As VakıfBank, we are aware that environmental problems such as climate change that challenge our lives are important issues that require urgent solutions for the society. Therefore, with the decision taken by our Board of Directors in 2015, we established the Environmental Management Service under the Support Services Department. This Service which comprises of 10 full-time staff;
- Keeps track of resource consumption, takes savings measures and shares consumption data with employees,
- Calculates carbon emission data and carries out reduction plans,
- Prepares the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) report,
- Monitors hazardous and non-hazardous waste, ensures its disposal in accordance with local and international regulations, and takes action to reduce waste.
Environmental Management System
By obtaining the ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System certificate in 2017 through our environmental management efforts, we have certified that we manage the direct effects of our banking activities on the environment in line with international standards. As of 2019, we have increased the number of our certified locations to 523 including our Head Office building. In 2020, we aim to have all our employees work in ISO 14001 certified buildings.
We carry out internal audits every year in all our locations by inspectors of the Audit Board Department and also external audits through independent auditors. In case of nonconformity in the audits, we create a corrective action form and work for the solution of the problem. We ensure the coordination and effectiveness of our Environmental Management System studies with the procedures below we have created on this scope.
- Waste Control Procedure
- Assessment Environmental Dimensions and Control Plans Procedure
- Internal Audit Procedure
- Detection of Non-Compliance and Corrective Actions Procedure
- Determination and Follow-Up of Legal and Other Requirements Procedure
- Management Review Procedure
As of the end of 2019, we have certified our 861 employees via trainings within the scope of ISO 9001 Quality Management System and ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, thus having at least one certified employee in our 545 branches. Throughout 2020, we will organize e-learning trainings in order to raise awareness in ISO 9001 Quality Management System and ISO 14001 Environmental Management System.
Climate Change and Emission Management
With the awareness that our operations, products and services have an impact on the climate, we consider the effects of climate change, the most important problem of our age, as an important part of the risk assessment process. Playing an active role in the transition to a low carbon economy by effectively managing those risks is among our goals. For all these reasons, we work to reduce the environmental impacts and carbon emissions that occur during our operations. In this context, we monitor our environmental performance with an electronic database system, monitor energy, waste and water data in all of our locations, and work continuously to reduce our environmental impacts, carbon emissions and energy consumption.
In 2019, we have become the first Turkish public bank who announced its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by joining the Science Based Targets initiative, led by many international pioneer organizations, thus we have demonstrated our environmental awareness once again. Until the banking criteria are announced by this initiative, we work to achieve the annual reduction targets for the items below set by our Board of Directors;
- 2% reduction in annual electricity consumption per square meter
- 2% reduction in annual natural gas consumption per square meter
- 2% reduction in annual water consumption per capita
- 2% annual saving in paper use per capita
- 2% mitigation in Bank’s total carbon and greenhouse gas emissions
In this context, we use central heating and cooling systems, energy efficient servers, A-class inverter air conditioners and energy efficient products. We use LED systems in lighting and turn off computers and phones centrally after specified hours. Thanks to all these applications, we save energy and follow up and report our carbon emissions in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Emission Data Collection and Calculation Regulation. In addition, we report our climate change strategy, risks and performance to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and present our performance in this regard to the information of our investors and the public. Within CDP Climate Change program to which we have been reporting since 2015, we kept our performance score at B level in 2019 and became one of the participant banks from Turkey who obtained the highest grade.
In addition to the opportunities regarding our products, we also provide offers to our customers to raise awareness on social and environmental topics. In this context, we gather requests from our customers who get their statements in printed versions in order to convert them to e-statement. We send them e-statements accordingly. In addition, we donated 10,000 saplings for the “VakıfBank Private Banking Memorial Forest,” which we created through the cooperation with the TEMA Foundation. We provide financial support to sustainable energy investments and projects by giving priority to renewable energy investments under the title of Sustainable Energy Finance. In 2019, we provided finance support of over TL 1.3 billion to 37 renewable energy projects. In 2020, we plan to obtain a Gold-certified Green Building Certificate for our buildings of Head Office and IT Department.
By training our employees on energy efficiency and climate change, we aim to raise awareness and to develop environmentally sensitive behaviour models such as energy savings and waste separation both in and out of the Bank. In this context, in 2019, we provided our employees with 8,263 hours of online training on environment and 6,260 hours of in-class training on sustainability.
Continuous expansion of our service network increases the amount of waste generated with the increase in the amount of energy needed. Hence, we carry out works to reduce our per capita waste generation. In this context, we continue to reduce the amount of waste generated by activating the internal and external correspondence in the electronic environment, taking the fax machines to the electronic environment, following up on the basis of person-based paper consumption and sharing the paper consumption data with the branch employee, and also to increase our recycling rate by keeping recycling boxes in all our locations.
In the management of our electronic waste, we organize donation campaigns for our products that are operational based on the controls before they are considered as waste.
In 2019, we have completed our Zero Waste system records, which is being carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, and we will begin the certification process in 2020. Within the scope of the employee awareness studies, we aim to start the Zero Waste Project trainings in 2020 and have all our employees trained during the year.