Environment & Climate Change
We’re on a mission to build a greener society by ensuring high environmental standards become integrated into all business operations. We’ll achieve this through four ambitions:
- Further embedding operational environmental standards
- Developing our carbon emission reduction commitment
- Addressing the financial risks of climate change
- Growing communications and engagement
Our environmental footprint includes energy, water and waste from our buildings. It also includes the overall impacts we have on the communities we serve through areas such as business travel, colleague commuting and biodiversity.
We have progressively reduced our environmental impacts by investing in efficient resource use, improving waste management and engaging colleagues in supporting our efforts in becoming more sustainable.
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Independent assurance of our carbon footprint (2012-2020) and data related to our use of electricity, gas, business travel, water use and waste generation has demonstrated our significant progress – since 2012 we have reduced our carbon footprint by 47% and since 2016 we have been certified as CarbonNeutral®.
In 2020, the Society’s emissions increased by 4% compared to 2019 due to a 57% increase in natural gas consumption. Natural gas consumption has increased due to the Society adhering to government guidance on the regulation of buildings during Covid-19.You can view our latest carbon footprint here.
At YBS we’re committed to producing an annual CAPEX project plan to make energy efficiency, environmental and other fabric improvement to our sites.
While COVID-19 has presented many challenges to our capital works and facilities teams, we have still continued to improve the environmental and energy performance across our sites.
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Projects include the modernisation of our air conditioning and cooling systems of our server rooms. This has saved large amounts of energy due as well as reducing the refrigerant gas emissions commonly associated with industrial air conditioning systems.
Our IT department have further made energy savings throughout 2020 via the Nightwatchman software application. Nightwatchman powers off PCs on an evening and turn them back on for the morning, reducing energy and emissions from left on computers. It is predominately deployed within our branch network but there has also been a rollout at our head office sites. In 2020 the Nightwatchman initiative has saved a total of 1,180,451 Kwh in electricity.
We’re also committed to having 100% renewable electricity supply and in 2020, our total energy consumption came from renewable sources. Our Yorkshire Drive Head Office further hosts a solar farm which in 2020 generated 155,470 KwH in energy.
Managing our waste responsibly is an important part of reducing our impact on the environment.
In 2020 only 1% of our 367 tonnes of business generated waste was sent to landfill meaning 99% was either recycled or recovered, up from 98% in 2019. We have also introduced food waste collections around our offices as well as our restaurants. Our food waste is then biologically broken down to generate biogas (methane and carbon dioxide). Biogas is then rapped and pumped directly to the National Grid ensuring no emissions reach our atmosphere. Any remaining contents are transformed into fertiliser for use in the UK’s agricultural industry.
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YBS is currently on a journey of going paperless which means the replacement of paper communications through digital means where it is possible to do so. In 2020, the opening year of our scheme, we removed 4 million sheets of paper representing 32% paper usage reduction. So far we have saved 13 tCO2e from being emitted into our atmosphere.
Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission
In 2021, YBS joined the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission as part of its commitment to minimising its environmental footprint, raising awareness of environmental issues and building a greener society.
The largest of its kind in the UK, the recently launched Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission brings together a team of climate leaders from across the public, private and third sectors. The Commission aims to help the region reduce its carbon emissions as quickly as possible and ensure that people in Yorkshire are prepared to cope with the growing impacts of climate change.