National Australia Bank
NAB is proud to have been the first Australian carbon neutral certified bank, helping to drive a clean energy future.
― David Gall, Group Executive - Corporate & Institutional Banking
NAB is a financial services organisation that provides a comprehensive and integrated range of banking and financial products and services, including wealth management with operations in Australia, New Zealand, parts of Asia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In 2010, we were the first Australian-owned bank to become carbon neutral. 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of our commitment to carbon neutrality and the tenth consecutive year that we have achieved Climate Active carbon neutral certification through the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). Ten years later, we continue to focus on energy efficiency, switching to less emissions intensive fuels and purchasing renewable energy and carbon offsets.
Business case for obtaining Climate Active certification
The drive to become carbon neutral came from NAB’s leadership team as well as its employees, customers, suppliers and the community. Australian Government certification via Climate Active gives NAB an independent and credible basis from which to define its carbon neutrality.
Achieving carbon neutrality
NAB’s 2019 Australian GHG emissions (net of renewables) were 155,060 tCO2 e. This has been reduced from 255,154 tCO2-e in 2010 and marks a 31% reduction in emissions from our first year of certification.
NAB’s emissions reduction activities have varied from significant infrastructure installations to changes in equipment and fittings. They have included the installation of a tri-generation system at its main data centre, solar panels on over 70 branches, and LED light installations. NAB also installed 2,200+ solar panels on its main data centre to reduce grid electricity use and to generate LGCs. NAB sets minimum Green Star and NABERS Energy requirements for new commercial buildings and major refurbishments. Despite an increase in demand on NAB’s data centres as customers move to connect digitally in a 24/7 environment, since the emission reduction program commenced in 2007, we have seen a 44% reduction in NAB’s Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions.
NAB’s first carbon offset provider was a ceramic tile maker in South America that changed its fuel source from Amazon rainforest timber to agricultural green waste. The GHG reductions came from replacing a non-renewable with a renewable fuel source.
Since the first offsets project, NAB has purchased offsets from more than 40 projects in 13 countries, and more recently this has included the strategic purchase of domestic offsets, from Indigenous savanna burning. NAB has a portfolio approach and incorporates projects with co-benefits – from health, education, additional environmental activities – in its portfolio with our current focus on carbon offsets from renewable energy projects.
Benefits and outcomes of Climate Active certification
NAB’s carbon neutral program has delivered significant cost benefits with energy efficiency initiatives implemented in 2019 estimated to deliver ongoing annual cost savings of around $400 000.
Being carbon neutral is important to NAB teams developing environmental products. In addition to acting on the efficiency of our own operations, being carbon neutral means that we can have informed conversations with clients and understand the complexity in the process. NAB can meaningfully advocate to clients. Carbon neutrality has led to NAB being invited to partner with research agencies and develop thought leadership positions.
NAB’s carbon neutrality has fostered a sense of pride amongst our colleagues and is a point of attraction for retaining talent, and an area of interest to new NAB graduates.
Challenges and learnings
NAB believes that transparency, external verification and certification are critical to the credibility of our carbon neutral claims. This is certainly one of the more challenging components for achieving Climate Active certification, however, this ensures that organisations are held to the highest possible standards.
NAB has a fantastic in-house team who drive its environmental program, including its public reporting. A key development over the last ten years was moving from spreadsheets to a cloud-based software platform for our environmental data capture and reporting needs. NAB also engages assurance providers to audit its carbon neutral position. This provides an extra level of certainty that NAB is reducing its environmental impact in a strategic manner.