Environment

By ensuring that our operations, products and services are delivered in an environmentally responsible way, we can grow our business in a way that helps safeguard the environment.

TARGETS
2007 Energy
Develop and implement sustainable energy policy for Provident Financial's operations
Achieved
Develop and implement two new energy conservation projects and calculate cost savings by the end of 2007 Acceptable progress
Develop a strategy for reducing energy use in branch offices Achieved
Transport
Establish a baseline for fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions for company car use
Achieved
Report the CO2 emissions associated with flights and train use Achieved
Roll out Provident's Green Travel Guide to Vanquis Bank Acceptable progress
Develop metrics to measure the effectiveness of Provident's Green Travel Guide Acceptable progress
Paper use
Establish paper use baselines associated with Consumer Credit Division marketing activities
Not achieved
Establish systems to measure printer/copier paper use Achieved
Reduce total paper consumption levels across Provident by 10% Achieved
Introduce a KPI which shows paper recycling rates as a proportion of paper purchased across Provident Achieved
Waste
Undertake an audit of the waste streams in the staff restaurant at Head Office to establish a baseline for catering waste generated
Achieved
Develop and implement recycling initiatives for two waste streams by the end of 2007 Acceptable progress
Investigate the opportunities to use the plastic cups recycled by Provident in the production of company-branded stationery items Achieved

Provident Financial's commitment to manage its impacts on the environment has become a central business issue and core management activity. Over the past seven years we have been working on embedding a systematic approach to improving environmental performance and implementing new initiatives. Our long-term objective is to ensure that our operations become increasingly compatible with the principles of sustainable development.

  • OUR LOW CARBON STRATEGY
  • Objectives:
  • Demonstrate commitment and leadership in ensuring that Provident works towards achieving significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions
  • Continue to measure and benchmark our energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions to ensure that Provident adheres to best practice in carbon management and reduction
  • Establish challenging targets to encourage us to be more energy efficient and to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that arise from our operations, products and services
  • Influence our customers, employees and suppliers to take action on climate change and reduce their carbon footprints
  • Engage with stakeholders to ensure that the voice of business is heard in the debate on climate change

Managing our environmental impacts

  • External recognition of
    environmental issues
  • Our score in BITC's Environment
    Index increased from:
  • 90%
  • in 2006 to:
  • 96%
  • in 2007

Provident has had a group-wide environmental policy in place since 2000 with the focus on energy and resource consumption, and waste, water and transport use minimisation. Our Environmental Management System (EMS) is a practical tool that enables our divisions and departments to understand their impact on the environment, manage these in a structured way, and to evaluate and improve their environmental performance. It has also proven to be a good tool for improving our ability to communicate with employees, shareholders and other stakeholders on environmental issues.

Energy

Bradford head office and Vanquis Bank energy consumption
Year Energy use (MW)
2007 6,627
2006 5,224*
2005 3,844*
2004 3,572*
2003 2,973*
Energy use = gas and electricity
* The data has been restated to reflect the demerger of the international division and the sale of Provident Insurance
Bradford head office and Vanquis Bank CO2 emissions
Year CO2 emissions (tonnes)
2007 2,080
2006 1,969*
2005 1,383*
2004 1,219*
2003 1,032*
* The data has been restated to reflect the demerger of the international division and the sale of Provident Insurance

During 2007, energy consumption across Provident Financial rose to 6,627MW from 5,224 MW in 2006. The reason for this increase has been the development of our IT infrastructure. For example, we are currently changing the Consumer Credit Division's core accounting and processing system to a new system called Focus, and, in the short-term, the roll-out of Focus is likely to cause energy consumption to increase.

The data presented in this report excludes the energy consumed by our Consumer Credit Division network of branch offices, as these offices are not owned by Provident and energy bills are either not itemised separately within service level agreements and/or the information we receive is based on estimates only and therefore not accurate. We will be working to change this in 2008 so that we are able to report accurately on branch energy consumption in the future.

In 2007, we entered into an agreement to purchase energy from 'Good Quality Combined Heat and Power (CHP)' schemes to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy we use. As result the CO2 emissions associated with our electricity use have reduced from 0.430 kg of CO2 per kilowatt hour, to 0.295 kg of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

In addition, during 2007 we continued to introduce energy efficiency measures within our office infrastructure; for example, low energy lighting and motion sensors were installed as part of the refurbishment of two floors at our Bradford head office.

Transport

Following the publication of our green travel guide in 2006, we continued in 2007 to promote the use of more sustainable forms of transport and reduce the environmental impacts of our transport activities. We also undertook a considerable amount of work to establish business mileage baselines for our company which will enable us to calculate the carbon dioxide emissions associated with car, train journeys and flights we make in the course of delivering business activities.

During 2006, we made our company car fleet more environmentally friendly, by offering more fuel efficient company cars, including those using hybrid technology, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. We commissioned the Energy Saving Trust to undertake a 'green review' of our fleet in order to highlight any areas where we could improve our environmental performance. Among other things, the review found that the average carbon dioxide emissions for our company car fleet was 137 g/km, which is considerably lower than the UK average for new vehicles, which stands at 167 g/km.

Waste management

Taking care to manage the waste we generate as a business makes sense from both a financial and environmental perspective. During 2007, the Consumer Credit Division generated 379 tonnes of waste (compared with 261 in 2006). Waste data is currently not available for Vanquis Bank as the offices are not owned by Provident and, as such, the information is not readily available.

Provident donated around 80 items of IT equipment, including PCs, monitors and printers, to charities such as Bosom Friends and MacMillan Cancer Support. During 2007, we recycled 147 tonnes of waste, the majority of this is accounted for by paper.

GENERAL WASTE PRODUCTION:
CONSUMER CREDIT DIVISION
Year Waste produced (tonnes) Tonnes of waste/employee
2007 379.1 0.13
2006 260.8 0.09
2005 261.5 0.09
2004 263.4 0.09
2003 258.2 0.09
PAPER RECYCLED
Year Paper recycled (tonnes) Tonnes of recycling/employee
2007 146.8 0.05
2006 147.9 0.05
2005 109.2 0.04
2004 117.3 0.04
2003 74.9 0.02

Paper use

Paper is by far our most significant waste stream. Paper use in the Consumer Credit Division and corporate office increased significantly during 2007 from 566 tonnes to 1,220 tonnes. This increase was as a result of the Division being able to establish a paper use baseline for all its marketing activities and that paper being included in the total for the first time. To reduce the environmental impacts, we aim to use increasing amounts of recycled paper and paper derived from sustainable sources. For example, recycled paper is used in all printers and photocopiers across the group and paper sourced from sustainable forests is purchased for standard documents used by employees and agents in our Consumer Credit Division.

GROUP PAPER USE
Year Paper use CCD (tonnes) Paper use Vanquis(tonnes)
2007 1,219.9 442.8
2006 565.9 -
2005 578.8 -
2004 599.8 -
2003 633.7 -