Protecting Our Environment - Corporate Sustainability | Ulster Bank

Making a difference for our environment

Lending to the low-carbon economy


Climate change is a significant global issue, and we recognise the importance of the role we have to play in mitigating harmful emissions and helping to provide low cost renewable energy. We have significantly reduced our lending to carbon intensive parts of the economy and in 2017, the RBS Group did not directly finance any new coal mining or coal power projects.

At Ulster Bank, we continue to fund renewable energy projects across the island of Ireland. By funding these low carbon projects, we are helping customers to mitigate their own carbon emissions and reduce energy costs. On a macro level, these investments are also supporting the delivery of Ireland’s 2020 renewable energy targets.

Reducing our direct operational footprint 


We fully support the Paris Climate Agreement and our emissions reduction targets are grounded in the climate science that underpins this agreement. RBS has set a 2020 group target of reducing direct carbon emissions by 45% from a 2014 baseline and at the end of 2017, we have already recorded a 39% reduction. The below table provides more detail.

RBS has also set 2020 targets to reduce water use by 10% and paper use by 60%, whilst continuing to target 0% waste to landfill. To achieve these goals we continue to engage both colleagues and suppliers.


We have reported on all emission sources under the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Reports) Regulations 2013. To our knowledge there are no material omissions. Independent Limited assurance has been provided by Ernst & Young LLP over total reported CO2e emissions (tonnes) (Scope 1(1),2(2) and 3(4) location based emissions). Our reporting year runs from October 2016 to September 2017.

These emissions have been calculated using the methodology advised in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol revised edition (2004). The boundary of reporting is set as all entities and facilities either owned or under operational control. Emissions factors used are from UK Government’s GHG Conversion factors (DEFRA), IEA, or relevant local authorities.

(1) Scope 1: Emissions from fluorinated gas loss and fuel combustion in RBS premises/vehicles.

(2) Scope 2: Emissions from electricity, district heating and district cooling used in RBS premises.

(3) market-based emissions have been calculated using the GHG Protocol guidelines.

(4) Scope 3: Emissions associated with business travel (air, rail and road) by RBS employees.

Supplier engagement and sustainable sourcing

The performance of our suppliers is critical to our business and we expect them to operate in an ethical and environmentally sound way. As a minimum requirement our suppliers should adhere rigorously to all relevant human rights, labour, health & safety and environmental laws, as well as to our RBS group Ethical Code for Suppliers and Group Environmental Policy.

Ethical and environmental requirements are built into our supplier tender process to ensure suppliers meet sustainability requirements. We work with many of our key suppliers to continually improve their sustainability performance and take an active role in ensuring their supply chain adheres to the correct requirements.

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