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Commonwealth Bank Sustainability Report: Normalized Emissions Drop 10%

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank Group reduced its normalized carbon emissions by 10 percent year-on-year, according to the company’s 2012 corporate sustainability report.

In 2011, the company produced 5.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per full time employee. In 2012, that metric dropped to 4.7 metric tons per employee. In 2008 the company emitted 5.6 metric tons per employee, the report shows.

The company’s absolute carbon emissions dropped 14 percent year-on-year, from 170,668 mtCO2e in 2011 to 147,124 mtCO2e in 2012. Commonwealth reduced its scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions year-on-year, the report shows.

In 2009, when the company produced 172,752 tCO2e, it set a target of reducing its absolute emissions by 20 percent over that year’s levels by 2013. To date Commonwealth has reduced its absolute emissions by just under 15 percent.

The company is implementing a lighting project to replace inefficient lighting with less energy intensive alternatives in 950 branches across Australia, as well as installing lighting controls in branches. When complete the project should save roughly 8,000 metric tons of CO2e per year. As of July 1, 2012, 550 of the 950 branches have been completed, the report says.

Commonwealth is also implementing an HVAC project in its retail and commercial buildings that should save around 12,000 metric tons of CO2e per year. The company’s commercial operations are also being consolidated into fewer sites. As part of the project, from 2004 to 2012, 19,000 employees were relocated to Commonwealth Bank Place in Sydney from 19 buildings spread across the city, saving around 12,700 metric tCO2e, the report says. The new building is the Group’s first 6 Star Green Star commercial office space.

The group has reduced property-related emissions from Commonwealth Bank Place by 50 percent through sustainability initiatives such as the building generating its own power, water and waste recycling and the use of technology such as chilled beam air conditioning and energy-efficient lighting.

The company is also applying green leasing practices. It is currently targeting minimum 5 Star Green Star and 5 Star National Australian Built Environment Rating System standards for any new commercial buildings and major refurbishments.

Since 2008 Commonwealth has voluntarily reported its carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. In 2012 the bank scored a disclosure rating of 88, from a possible 100.

Commonwealth’s clean energy financing portfolio currently boasts over 12,000 MW of power from sources including biomass, wind, hydroelectric and solar. One of those projects is the $750 million Collgar Wind Farm in Merredin, Australia, which is currently the largest single-stage wind farm in the southern hemisphere. The company is a core lender to the project that has almost doubled the level of renewable energy in the country’s South West Interconnected System, from 5 percent to 9 percent. Collgar has a power production capacity of 206 MW and saves about 700,000 metric tons of carbon per year, the report says.

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