UK-based digital bank Starling recently confirmed that it has committed to “a one third reduction target in its carbon emissions by 2030 and to offset carbon emissions from its own operations and supply chain annually from 2021.”
As noted by Starling Bank in a release:
“Having completed its first greenhouse gas audit, the bank has modelled the impact of several reduction initiatives and will purchase credible, certified carbon credits to neutralise or offset its emissions, using its carbon footprint for the year to 31 March 2021 as a baseline.”
The Fintech firm added that projects will be selected in consultation with Starling workers and will be “certified to the leading carbon offset standards.” They may include woodland creation “as well as ocean-based and peat restoration schemes.”
Starling’s total emissions, “excluding loans and investments, for the period were 7,731 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or tCO2e, for the three material emission categories” are as follows:
- Scope 1 includes fuel combustion and emissions
- Scope 2 includes purchased electricity and heat
- Scope 3 includes purchased goods and services, business travel, employee commuting, and downstream transportation and distribution (among others).
Around 97% are Scope 3 emissions, with 60% of these “coming from purchased goods and services.” Downstream transportation and distribution of letters and cards is “the second greatest emissions driver, responsible for 20% of emissions, followed by employee commuting, which is responsible for 10.4%.”
Starling Bank also noted that they worked with a third-party sustainability consultancy, Orbis Advisory, to “model its reduction initiatives, align with the SBTi and set reduction targets for loans and investments.”
The SBTi is an international research non-profit organization using a globally recognized methodology that “aligns with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels.” Starling will “begin by committing to near and long term SBTi targets,” the update confirmed.
Anne Boden, Founder and CEO of Starling Bank, stated:
“Understanding our carbon emissions enables us to make targeted improvements as we continue to grow. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that we face globally, and Starling is 100% committed to playing its part in the fight against it, not just in the lead up to 2050, but starting right away. This is urgent and we know that our customers expect no less from us.”
Lowering carbon emissions has been on Starling’s agenda, the digital banking platform noted. Its three UK offices – London, Southampton and Cardiff – “run on renewable energy and in 2021 Starling introduced the first UK Mastercard® debit card to be made from recycled plastic.”
Starling’s packaging is “100% recyclable and in 2020-2021 through a partnership with Trillion Trees the bank is planting 50,000 trees,” the Fintech firm revealed.
Starling Bank has teamed up with InstaVolt, the UK’s biggest independent public rapid charging network for electric vehicles in oder to “support their ambitions in green transport.”
Starling has its own Cycle to Work scheme, “supported the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s Secret World of Plants programme and sponsored the YouTube originals documentary series, Seat At The Table, presented by campaigner Jack Harries.”
As a founding member of the TechZero Charter, Starling has “committed to measuring all emissions, including Scope 3, and setting a net zero emissions target by the end of 2021,” the announcement noted.
Starling has “excluded emissions relating to loans and investments from its Scope 3 carbon footprint calculation,” the company clarified. These are calculated separately “in alignment with the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF).”
It’s reportedly the first UK digital bank to join PCAF, which “requires members to calculate emissions from loans and investments in accordance with industry best practice.” Starling will align with PCAF and SBTi to “ensure that targets from loans and investments are set in due course,” the Fintech firm confirmed.
Starling Bank is a fully-licensed and regulated bank “built to give people a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past.” It provides personal, child, business, joint, euro and dollar current accounts alongside a range of lending products.
Additionally, Starling offers B2B banking and payments services via its Banking-as-a-Service model based on the proprietary tech platform that it “uses to power its own bank.” The Starling Marketplace provides clients in-app access to “a selection of third party financial services.”
Headquartered in London, Starling maintains business offices in Southampton, Cardiff and Dublin.
As noted in the update, Orbis Advisory is a London-based business consultancy offering energy, sustainability and wellness advisory services to businesses and their assets. Via its range of services, it “helps clients integrate ESG into their core business, ensure risk mitigation against climate change, and support the transition to a net zero future.”