We take environmental impacts into account when conducting our business by developing sustainable products and services and addressing sustainability issues in our risk management. The implementation of various operational measures helps us to reduce our environmental footprint.
The Paris Agreement to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change entered into force in 2016. Its aim is, among other things, to limit the rise in the global temperature to well below 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. As a global financial institution, we recognize our share of responsibilities in combating climate change by supporting the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient global economy.
"Credit Suisse Cares for Climate" is an initiative that is designed to incorporate wide-ranging climate protection measures into our operating activities It helps us make an active and measurable contribution to climate protection on a number of levels. We also participate in the dialogue about the development of strategies for sustainable, climate-friendly business practices by, for example, hosting the Lifefair Forum event series in Zurich. We consider the protection of biodiversity an integral part of our sustainability commitments, and we have continuously expanded our activities in the area of conservation finance over the last few years.
In 2006, Credit Suisse became the first major Swiss corporation to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality for its operations in Switzerland. Through our four-pillar strategy, we achieved this goal for all our operations worldwide in 2010 and have been globally greenhouse gas neutral since.
Efficiency gains and reduction of energy consumption through optimization of installations
Energy consumption represents by far the largest direct climate-related impact that Credit Suisse has on the environment. The optimization of operations to increase energy efficiency is therefore a key component of our environmental strategy to achieve a sustained reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Reduction of energy consumption through energy-saving investments
We can also reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by investing in energy-saving technologies. When constructing new premises or renovating existing buildings, we focus on installing energy-saving heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems, and we use highly efficient insulation in our building materials. We also invest in energy-saving technologies for our IT infrastructure, as well as switching to renewable energy sources when upgrading heating systems, installing high-efficiency lighting with LED technology and using energy-optimized cooling systems in computer centers.
Use of climate-friendly energy sources
When concluding new electricity supply contracts, we verify that climate-friendly energy sources such as wind power, hydropower and solar energy are included in the mix and, where possible, we replace fossil fuels with renewable forms of energy. As a result, all the electricity used at our locations in Switzerland in 2016 was derived from renewable sources. In many of our other locations around the world, electricity from renewable sources accounts for part of the energy mix provided by local utilities. In 2016, Credit Suisse consumed a total of 256 million kilowatt-hours of electricity generated from renewable sources. This corresponds to 56% of our global electricity consumption.
Purchase of emissions certificates to offset greenhouse gas emissions
Through the optimization of operations, investments in energy-saving systems and the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energies, we are able to significantly reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from our business activities. However, it is not possible to eliminate them entirely. We therefore offset our remaining emissions by purchasing emission reduction certificates (ERCs). Last year, we once again offset all of our net greenhouse gas emissions from operational activities, including global business travel in this way. Our ERC portfolio included projects involving wind power, hydropower, geothermal power, photovoltaic power and biomass/biogas power. 60% of the ERCs met the Gold Standard, and the remainder came from climate protection projects verified by independent third parties.
hours of training on environmental management and health and safety was provided to employees
thousand hours of desktop videoconferencing were used, helping to reduce our CO2 emissions
Processes and situations that do not change the global balance of greenhouse gases are considered greenhouse gas-neutral or climate-neutral. Because carbon dioxide (CO2) is the greenhouse gas most frequently generated by human activity, the term "carbon-neutral" is often used instead of the term "greenhouse gas neutral." In order to become greenhouse gas neutral, emissions must either be avoided or balanced through targeted measures. CO2 emissions, for example, can be reduced by cutting energy use or boosting energy efficiency. Remaining emissions can then be neutralized through offsetting – whereby emissions that cannot be prevented are reduced elsewhere. For example, the environmental impact of business-related air travel can be offset by supporting a renewable energy resources project in another location that reduces an equivalent amount of emissions.
Credit Suisse's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Business Travel
For us as a global financial institution, business travel is among the main challenges we face in our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint. While it is often essential to maintain direct contact with clients, business travel accounts for around 25% of our total output. In an effort to reduce the number of business flights taken by our employees as far as possible, we encourage train travel for shorter distances as well as the use of telephone and video conferencing, and we are continuously expanding the relevant technical infrastructure. In 2016, Credit Suisse employees further increased their use of desktop videoconferencing to 190,422 hours. As part of our strategy to maintain global greenhouse gas neutrality, all the emissions from our international air travel have been offset since 2010. To raise employee awareness of this issue, the amount of CO2 emissions resulting from each flight is specified on every airline ticket. By purchasing "carbon-neutral tickets", we offset approximately 48,000 metric tons of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.
Calculation of Emissions according to International Standards
Credit Suisse calculates emissions according to the VfU Standard 2015, in line with the requirements of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an international standard for CO2 reporting. The emissions reported comprise direct emissions (scope 1), indirect emissions from the generation of electricity, heat, and steam (scope 2), as well as other indirect emissions caused by business travel, paper consumption, and the disposal of waste (scope 3). An RFI (Radiative Forcing Index) of 1 was used for business air travel.
For more information on how we assume our responsibility for the environment see the Corporate Responsibility Report on pages 38-40.