How mortgages can contribute to sustainability

Author: Charissa Cardon - Product Owner Sustainable Living

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6 May 2021

'At the beginning of 2017, the Risk Management department wanted to know more about ABN AMRO Mortgages' carbon footprint. My manager at the time jokingly said: if you want to know something about carbon, go to Cardon – there's only a one-letter difference. In fact, we had only just begun thinking about CO2 emissions within the bank. The start of an amazing journey of discovery that has changed not only our company, but the way I live my life now. I'm more aware that we need to be careful with the earth and that we can manage with less. But most importantly, I'm more aware that individuals can have a real impact. You can change the world a little, just by making a start.' 

Energy reduction as a mission 

'This change started with the following question: how do you define 'carbon footprint' and what do we want to do with it as a bank in our mortgage portfolio of roughly 800,000 homes? Together with colleagues working on other property portfolios, we looked into this and devised a strategy to work on reducing CO2 with our clients. This plan was adopted by the bank's top management team and resulted in an ambitious objective. 

The carbon footprint of ABN AMRO's property portfolio expresses the environmental impact through carbon dioxide (CO2 eq.) emissions of all homes, offices, schools, business premises, hospitals, etc. financed by us. It is precisely in this built-up environment that great progress can be made in terms of sustainability. 40% of all global CO2 emissions comes from the built-up environment. Although it is ultimately up to the client to make the necessary sustainability-related changes, we have set ourselves the objective of achieving an average energy label A for the entire property portfolio by 2030. We can help our clients with this.  

Changing together 

By working closely with our clients, sharing knowledge, offering tools and providing services, ABN AMRO wants to make a vital contribution to sustainability. A good example is the Energy Savings Check that we recently introduced. This is an online personal step-by-step plan for making your own home energy efficient. The step-by-step plan explains in just a few minutes which sustainable measures can result in the biggest savings in energy and comfort level, and which subsidies are available for them. The team that worked on this developed both a great customer journey and a journey to help our mortgage advisors better engage with our clients. 

We are less than four years into our journey and I am incredibly proud of everyone who has contributed to our achievements so far. We have enthusiastic colleagues who ensure on a daily basis that ideas are brought to fruition and who do not allow themselves to be distracted by the enormous challenge we face: achieving an average energy label A for our entire mortgage portfolio. Step by step and with concrete intermediate objectives, we are getting closer to achieving our final objective.'

Author: Charissa Cardon - Product Owner Sustainable Living

Back to overview

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