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.
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’.
- KBC Group has committed to reducing its own GHG emissions by at least 20% by 2020 (relative to 2015). This target has been translated by each core country into local short-term action plans.
- Following KBC Belgium and ČSOB Bank Slovakia, which already have a certified ISO 14001 environmental management system since resp. 2009 and 2012, K&H Hungary and DZI and Cibank Bulgaria were ISO 14001 certified in 2016. ČSOB Czech Republic and KBC Ireland will introduce ISO 14001 and be certified no later than in the course of 2017.
- In addition, the ISO 50001 energy management system, which helps to use energy more efficiently, has been or is being introduced and certified in Belgium (12/2015), Slovakia (11/2012, recertified 11/2015), the Czech Republic (06/2016) and Hungary (12/2016).
Reduction in our environmental footprint
At KBC Belgium, we have a tradition of collecting and evaluating data on our environmental impact. Between 2007 and 2015, KBC Belgium achieved a reduction in its absolute GHG emissions of 51% and in its GHG intensity (per FTE) of 39%. This was the result of:
- a reduction in its electricity consumption of 24% and opting for 100% green electricity;
- a reduction in the use of fossil fuels of 15% and a reduction in the use of heating oil of 65% in favour of natural gas;
- a reduction in commuter and business travel of 23%;
- a reduction in its paper consumption of 40%; and
- a reduction in its waste production of 38%.
The results of our group-wide environmental efforts in 2015
Our group-wide carbon footprint in 2015 amounted to 94.590 tonnes of CO2. 55% of the emissions stemmed from our energy consumption, 40% from commuter and business travel.
The reduction in energy consumption is an important issue in our facility management. Investments in more-energy-efficient buildings, relighting projects, production of own renewable energy, creating awareness among employees, and so on lead to a constant improvement in our energy-related footprint.
HR policies and IT infrastructure have been adapted to lower the carbon impact of commuter and business travel. The number of trips has been reduced by promoting teleworking, homeworking, conference calls and Skype meetings. Moreover, KBC supports more-sustainable mobility by promoting the use of public transport and the use of bikes for short distances, by introducing lease bikes (2016-2017), by encouraging carpooling, by adapting its car policy, etc.
The reduction in paper consumption is an important focus as it is a relevant material in a service company and has an ecological impact during production and waste treatment. Different forms of action are being taken, with the digitisation of internal and external processes having the most significant impact.
ISO 14001 certification
KBC has been ISO 14001 certified in Belgium since 21 December 2009, in ČSOB in Slovakia since 6 December 2012, in DZI and Cibank on 19 December 2016, and in K&H in Hungary on 5 December 2016. The certificates apply to all of KBC’s support services at headquarters and offices. The key focuses are monitoring regulatory compliance, constantly improving environmental performance and increasing the involvement of all employees. KBC also constantly evaluates its environmental policy. In Belgium, the certificate was extended for another three-year period at the end of October 2015. ČSOB Bank Slovakia also extended its certification for three years at the beginning of December 2015. Prior to the ISO 14001 certification and based on previous voluntary audits, we already received the Ecodynamic Business Label for our Havenlaan premises in Brussels and the West Flanders Environment Charter for our offices in that province.
By implementing the ISO 14001 environmental management system in all our entities by 2017, we will be able to map and evaluate the environmental performance of the entire KBC group against the group-wide target for greenhouse gas emissions.
We were the first Belgian financial institution to be awarded an EMAS certificate
In Belgium, 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.