Reconomy, the UK’s leading outsourced resource management and recycling services provider, has revealed banking giants HSBC and Lloyds as two businesses who are shaping sustainability in the financial services sector.
The waste management specialists, who offer consultancy-led sustainability and circular economy solutions, analysed 157 companies in a Sustainable Giants study to determine which businesses were owning the conversation and making an impact.
HSBC and Lloyds ranked fifth and ninth respectively on the interactive study, which saw company strategies cross-referenced with social media insight to see who was doing the most to bring about change.
Global drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola topped the rankings overall, having used the most key terms on sustainability, with 676 mentions across social media and business strategy.
The study reflects businesses enhancing their sustainability efforts following the introduction of the Green Finance Strategy in July 2019, which promotes investment in clean, resilient, and sustainable growth.
Harvey Laud, Divisional Director at Reconomy, said: “With the pandemic highlighting vulnerabilities of current business practice, whether that be international trading, supply chain fragility or the current unsustainable level of consumption, it is encouraging to see many businesses, particularly those in the financial sector, placing such focus on sustainable commitments in 2021.”
Another key driver for change is the Government’s Environment Bill and 10-point plan which set out a target of 68 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
For many businesses, this target provides a clear milestone. The focus now should be on calculating scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and introducing opportunities to minimise carbon. Reconomy advises that specifically on the subject of waste this relates to prevention, reuse, and recycling versus damaging methods such as incineration and disposal. This can be achieved through a more sustainable design, manufacturing process, and product use.
Natural catastrophe losses have been receiving considerable attention of late and they are only due to increase in the coming years without drastic changes – like the ones we are seeing promised – being made. These events and the damage they have on the global economy are all interconnected, with funding of unsustainable practices inevitably leading to climate change, which in turn inhibits sustainable growth. When it comes to financial lending then, the importance of supporting causes which consider the viability of future generations needs to be solidified.
Laud added: “The year ahead will be one of both challenge and opportunity – post-pandemic learnings, resource preservation and increased secondary resource utilisation will be more important than ever as we face a period of prolonged economic stress. The ethos of utilisation, rather than ownership and consumption is far more efficient and an approach that many have appreciated and experienced during 2020.”
The Bank of England and G20 ministers have also stressed the importance of more informed investment when it comes to sustainability and climate change. TCFD recommends that organizations describe the resilience of their strategy, taking into consideration different climate-related scenarios, including a 2°C or lower scenario, where such information is material. This is also supported by the EU Taxonomy by helping users to identify the sustainability of a financial product, to demonstrate accountability and transparency to reassure investors.
Laud summarised: “Having worked with a number of financial services businesses, developing sustainability plans and assisting them with their waste management strategies as they consolidate on their landfill avoidance and set a course for zero waste, we fully appreciate the concerted efforts being made. However, ambitious targets across the sector will only be met once all areas have been assessed, from bidding to lending, to eliminating wasted resources.”