more. Environmentally friendly transport refers to all modes of transport used to travel to and from work other than private cars, e.g. walking, cycling, getting a lift from others or using public transport. In order to make the policy effective Arion Bank places emphasis on the following:
- Arion Bank encourages its employees to use public transport to and from work
- Arion Bank enters into transport agreements with employees who use environmentally friendly means of transport
- The transport allowance is paid out every month if an environmentally friendly means of transport is used at least four times a week
- Arion Bank strives to provide first-class facilities for those who want to use environmentally friendly means of transport
- Arion Bank pays for taxis in cases of emergency during working hours if the employee normally uses environmentally friendly means of transport
- When ordering taxis or hire cars, employees should order environmentally friendly cars
- Arion Bank encourages its employees to have more meetings by phone or video conference if possible
While no survey of employees’ travelling habits has been done, the number of applications for a transport allowance does provide some clues. Transport allowances have been granted since 2012.
We have made an agreement with taxi companies to send environmentally friendly taxis whenever they are available. We are seeking to obtain more detailed information on the pollution resulting from this service.
Arion Bank tries to obtain a complete overview of the carbon footprint relating to business trips in Iceland and abroad, including flights. Since 2016 we have made an effort to reduce the number of flights and to use the Bank’s teleconferencing equipment. This initiative yielded excellent results and the number of kilometres flown during trips abroad decreased by 46% in 2016, compared with 2015. The number of flights increased again in 2017. We aim to further reduce the number of flights and get an even clearer picture of the flights taken by employees in 2017.
Arion Bank arranges regular courses and other types of instruction for employees on environmental issues.
Arion Bank arranges regular courses and other types of instruction for employees on environmental issues and encourages employees to take part in different initiatives. These include the courses on sorting waste and eco-driving, and encouraging employees to participate in the campaign Plastic free September.
2.6 Choose environmentally friendly products/services wherever possible
The companies ISS Ísland and Hreint ræsting provide cleaning services to Arion Bank throughout Iceland. Both companies have clear policies on environmental and quality issues and have been granted the Swan Ecolabel for their activities.
A new assessment of suppliers has been designed. This assessment looks at the suppliers’ ability to demonstrate their own environmental credentials and their actions to minimize their environmental impact.
2.7 Increase the number of paperless transactionsArion Bank has set itself the goal of being the leading digital bank in Iceland. We aim to expand the range of digital products and services available to our customers. The Bank’s focus on digital services is ecofriendly as we are significantly reducing the use of paper by introducing these services and the customers can also reduce their trips to branches. Further information on digital services at Arion Bank can be found on Arion Bank’s website and the 2017 annual report. Arion Bank also encourages customers to cancel printed bank statements where possible.
2.8 Reduce waste
Many of the sustainability and environmental projects in which Arion Bank is involved help to reduce waste of various kinds, e.g. by producing less waste or using less energy. The Bank has also introduced an ambitious campaign to reduce food waste at the headquarters and the Borgartún branch.
The Bank has introduced an ambitious campaign to reduce food waste.
A survey into the campaign showed that 59% of employees at the headquarters put less on their plates after the campaign began, 9% said they ate more so that they finished what was on their plates and a third said that it had no impact on their behaviour.
Measures to reduce food waste are supported by the excellent work undertaken in the kitchen at the headquarters in recent years. Food at the canteen is purchased so that excess inventory is minimized and resources are used to the fullest extent by using scraps. Ingredients which are not used immediately are labelled, frozen and used at a later date.
The average amount of food wasted at Arion Bank’s headquarters decreased from 279 kg a month in 2016 to 234 kg a month in 2017. We are pleased with this result but must continue to work at it because food waste fluctuates between months, as the diagram below clearly shows. In 2017 preparations began on starting up similar projects at branches which have a canteen. This work will continue in 2018.
3 Mitigation measuresArion Bank and its predecessors have supported the Icelandic Forestry Association for many years, both in planting forests and supporting individual projects aimed at improving public access to forestry plantations, increasing education and making the environment more attractive. Every year the Icelandic Forestry Association, in partnership with Arion Bank, nominates a “Tree of the Year.” The purpose of this is raise public awareness of the excellent work being done across the country in forestry. In 2017 the Bank supported an initiative organized by the Icelandic Forestry Association, whose role is to further increase public knowledge of forests, provide information and improve access to forests for recreational purposes. The Bank will also provide funding to a forestry project at Úlfljótsvatn in southern Iceland managed by the Icelandic Forestry Association. The results of this project is be reported in the 2017 environmental accounting table.
4 Plan of action
4.1 Introduction of digital environmental software
Continue to ensure the measurability of the environmental impact of all business units in the value chain by digitally collecting data and regular reporting to the management. Comprehensive environmental software has been linked to all the main data sources. Work will continue on linking the digital data sources from airlines, taxi companies and printing solutions. Data from car rental agencies, domestic airlines and data destruction will be streamed into the environmental database during the year.
4.2 Further fuel savings
We will continue to use electric cars and make sure we do not increase the number of other kinds of vehicles. We will also examine different options for vehicle charging stations for employees and customers. We will continue to encourage employees to use public transport or other environmentally friendly means of transport, by paying transport allowances. This contributes to reducing emissions under Scope 1 and Scope 3.
4.3 Reduce electricity consumption at work
We will continue to reduce the amount of electricity used at the Bank. In 2016 we began a review of the lighting at the headquarters and branches. Conventional light bulbs will be swapped for LED bulbs at the headquarters over the next few years. Around 1,000 conventional bulbs have already been swapped for LED bulbs. This project is expected to save a significant amount of energy.
4.4 Flights on business trips by employees
Information on business trips in Iceland and overseas is being streamed into the environmental database. The information is added to Scope 3 in the Bank's environmental accounting. Good progress was made in reducing international flights in 2016. Flights increased again in 2017 and we will continue to try to cut back on the number of flights.
4.5 Reduce use of disposable plastic
The Bank’s stationery and supplies will continue to be reviewed and we aim to continue the reduction in use of disposable plastic.
4.6 Publication of environmental information
Arion Bank’s carbon footprint will be published in the company’s environmental accounting table. Information on Arion Bank’s climate change targets will also be made publicly available in accordance with the Declaration on Climate Change. Information on paper consumption will also be regularly shared with employees.
4.7 Improved waste sorting
We will continue to work towards improving waste sorting at our places of work, with a special focus on our branches. The following projects will be worked on:
- Complete the introduction of waste sorting at our branches during the year.
- Examine how the amount of waste can be measured at our branches where waste collection is shared with other companies.
- Efforts will be made to enter information on data destruction into a centralized system and to reduce the amount of paper sent for destruction from the headquarters of the Bank.
- A review will be performed of mail sent by the Bank to see if the amount can be reduced.
4.8 New assessment of suppliers
A new assessment of suppliers was carried out in 2017. We will build on this in 2018 by monitoring the results and impact and then assess whether a further review is required. The new assessment is specially designed to evaluate the behaviour of suppliers and the impact of buying on society, the environment and other factors.
5 ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTING TABLE
In 2017 a concerted effort was made to strengthen and increase the number of data pipelines in the environmental management system Klappir Core and thereby reduce the amount of information entered manually into the environmental accounts. This is done to ensure the traceability of information from the source of the data stream to the front-end at Klappir Core. The years 2015 and 2016 were subsequently recalculated and entered in the below environmental accounts. Consequently, there are some discrepancies if these accounts are compared with previous environmental reports. A provision should also be added concerning electricity consumption because in some cases the reading of meters may be incomplete, which may explain the significant decrease in electricity consumption between 2016 and 2017. This decrease is expected to be reversed to some extent once the reading of meters has been completed.
In 2016 we began to use software which collects measurements from each operating unit and feeds them into a central environmental database. In the database the data are processed, the greenhouse gas emissions calculated and the company’s carbon footprint is calculated.
The information is published in the software's user interface which is designed to provide a clear overview of environmental issues and different areas of the business and this help the management achieve the desired results. The implementation of this scheme is going according to plan. Data from the Icelandic oil companies are being entered into the environmental database as is information on the amount and type of waste collected from Arion Bank’s headquarters.
Data on electricity consumption are being received from all the branches and places of work and are being entered into the database. We will continue to work on linking data on data destruction, use of taxis and mailing services to the database and continue trying to obtain information from international airlines.
When calculating Arion Bank’s environmental bottom line, we use The Greenhouse Gas Protocol which is a standardized methodology which has been implemented at a number of companies with good results. Arion Bank has underlined the importance of implementing its climate project within the framework of Icelandic and international legislation and regulations on the environment.
The diagram below describes the methodology, according to which greenhouse gas emissions will be divided into three categories, Scopes 1, 2 and 3. Broadly speaking emissions originate from the transportation of supplies to the company, from the company’s operations and from the transportation of goods and services from the company. Scopes 1, 2 and 3 are divided into direct and indirect greenhouse gases.
Scope 1 contains emissions which are considered to be a direct consequence of a company’s operations. In the case of Arion Bank this refers to running our own business premises and vehicles.
Scope 2 contains emissions relating to electricity consumption and heating. Emissions of this type are considered to be an indirect consequence of operations.
Scope 3 contains indirect emissions from services provided to the Bank. In the case of Arion Bank this refers to various kinds of waste disposal at the Bank and business trips in Iceland and abroad. Efforts are being made to better manage other factors included under scope 3, such as vehicle journeys by employees to and from work.
The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Greenhouse gases have different levels of significance and therefore they are converted into a carbon dioxide equivalent (CDE) to provide a comprehensive picture of emissions.