By Bina Kumar, Vice President of Regional Marketing, Northern Trust
Northern Trust recognizes that the long-term viability of our business and our clients is tied to the health and well-being of our planet. We therefore commit to protecting the environment and mitigating any negative environmental impacts from our operations.
Our business is aligned with the fundamental principle of sustainability—meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the abilities of future generations to meet their own needs. We do this by integrating environmental considerations into our company-wide processes, committing to continually improving our business practices, and delivering tangible, positive results related to the environment. Working closely with our building managers, Northern Trust follows the environmentally friendly building strategies and practices outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which has awarded our offices in North America and APAC. Northern Trust has earned one LEED platinum certification, six gold certifications, two silver certifications and one general certification. In addition, we use reliable and sophisticated tracking programs to monitor and manage our environmental performance and calculate our annual carbon footprint.
After completing a comprehensive emissions study in 2017 to form our baseline, we set a goal to reduce our total Scope 1, Scope 2 (using the market-based approach) and Scope 3 carbon emissions by 25 percent per full-time employee by 2020. As of December 31, 2019, we had reduced our carbon emissions by approximately 32.35 percent since 2015 and achieved 100 percent renewable electricity usage in our Harlow and Bank Street locations in the United Kingdom. We are currently working with the Science Based Targets Initiative to develop a framework for the science-based targets for financial institutions generally and to set our own science-based target. In the meantime, we are committed to continuing our efforts to reduce our GHG emissions.
Northern Trust’s Sustainability Network
The Sustainability Network is Northern Trust’s global employee environmental engagement program aimed at increasing awareness of sustainability issues, promoting best practices and unifying environmentally focused business operations. This program enables close collaboration among our building managers and employee volunteer “sustainability champions” in delivering consistent environmental messaging, gauging employee feedback, and advocating for conservation and the protection of environmental resources. Through organizing environmentally focused volunteer opportunities and Earth Day celebrations, the Sustainability Network has been a key activator of behavioral change in Northern Trust’s culture. In 2019, the Sustainability Network continued to increase awareness of sustainability issues, promote best practices and unify environmentally focused business operations. In response to “sustainability champion” feedback, it has expanded beyond the workplace to focus on how employees can enhance sustainability in their day-to-day lives.
Non-Governmental Organizations, Advocacy Groups and Local Communities
Northern Trust functions as a global citizen whose commitment to building a healthy, sustainable environment involves deep regard for our surrounding communities. We understand that our footprint affects the larger ecological system and the lives of community members, and we believe in the power of community-based actions to effect positive change for the good of our planet. Northern Trust commits its resources, including capital support and employee volunteerism, to local initiatives and organizations focused on environmental awareness and protection. Collaborating with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and advocacy groups allows us to maintain transparency and hold ourselves accountable to our environmental sustainability practices. Northern Trust and our surrounding communities benefit when we publicly report our environmental footprint—such as our GHG emissions, energy use and the risks and opportunities associated with climate change—under the supervision and guidelines of reputable third-party organizations. By joining communities of investors who hold the health of our planet in high regard, Northern Trust strives to effect positive change to our environment. The NGOs with which we collaborate include the U.S. Green Building Council, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.