Looking after our planet
Fundamentally we believe that embracing sustainable practices leads to a better corporate culture, more reliable products and greater long-term sustainability for the Group. We have long been conscious of our impact on the planet and we have already met both of our 2020 targets which we set in 2017:
We’ve already hit the 30% reduction in energy consumption by the end of 2020 against a 2013 baseline and we’re currently at 67%, exceeding the 57% reduction in carbon emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by the end of 2020 against a 2013 baseline.
But we now want to go further to protect our business from the impact of climate change and give back more to the planet than we take out.
To help the business achieve this we are committing to set Science Based Targets (“SBT”) which are consistent with holding the global temperature rise to at least 2°C above pre-industrial levels. And we intend to do this across all categories of our emissions including our supply chain.
In the meantime, from this year we will be 100% carbon neutral business by offsetting our emissions by investing in high impact projects for the next 3 years whilst working towards reducing our emissions over time.
And finally, we aim to be TCFD compliant by the end of this year.
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We are already making active choices within the business that are helping us to reduce our carbon footprint. We procure 100% of our electricity on a renewable tariff with Engie, through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates and 100% of office waste is diverted away from landfill and we are continually improving on our total business recycling rate, currently delivering an average of 98.2% onsite recycling.
Our Environmental Champions have received accredited sustainability training and are actively promoting awareness campaigns locally. We are proud to have partnered with SimplyCups where we recycled around 130,000 cups in 2019 at our Head Office. We have also installed new energy efficient boilers, LED lights, chillers and air conditioning units across a range of sites. And through our partnership with Vegware, which provides fully compostable plant based food containers, cutlery and cups, we have decreased waste from our onsite catering.
But we are also thinking about the future and how we can support our customers to make the move to greener travel. Our Partnerships with Streetwise and Move_UK have helped us to understand how autonomous vehicles and car sharing schemes could reduce the number of cars on the road. We’re enhancing our understanding of electric vehicles and their adoptions, thinking about rescue products, how we price the risk and what the repair process looks like. We’ve also invested in our transformation programme that will provide customers with a fully digital experience which will reduce the need to post and print policy documents.
Most people will know that we insure cars but we also own 21 garages in the UK. Every year they fix tens of thousands of cars for customer so we need to make sure we do this while keeping an eye on our carbon footprint. That’s why we’re recycling more parts than ever before, installed spray paint booths which use less energy and we’re piloting new ways to ensure efficient repairs.
And finally we are also making a difference by actively choosing what we invest in. Last year we made sure that our holdings in investment grade corporate bonds were tilted more towards companies with better ESG credentials. We delivered this by changing most of our portfolios to Bloomberg/MSCI ESG weighted benchmark indices and adding new investment objectives to all relevant guidelines, namely to achieve a minimum MSCI ESG rating of A for the portfolio.
These are all very simple steps, but ones that are making a big difference. With the new commitments we’ve announced alongside our Half Year results, we intend to go further and play our part in helping the UK become a sustainable, low carbon economy