Triodos gains first ISO 14001 accreditation to be awarded to a bank

Triodos Bank, a bank that invests in environmentally and socially sustainable projects, has been awarded IS0 14001 accreditation. It is the first such accreditation to be issued to a bank in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Triodos’ environmental management system (EMS) covers both its internal impacts – for example, water and energy consumption as well as materials recycling – and the external impacts of its investments. Triodos calculates that 89,150 tonnes of CO2 emission reduction has been achieved through its investments in renewable energy.

“It’s always been our aim to finance environmentally sustainable projects, but we decided to make sure that our own environmental footprint is as light as possible,” Susan Jenkins of Triodos UK told edie. “We’ve been monitoring our use of resources for some time, so getting the accreditation didn’t involve huge shocks.”

ISO 14001 accreditation was granted to Triodos by SGS European Quality Certification Institute. A baseline audit was carried out by SGS in 1998, then a second audit took place in September 1999. Accredition was granted in January, with the certificate valid for three years. Annual inspections of Triodos’ three offices by SGS staff will keep track of Triodos’ progress towards its environmental goals.

Among Triodos’ goals are improvements to its internal impact tracking system, by adding business and organic waste, further office supplies, catering and maintenance to its tracking system. The bank’s Dutch office – housed in a building 40% more energy efficient than required by law – will be audited to ensure that energy saving options are all working, and staff will produce a ‘green’ transport plan.

The Belgian offices in Ghent and Namur will merge and move to an eco-friendly office in Brussels and staff will introduce a ‘green’ transport plan. The UK office, in Bristol, will get an energy-efficient boiler and work will be undertaken to reduce water consumption, improve the efficiency of the office recycling system and investigate the purchase of ‘green’ energy.

In the UK, the financial services sector has been criticised by Environment Minister Michael Meacher for being slow to embrace environmental reporting (see related story).

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie