How we’re working towards net zero carbon emissions

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We are in a climate crisis. Everyone has a responsibility to act, and take decisions that will support a sustainable, low carbon future. Scientists say we need to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and get to net zero by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts on the environment. 

This week the UK hosts COP26, where world leaders will come together to try and agree new, ambitious targets and commitments that will help the world make faster progress towards net zero emissions. But alongside governments, businesses have a vital role to play by understanding their own impact on the environment, and setting an ambitious net zero emissions goal. 

As a branchless digital bank, we have a relatively low carbon footprint. But we still contribute to climate change.

And we know that as we grow as a business, our environmental impact will grow too. 

Our mission is to make money work for everyone, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that at the very least we do no damage to the environment, by reaching net zero emissions as a business. We also know that fighting the climate crisis really matters to our customers and our team, and we want to hold ourselves to a standard that we can all be proud of.

With that in mind, we’ve made the following environmental commitments: 

  1. Our goal is to reach net zero emissions as a business by the year 2030, and if we can get there sooner, we will. Net zero emissions means measuring the footprint of our entire value chain, reducing emissions as much as possible, and removing (not offsetting) the rest. Net zero companies aim to achieve for their own business what the world must accomplish to beat the climate crisis.

  2. We measure and report on our carbon footprint in full, every year, and share the results publicly.

  3. We have strong governance for our environmental work, with regular reporting to our executives and our board, both of which have representatives responsible for our climate policy.

We measured our carbon footprint for 2020 as fully as we can

To help us measure our carbon footprint in line with industry-leading protocols, we have partnered with our friends at Watershed, a software company that powers environmental programmes for leading businesses., Watershed has helped us measure our carbon footprint in a way that’s consistent with the Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) Protocol promulgated by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 

The words ‘in full’ in our third commitment really matter to us. The best thing about Watershed’s software is that we can push the boundaries of what we measure, including emissions from things like marketing and payments processing. We think all banks should measure emissions as openly and extensively as possible, including all the emissions in their supply chain. 

It’s easy to just stick with what’s simple to measure, but it means your carbon footprint will be artificially low, and your net zero goal is not truly representative of your impact on the planet. We know the way we measure right now is far from perfect, and we’ll keep adapting our own methods to reflect the latest science.

Our carbon footprint in 2020 was 10,473 tCO2e. 

tCO2e stands for tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and is a measure of all the harmful emissions we produce. These aren’t limited to carbon (hence the addition of the term ‘equivalent’) and include other harmful gases such as nitrous oxide and methane. By comparison, our carbon footprint in 2019 was 12,970 tonnes of tCO2e. 

You can find a more detailed breakdown here. We’ll measure and publish our 2021 footprint in our annual report next year, as well as on our website.

We’re also a proud member of the Tech Zero Taskforce.

The Tech Zero Taskforce is an official UN race to zero partner organisation. It has brought together tech companies through shared commitments for environmental goals, including net zero, with the aim of getting 1,000 UK companies to agree to them before the UN’s 26th Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) climate conference in Glasgow in November 2021. The Taskforce is always looking for new members, so please do spread the word!

We’re proud of the commitments we’ve made, but we are only at the very beginning of our journey to becoming a net zero company. Now that we have a clear view of our carbon footprint, we’re focusing on emissions reductions measures and purchasing cabron removals, and we’ll keep you posted on our progress.