The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) wants to be the leading sustainable bank in the region. With 119 branches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and 51 international branches in 12 other countries, NBAD could influence other banks in the Middle East to become more sustainable. However, its recently released 2011 CSR report shows that it has not yet reach that goal, but is making progress.
One area particularly highlights how NBAD has a commendable goal, but doesn’t quite reach it. That area is reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. NBAD’s goal is to reduce emissions by 15 percent. In 2011, its emissions actually increased by five percent per capita from 2010 levels. NBAD based its GHG emissions for 2011 based on business flights, fleet fuel and electricity use within UAE branches. The banking company did reduce overseas trips by 87, and reduced total distance traveled by 28 percent. Yet, its fleet and fuel consumption increased by nine percent for gasoline, and 80 percent for diesel. NBAD attributes the increase in diesel to purchasing and using a five ton truck to collect paper to be shredded and recycled. Why wasn’t some type of biodiesel considered for the truck’s fuel?
Other environmental commitments that NBAD did not meet include:
- Reducing energy consumption by 15 percent. There was a one percent increase per capita in 2011. The report states that the company needs to do “more work to research and improve this result” in 2012.
- Reduce paper consumption by 25 percent. NBAD is only four percent off target with a 21 percent per capita reduction, which is the lowest rate since they started measuring consumption.
Two environmental goals that NBAD actually met
There are two goals that NBAD did meet. One of the goals met is reducing water use by 10 percent. It actually exceeded that goal by reducing 43 percent per capita from 2010 levels, and attributes the reduction to the installation of water saving devices on the taps of its head office, two branches and the Abu Dhabi Academy. In addition, it also worked with its facilities department to advertise a reporting system to ensure that water leaks could be quickly managed.
Another goal that NBAD met is implementing a paper recycling program. It installed recycled bins for paper, which resulted in 97,992 kilos of paper being recycled in 2011. Part of that amount (48,485 kilos) came from a one-time project to clear archived paper files. Subtracting the over 48,000 kilos from the total amount, NBAD’s normal recycling rate increased by 27 percent in 2011 from 2010. The paper recycling program will result in an estimated 12,000 fewer sheets of paper being printed.
Green building standards & solar powered ATMs
There are two other areas where NBAD has the potential to become more sustainable: green buildings and solar powered ATMs. In 2011, NBAD established new guidelines that require new buildings be designed to a minimum level of sustainability before permission is granted. NBAD uses the Pearl Rating System, a green building standard similar to LEED, but tailored specifically for the arid climate of UAE with levels of Pearl 1 to Pearl 5. NBAD requires that all new buildings must at least meet Pearl 3 standards.
Two of the banking company’s ATMs are powered by a PV solar system located at one of its branches. The report states that NBAD is “invested heavily in the solution to determine the potential applications across our ATM network.” However, the two solar powered ATMs “demonstrated that the currently available technologies mean it is not yet cost-effective or practical to power our ATMs via solar energy. That means that a large-scale deployment does not “make business sense at this time.” Hopefully, there will be a new technology developed in the near future so NBAD, and other banks, can install solar powered ATMs across its branches.
Photo: Wikipedia user, Ijanderson977