A key priority for us is its ongoing oversight of the most significant environmental repercussions that are directly related to our operations, such as the consumption of natural resources and waste production.
The Group also places considerable emphasis on preventing so-called “indirect” environmental impacts caused by the actions of outside entities whose actions we can influence through targeted decisions in the area of purchasing and loan approval policies, and in the innovation of services and determination of strategic action plans.
Environmental protection and climate change are critical issues that cannot be overlooked from a social, political and economic standpoint. The Environmental Management System incorporates these issues and allows us to make appropriate decisions for the entire Group. At the same time, it offers us a to make business decisions affecting the impact of our presence on the economic and social structure in a more effective manner involving all areas.
UniCredit approved a Green and Social Procurement Policy in November 2010, which details procurement activities in social and environmental arenas and addresses our Group’s sustainable approach to selecting suppliers and products.
The policy stems from UniCredit’s experiences in several countries, where our operations had previously developed environmental procurement criteria within the scope of their environmental management systems. Our new policy standardizes and extends the scope of criteria, while ensuring a reduction in environmental impacts associated with our upstream supply chain. Under these new guidelines, our preference is given to suppliers who:
• demonstrate reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions, resource consumption and waste generation
• demonstrate compliance with the working standards of the International Labour Organization
• show that they understand the health and safety impacts of their entire supply chain.
Bank Austria: Focus on climate protection
We design our processes and products in a way that is as environmentally friendly as possible, whereby particular emphasis is placed on climate protection. Conserving natural resources as much as possible is part of our social responsibility. For us, there are two aspects of ecological sustainability: operational ecology and product ecology.
Operational ecology applies to the consumption of materials, energy and space as a direct result of our business activities.
We are aware of the environmental dimension of our operational processes. Thus, our primary goal is to actively reduce the consumption of resources and in this way prevent emissions. Product ecology refers to the indirect ecological effects of our activities, in other words the environmental impact of the products and services we offer to our customers.
Sustainable product policy: Discussions about social-ecological aspects
Sustainability plays an important role in our range of products, including providing our customers with advice about issues related to climate protection. We see sustainability as an important field of innovation and plan to strengthen our efforts in offering new solutions for combining economy, ecology and society.
We are convinced that sustainability is not only essential for doing business responsibly, but that it will be a field of business in and of itself in the future. A structural change towards climate protection and sustainability is necessary – and banks will play an important role here.
Operational ecology: Designing sustainable processes
We feel that it is only natural that our environmental management measures are aimed at ensuring that our operational processes have the smallest possible negative impact on the environment. This applies to our building management as well as to business trips and our purchasing policy.
Information and communication technologies, which are vital for a service company, also represent an important part of acting in an environmentally friendly manner.
Our contribution to climate protection
In all of these issues, there is simply no getting around one of the key challenges of our time: climate protection. Man-made climate change poses enormous challenges for all areas of society. This is true for individual citizens and for the government – and of course for business as well. We accept this challenge, which is why the climate plays a major role in our processes and products.
Our employees are an integral part of our commitment to environmental and climate protection. Following the successful internal idea competition that was introduced last year, we want to provide Bank Austria’s employees with more information about how they can make a personal contribution to preserving basic natural resources in the future.
Along with these measures, we promote social discourse about the climate. In 2008 Bank Austria supported the Austrian Climate Protection Award, which honours ideas aimed at protecting the climate.