NatWest has tweaked a tool that provides guidance to staff on how to shrink their carbon footprint, as government faces warning it may have to change carbon reporting guidelines to account for huge increase in home-working
Natwest has updated a carbon calculator that helps staff cut their carbon footprint to reflect the coronavirus shutdown's impact on working patterns, with advice on commuting swapped for tips on managing home energy usage.
The bank revealed on Friday it had updated a tool launched earlier this year that offers guidance to staff on how to reduce their personal carbon footprint so that it reflects the fact that the majority of staff are now working remotely.
The new calculator, reissued on World Environment Day, provides staff with tips on how they can save energy at home, for example by switching to LED lightbulbs, investing in home insulation, and changing how they use and charge electric devices. It also provides advice on how staff can cut the carbon intensity of their consumption of food by cutting food waste and buying local produce.
The bank confirmed it expects the majority of its 50,000-strong workforce to work from home "until at least the end of September" due to the pandemic, which has prompted businesses across the country to adopt similar working practices.
Since social distancing measures were enacted in late March, the company has seen a 25 per cent reduction of its electricity use in buildings and a 2,000 tonne drop in monthly business travel emissions, it added.
NatWest has issued energy consumption guidance to its staff for nearly 80 years, with the first recorded note advising staff to curb electricity consumption dating from November 1933, it revealed.
"Climate change is one of the most important issues of our age and tackling it is at the heart of Natwest Group's purpose," said Kirsty Britz, director of sustainable banking. "These staff communications from over the years are fascinating and show how Natwest has been talking to staff for years about climate action. Our new carbon calculator is the latest step in us becoming more energy efficient."
The work from home edition of Natwest's calculator was launched in the same week that renewable energy supplier Bulb warned companies' annual carbon emissions reporting figures risked being dramatically skewed due to a lack of guidance on how to accurately measure the impacts of remote working.
The company estimates that UK firms could face a 'black hole" of 470,000 tonnes of carbon of carbon this year due to unaccounted energy use incurred by employees at home, an omission could undermine the UK's carbon emissions reporting regime and its long term net zero emissions ambition.
Amit Gudka, chief energy officer and cofounder of Bulb, called for "urgent change" to guidelines to help improve the way businesses report and reduce their emissions.
"The coronavirus changes the way we work, so naturally it changes the way companies impact the climate," he said. "Firms across the UK must now adjust to this, and we must change the rules on how we report company emissions."
He added: "Reporting emissions is crucial to the UK reaching net zero. If we don't know where our emissions are coming from, and what their scale is, how can we take meaningful action to reduce them and help save the planet?"
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