An interview with Close Brothers’ Head of Health & Safety & Environment, Sally Griffin
What has Close Brothers’ environmental reporting journey looked like to date?
Here at Close Brothers we care about the environment we operate in and are aware of our responsibility to protect natural resources and to behave sustainably. We believe, that as a financial services company, our environmental impact is limited and mostly driven by staff travel, our supply chain and our office network.
We have been measuring and reporting our environmental impact for several years but I would say we are still only at the start of our environmental reporting journey. To support this journey, we have recently grown our Climate Change team, have appointed regional environmental data managers and have worked hard to improve the level and quality of environmental data. We recently carried out a thorough environmental assessment with the intention of possibly adopting an environmental management system in the near future.
While relatively small, we continue to monitor ways to reduce our impact by lowering our energy consumption, reducing emissions and waste and increasing recycling. Each of our businesses manages its resources and recycling locally and most of our Banking division sites are now supplied with electricity from renewable sources.
What data do you collect and what do you measure?
In line with the GHG Protocol framework, we calculate the GHG emissions associated with our Scope 1 and 2 operations. Scope 1 includes fuel emissions from buildings and company vehicles, and Scope 2 includes our emissions from electricity.
Since 2012, we have partnered with Greenstone for support on the data collection and reporting side of things. Greenstone provides us with a data bureau and advisory service to ensure we are collecting the right data, and are able to get the information we need from that data. They also help and advise us on reporting to CDP, and schemes like the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).
With the help from Greenstone team and its environmental reporting software, we collect, manage and report data from 62 locations across the UK and Ireland. This partnership helps us verify the accuracy of our data and enables us to monitor our performance over time.
What has been your experience as a CDP reporter so far?
We made the decision to report to CDP because we were frequently asked by stakeholders whether or not we reported our emissions publically as part of an industry standard. We received some great feedback and support from stakeholders following our 2016 submission and are now in the process of reporting for 2017.
We found reporting to CDP relatively straight forward, with a lot of guidance available as and when we needed it. Greenstone helped us through the entire CDP reporting process and is doing the same for us this year. Greenstone’s team of consultants, using their knowledge of the CDP system, have helped us look at ways in which we can improve our response for this year and it’s definitely been a collaborative effort pulling together our submission.
What advice do you have for a company thinking of reporting to CDP for the first time?
I would recommend any company responding to CDP for the first time, to not worry about the initial score. Treat the first year as your “CDP Baseline”, a point from which to improve on. Use it as an exercise to see where you are with your environmental reporting, review what targets and initiatives you have in place, assess how your organisation views climate change risks and opportunities, and of course, take stock of what environmental data you are recording.
What would you say has been your biggest challenge so far in environmental reporting?
I would say that our two biggest challenges so far have been lack of resource, and access to the right data. I know I’m not alone here! However, initiatives such as the growth of our Climate Change team, plus our partnership with Greenstone, are helping us overcome these.
Our partnership with Greenstone has helped us plan our environmental reporting strategy and requirements for data collection and enabled us to collect and analyse data in a meaningful way. We feel now we are at a stage that we can use this data to start making year-on-year improvements and inform business decisions.
Where do you see your environmental reporting in 5 years?
We will continue to monitor and report our GHG emissions working to improve our energy efficiency across our business. Looking at the bigger picture though, we are in the process of planning a number of different environmental initiatives, setting targets and integrating these targets into our future environmental strategy. So, watch this space.