Íslandsbanki has achieved carbon neutrality in its operations for the third year in a row. In recent years, Íslandsbanki’s staff and management have focused on being a good example, in line with the Bank’s goal of being a force for good in the community. To this end, the Bank has adopted ambitious targets for measuring emissions, reducing its carbon footprint, and taking other mitigating action. With these targets, the Bank contributes to bringing about the changes in attitude that are essential in supporting climate action.
Of course, banking activity – the operation of offices and branches – is not energy-intensive in and of itself. However, Íslandsbanki is a large workplace with activities all over Iceland, and there are various factors that must be considered if the Bank is to achieve its goal of full carbon neutrality.
Since 2017, the carbon footprint from Íslandsbanki’s operations has been estimated and published in accordance with Greenhouse Gas Protocol methodology. From that time, the Bank has consciously taken a range of actions so as to reduce the carbon footprint from its operations permanently. For example, the Bank’s motor vehicle fleet has been renewed and the share of electric cars increased, reducing petrol purchases by over 30%. Furthermore, employees use environment-friendly methods of transportation to a greater degree, and they have the option of working from home for part of the week, thereby reducing emissions from travel to and from work. The Bank’s overseas travel has been reduced as well, much of it permanently. The share of recycling has increased from 59% to 70%, discards of rubbish are down by nearly 40%, and paper use has been cut by 30%. The Bank’s cafeteria and catering services have received the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, and other aspects of purchasing, electricity use, and so forth contribute to a permanent reduction in the Bank’s carbon footprint.
Íslandsbanki emphasises various projects aimed at achieving full carbon neutrality in its operations. Since 2019, the Bank has ensured that its activities are neutralised through mitigating measures that offset the part of the carbon footprint that cannot be reduced. Íslandsbanki neutralised its activities in full by purchasing 750 certified emission reduction units through the United Nations Carbon Offset Platform.
In addition, the Bank supported two important domestic projects during the year: Carbfix and the Wetland Fund. Carbfix has drawn worldwide attention for its natural methods for capturing carbon dioxide and converting it to rock. The objective of the Wetland Fund is to reclaim wetlands and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Iceland, as well as supporting the recovery of the biosphere, bird life, and aquatic resources in fishing rivers. Because neither of these projects has received international certification, contributions to them are not considered part of the formal carbon neutralisation of the Bank’s operations in 2021.
Íslandsbanki aims to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2040; i.e., to ensure that its operations (already carbon-neutral) and the financed emissions in its asset and loan portfolio are carbon-neutral. Financed emissions measurements are now available, as we reported recently, making both the targets and the associated projects clearer.
Further information can be found in Íslandsbanki’s Annual and Sustainability Report.