Our own environmental footprint

KBC has defined environmental responsibility as one of its focus areas because we recognise more than ever that our operations and businesses have an impact on the environment. To limit our direct and indirect impact on global warming, we have started a group-wide programme to reduce our own environmental footprint.

Read our environmental policy

In the run-up to the ‘Paris UN Conference on climate change’ (COP21) in December 2015, KBC Group emphasised this engagement by signing the ‘Message from Belgian stakeholders in support of the COP21’.

In 2019, we signed the Collective Commitment to Climate Action, an initiative of the United Nations Environmental Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and a clear expression of the more general UNEP FI Principles on Responsible Banking, to which KBC committed itself in 2018. By signing the Collective Commitment to Climate Action, KBC bolsters its determination – in cooperation with its clients – to stimulate the greening of the economy as much as possible and thus to limit global warming to well below 2°C, striving for 1.5°C, in line with the Paris climate agreement. We already have targets in place to reduce our direct environmental footprint to significantly below the 2°C scenario, but KBC is also committed to addressing its indirect impact on the climate. One year after signing the CCCA, we have made substantial progress and have taken all sorts of initiatives to make our business operations fundamentally more sustainable and climate-resilient. Through our commitment to the CCCA, we have agreed to align our portfolios and business strategy with the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2°C while striving for a target of 1.5°C. For more information, please refer to the ‘Collective Commitment to Climate Action – Year One in Review’ report published by the UNEP FI in December 2020.

More information can be found in the KBC Sustainability Report.

Our targets

  • In 2020 we have raised our target to reduce our own greenhouse gas
    emissions – including commuter travel — to 80% by 2030 (compared to base year 2015) rather than 65% by 2030, and we have set the goal to achieve climate neutrality as early as 2021 by offsetting the balance.  We are also committed to reduce our overall emissions in accordance to the Paris Agreement, in line with our engagement to the CCCA. As such our direct footprint targets are in line with the 2°C scenario, striving for 1.5°C.
  • We are further committed to achieving a 100% share of renewable electricity by 2030.
  • The ambition to obtain ISO 14001 certification in each core country. This external certification confirms the quality of our environmental management system.

Here you can find an overview of our main key environmental non-financial targets.

Our achievements

Below you find an overview of our achievements. For more detailed information, please see the KBC Group Sustainability Report.

Our carbon footprint

The decreasing trend in the environmental footprint is reflected in KBC Group’s carbon footprint, which has decreased by 56% absolute and 53% per FTE from 126 542 tonnes CO2e (3.3 tonnes CO2e per FTE) in 2015 to 55 850 tonnes CO2e (1.54 tonnes CO2e per FTE) in 2020. In 2020, KBC cut GHG emissions by 23% compared to the previous year, thanks mainly to lower electricity consumption and a higher proportion of green electricity, as well as substantially reduced emissions from transport, with both commuter and business travel going down considerably. This does not come as a surprise in a year that was earmarked by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in several lockdowns, a business travel ban and a switch to teleworking in all of our core countries. At the peak of the first coronavirus wave, almost three quarters of our employees from across the group worked from home.

KBC Group GHG emissions (in tonnes CO2e) 2020 2019 2018
Coverage (in % of FTE) 100% 100% 100%
Scope 1 25 200 34 740 37 629
Scope 2 11 748 17 006 22 955
Scope 3 18 903 21 024 25 004
Total - absolute 55 850 72 769 85 588
Total - per FTE 1.54 1.97 2.27

For the fifth year on a row, for 2020 the underlying data and calculations of the GHG emissions of KBC Group have been verified by an external party in accordance with ISO14064-3. Vinçotte has verified the greenhouse gas assertion of KBC Group of 55 850.25 ton of CO2e to a level of reasonable assurance and concluded that the reported greenhouse gas emissions of KBC Group for 2020 are reliable and fairly stated.

ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 certification

The implementation of an ISO 14001 environmental management system in all our entities will lead to a continuous improvement of the environmental impact of KBC Group and contribute to the achievement of the GHG emission reduction target. Some entities decided to also introduce an ISO 50001 energy management system, that helps to efficiently reduce the use of energy.

Country Status ISO 14001 certificate Status ISO 50001 certificate
Czech Republic

Prior to the ISO 14001 certification and based on previous voluntary audits, KBC in Belgium has already received the Ecodynamic Business Label for its Havenlaan premises in Brussels and the West Flanders Environment Charter for its offices in that province.

In Belgium, for its building at Havenlaan 2 in Brussels, KBC was able to register its support services for the EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) on 31 January 2013, making us the first Belgian financial institution to be admitted to this European programme. Read the statement of participation (in Dutch) and the public environmental statement (in Dutch).

Last update: 30-10-2020