Commerzbank boosts green efforts

21 December 2009
21 December 2009 | Rebecca Ellinor

German company Commerzbank wants to become “climate neutral” and sees procurement as a major means to achieve it. 

In its Corporate Responsibility Report 2009, released this month, the bank says it aims to reduce group-wide emissions by 30 per cent by 2011 and work towards the bank becoming climate neutral by offsetting all its carbon-producing activities. It attaches “considerable importance” to securing sustainable procurement as a means of achieving this.

Of a number of actions outlined in the study it says incentive schemes will be put in place to encourage a shift from air travel to rail, as well as leasing vehicles that emit less CO2 and securing agreements with hotel chains that operate in a sustainable manner. 

Commerzbank’s energy supply contracts have already been concluded for 2010 and ensure the proportion of green energy will be 90 per cent and rising. A national “energy controlling system” will be used to record and evaluate problem areas for energy efficiency so these can be targeted for improvement. It aims to ensure electricity supply to the whole company is entirely converted to green energy by 2012. 

For 2010-11 the firm intends to significantly increase the proportion of recycled paper and where it uses new paper the fibres will have only come from Forest Stewardship Council-certified sources. It also plans to expand the range of sustainable products available through its central portal, Piazza. Established in October 2007, the web-based ordering system has a basket of goods that meet its sustainable procurement standards and ethical guidelines. 

Sustainable procurement standards put binding regulations in place across the company and cover ecological, social and ethical aspects. In 2008 Commerzbank sent individually adapted ethical guidelines to each of its major suppliers. In addition, all employees involved in buying goods or services must provide written confirmation of their commitment to the guidelines once a year.

Goods must meet sustainability requirements in terms of manufacture, use and disposal or preferably recycling. They should do as little damage as possible to the environment or climate, must not cause any adverse effects on health, and be produced under decent labour conditions.

A future plan is for products to begin displaying globally recognised ecological seal, the Blue Angel. The label, established in 1978, is awarded to products and services selected by an independent jury in line with defined criteria.
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