Our commitment to reducing our environmental impact
The creation of long term value is the foundation of BOQ’s sustainability strategy, and we recognise the need to continually evolve and enhance our focus in this area.
The recent drought and bushfires across Australia also highlighted the increasing community concerns relating to climate change and the impact that businesses can have on the environment they operate in.
One of the biggest challenges we face is to deliver our planet to our children in a better condition than we inherited it.
BOQ is taking action by becoming a net zero organisation and joining Climate Active.
Net zero means we have achieved a balance between the greenhouse gas emissions associated with running our business and the activities we support that take emissions out of the atmosphere.
To achieve net zero we need to cut down on our use of fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil in favour of renewable energy like hydro, solar, and wind. And start doing things like supporting projects that reduce carbon dioxide in the air.
At BOQ we have taken the first step in the journey by committing to purchase 100% of our operational electricity from renewable sources by 2025, exploring low emission fleet options, developing ‘green’ supply chain standards, and selecting reputable carbon neutral products.
But that’s not all. At BOQ we have a number of initiatives in place to reduce our impact:
- Consolidation and relocation of Brisbane Office Accommodation into a new 4.5 (Aspirational 5) Star NABERS rating office building. Consolidation of Sydney and Perth offices to utilise space more efficiently
- The latest branch design includes the use of LED lighting and the installation of “G Switch’s” to reduce after hours non-essential services. Current data suggests that this can reduce energy consumption by up to 35%. Our retail and commercial fit outs also use environmentally-friendly products wherever possible
- Trialled solar panels and LED lighting in a few branches, successfully reducing carbon emissions between 20-45%
- Reduction of travel through greater use of technology and online based collaboration tools
- Introduction of a new managed print services agreement with a single provider, including swipe release and cost-centre charging to reduce paper consumption
- Introduced e-statements, estimated to save more than 600,000 sheets of paper a year
- Introduced electronic invoice processing, making paper invoices obsolete
- Moved from monthly to quarterly statements and consolidated customer statements into a single envelope, saving around 1.5 million envelopes per year
- Recovered and redeployed 100 unused computers through an IT amnesty program
- Looking to broaden vendor sustainability questionnaires to contractually oblige vendors to meet certain sustainability requirements
Supply chain management
We recognise that our responsibility does not end with our own operations but extends to our suppliers ensuring they have high standards of care when it comes to the people they employ and to the environment. Some of the key initiatives we are currently prioritising are outlined below:
- we are in the process of drafting a Supplier Code that outlines BOQ’s expectations with regard to supplier conduct across a number of key sustainability areas – the environment, modern slavery and human rights, governance, IT controls, and ethical business practices;
- continuing to facilitate BOQ’s commitment to our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) by actively identifying indigenous suppliers and removing barriers that may prevent them from participating;
- requiring potential suppliers to demonstrate their corporate responsibility commitments, such as diversity metrics, when responding to tenders;
- supporting Australian small businesses through offering 30 day maximum invoice payment terms; and
- seeking confirmation from suppliers via an annual review process and supplier site visits to ensure operations and supply chains do not contain or support modern slavery practices. These efforts are part of a broader piece of work currently underway to develop BOQ’s position with regards to modern slavery and related legislation. Find BOQ's 2020 Modern Slavery Act Statement here.
Energy saving and waste reduction
We are constantly looking for ways in which to reduce energy usage and waste throughout our operations. One example of an energy reduction initiative in place is the use of LED lighting and the installation of delayed lighting control to reduce after hours non-essential services. Current data suggests this can reduce energy consumption by up to 35%. In addition, we have installed solar panels across three branches, which provides CO2 emissions savings of up to 41 tonnes per year. With regard to waste reduction, in 2015 BOQ implemented a ‘swipe release’ function across all printing services. Since then, we have seen a ~20% reduction in paper consumption.
Poor waste management practices can cause land and air pollution, which can result in serious medical conditions in humans and animals. Implementing good waste management protects the environment and benefits our business. Where possible, recycled products are used by the Bank. This includes paper for large quantity printing such as, the Annual Report, where it is printed on paper from well-managed forests and recycled sources. We also leverage secure document destruction and recycling in all corporate offices. This practice diverted 159 tonnes of waste from landfill this year and saw the reduction of up to 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions per month.
BOQ is aware that water is a vital resource we need to protect. All taps in our support centre tenancies are fitted with flow restriction devices and our head office bathrooms utilise both dual-flush toilets as well as censored urinals to minimise water consumption. We also consider water use when it comes to printing processes for some of our larger publications, including the Annual Report, which is printed using the latest technology to ensure minimal water consumption.
Sustainable lending is about recognising our corporate and social responsibility to maintain a lending portfolio comprised of sustainable businesses. Find out more about our approach to sustainable lending.