Impact on natural resources either through our operations or business focus
As a large financial services provider operating in a developing economy, ensuring prudent use of natural resources and creating a positive environmental impact have been important priorities for sustainable value creation at ICICI Bank. The Bank’s commitment in this direction spans several years. The impact of our efforts is visible in the steady reduction in energy consumption and waste generation, the savings in paper and water consumption, and the practices adopted by the Bank as our business and geographical reach grew.
The Bank’s impact on the environment can be gauged from three standpoints – as a provider of banking services impacting the environment, the impact of its own operations and the relationship with its stakeholders including customers and suppliers.
The Bank has financed projects for capacity creation in environment friendly sectors. This includes renewable energy sectors like solar, wind and small/mini hydro power and other sustainable sectors like waste processing. The Bank’s outstanding to the renewable energy sectors was about ` 36.00 billion at March 31, 2019. The Bank has also financed projects that promote pollution reduction and recycling. Some of these projects include conversion of molasses to ethanol, waste heat recovery in cement production and fly ash recycling. Over and above, the Bank has availed lines of credit from select multilateral agencies towards financing green/sustainable assets. The assets financed under these lines include financing for wind, solar, biomass plants and energy efficiency projects and at March 31, 2019, the outstanding lending by the Bank for such specific purposes was USD 139.8 million.
The Bank is committed to supporting environment friendly projects subject to appropriate risk-return assessment. While the Bank remains cautious in lending to greenfield projects, it will continue to participate in opportunities where funding structures are robust and risks are well assessed. In evaluating projects, the Bank follows a process which ensures compliance with national environmental laws. Projects are required to obtain requisite clearances from relevant agencies. The evaluation is carried out at the time of sanction of the project loan. The Bank also engages external consultants and engineers depending on the size and complexity of the project.
An internal team within the Bank, the Technology Finance Group, is dedicated to identifying and supporting projects in the areas of energy and environment conservation, education, health, sanitation and livelihoods. The team’s mandate is to manage funding lines received from bilateral/multilateral/government agencies specifically for such projects. Its efforts include identifying relevant projects, ensuring financial assistance either directly or through collaboration and knowledge sharing. In the past, the team has supported energy initiatives like the Kasturba Solar Khadi Mahila Samiti to meet the operating expenses of a solar charkha (spinning wheel) cluster and construction of a green building for the Rural Self Employment Training Institute in Jodhpur. Key projects in fiscal 2019 included planting of more than 50,000 trees by 500 tribal farmers in Palghar, Bhiwandi and Shahapur districts in Maharasthra, construction of 20 farm ponds in Shirur taluka of Beed district in Maharashtra, implementation of a natural resources conservation and livelihood generation project in 10 villages of Washim district in Maharashtra, and implementation of a watershed development and management programme along with agriculture interventions in three villages of Dharani taluka of Amaravati district in Maharashtra resulting in sustainable livelihoods.
The Bank’s business operations are conducted keeping in mind the environmental limits and ensuring ongoing efficiency gains. The environment conservation measures by the Bank are focussed on improving efficiencies, investing in design and technology and adopting renewable energy.
At March 31, 2019, the Bank had
nine offices that were awarded the Platinum rating by IGBC. These offices house over 14,500 employees. ICICI Bank’s data centre is the first IGBC Platinum rated data centre in India.
In fiscal 2014, the Bank undertook a detailed energy audit in its 15 large offices and in branches where energy consumption was higher than specific standards. A number of areas were identified for energy savings which included using energy-efficient lighting and cooling mechanisms and increasing use of renewable energy. The energy conservation journey of the last five years has led to a skilled pool of individuals including facility managers of branches and offices, who are now directly implementing energy saving initiatives. At March 31, 2019, 156 employees of the Bank were certified Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Accredited Professionals. Since fiscal 2018, the Bank has been ensuring IGBC green building features in all its new offices and branches at the time of set up. At March 31, 2019, the Bank had nine offices that were awarded the Platinum rating by IGBC, the highest rating given based on an assessment of energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, water conservation, waste management, indoor air quality and sustainable sourcing of material. ICICI Bank’s data centre is the first IGBC Platinum rated data centre in India and the first Uptime Tier-3 certified data centre in the Indian banking industry.
The four main pillars of the Bank’s energy conservation journey are:
This aims to put in place control systems to ensure efficiency in operations. It includes policy of temperature control in occupied workplaces, setting up control systems at specific locations for operating at optimal energy efficiency, promoting communication practices (like video conferencing and i Studio) to reduce employee travel and spreading awareness through emails and rewards among employees.
The Bank’s offices and branches were refurbished to include energy-efficient fittings. This included energy efficient water/air cooled AC chillers, energy-efficient motors/pumps in hydro pneumatic systems, variable frequency drives for Air Handling Units (AHU) & pumps, energy-efficient UPS, stabilisers, laptops, desktops and diesel generator sets, lux/occupancy sensors and timer based controls and spectrally reflective films for glazing in windows. In fiscal 2014, the Bank converted all conventional fluorescent lights into LED lights at all its offices and branches which has resulted in a 50.0% reduction in energy consumption of lighting load. In fiscal 2019, the Bank began implementation of installing LED in signages at its branches.
The Bank's two large offices - the corporate office at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai and Gachibowli Tower in Hyderabad use Cooling Technology Institute (CTI) approved cooling towers which have led to 30% more energy-efficient cooling in these buildings. The Bank continuously invests in new energy efficient technologies; for example, new technologies in air-conditioning systems like Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF), variable speed drive chillers, Electronically Commutated (EC) blower in air handling units and demand controlled ventilation systems have been installed across the Bank’s offices and branches. The Bank has deployed an equipment-based monitoring and control system for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems with centralised Network Operating Centre (NOC) for seven large offices and two data centres. This is a first of its kind initiative in the banking sector, which has helped the Bank to measure and benchmark energy performance effectively.
The Bank ensures use of renewable energy at its premises wherever feasible. At March 31, 2019, the total solar power capacity installed by the Bank at its premises was 1.1 MWp (Mega Watt peak). The Bank has installed smaller capacity solar power at 510 Gramin branches and 200 ATMs.
Under the open access mechanism for power sourcing, the Bank has signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) for solar and wind energy purchase for three of its large offices. The total contracted capacity is 9.0 MWp. These offices have been using renewable energy since fiscal 2016 and 60% of the energy requirement at these offices is met through renewable energy. The Bank is in the process of installing a 1MWp on-site solar power capacity at the Bank’s Disaster Recovery Centre in Jaipur.
These initiatives have led to an overall reduction in energy consumption and Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions.
Total onsite renewable energy capacity at March 31, 2019
CO2 emissions avoided due to clean energy usage in fiscal 2019
Total off-site renewable energy capacity through power purchase mechanism
CO2 emissions saved through energy conservation projects in fiscal 2019
Total renewable energy consumed in fiscal 2019
Total CO2 emissions saved in fiscal 2019
The Bank’s electricity consumption has decreased and electricity expenses have remained stable in the last five financial years despite an increase in branches, offices and employee strength, and rise in electricity tariffs and diesel prices.
The Bank’s per unit energy consumption has seen a significant decrease between fiscal 2015 to fiscal 2019. EPI (i.e. Energy Performance Index = annual energy consumption at facility in kWh/area of facility in square meter) for the large offices reduced by 23% and EPM (Energy Performance Metric = monthly energy consumption in kWh/area in square feet) for branches reduced by 34% over the last four financial years.
The Bank’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions for 16 large offices and two data centres are given below.
Water consumption per day in the 16 large offices of the Bank was 20.0% lower than the benchmark of 45 litres per person per day as per the Bureau of Indian Standards for large offices. The Bank has undertaken various initiatives to conserve water. The Bank recycles and reuses waste water at three large offices including the head office at Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai. Water-efficient plumbing fixtures have been installed in all large offices and new branches of the Bank. Rain water harvesting is undertaken at three large offices.
Adoption of sustainable banking practices has been an ongoing effort for the Bank. This is achieved by encouraging customers to go digital in their banking activities and offering financial products and services that are digitally processed end-to-end. Most of the Bank’s ATMs are today paperless. Credit decisioning is now done on the basis of e-dedupes and several letters and advices have been made paperless. Loans, including large-ticket loans like home loans, are being processed on digital platform, thus reducing the need for paper. The Bank pioneered the use of tablets for account opening in India. In another pioneering initiative, the Bank harnessed blockchain technology to enable automation of inter-bank processes for trade finance and remittances which has not only reduced transaction costs and processing time, but also resulted in paper savings at an industry level.
In fiscal 2019, the Bank’s consumption of A4 paper declined by about 24 million sheets. The Bank’s consumption of A4 paper was 14.9% lower compared to fiscal 2018 and 34.5% lower compared to fiscal 2017. This was made possible through restrictions on usage and rationalisation of various application forms as part of the green banking initiatives. The total savings in paper in fiscal 2019 was equivalent to 3,400 trees saved. The Bank procures environment-friendly copier paper which is manufactured from wheat straw, which is an agricultural residue.
The Bank has been focussing on waste reduction and its management in every aspect of its operations. As a financial services company, waste generation is primarily classified as wet waste, dry waste which is mostly paper and e-waste arising from discarded electrical and electronic devices.
Recycling of organic waste using composting technique is being undertaken at the Bank’s offices in Mumbai at Bandra-Kurla Complex and Chandivali, and at the learning centre in Khandala.
E-waste is disposed by handing over to certified recyclers. Reuse of electronic devices is also an important focus area. The Bank uses re-manufactured toners in printers which are recycled at least 2-3 times. The Bank also recycles its IT assets which are subsequently donated. In fiscal 2019, a total of 1,002 assets were donated. A large number of these donations were made to educational institutes.
The Bank has adopted corporate objectives for environment-conservation activities in conformity with the ISO-14001 standard 'International Organisation for Standardisation' for environmental management systems. This enables the Bank in developing policies for addressing the objectives of environmental sustainability and assessment of impact of the Bank’s activities, products and services on the environment. Health and safety systems at 13 large offices of the Bank have been OHSAS 18001:2007 certified. The environment management systems of the corporate headquarters at Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai are both OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 14001:2004 certified. The corporate headquarters has been successfully re-audited for ISO 14001:2015 compliance in April 2018.
As a recognition of the Bank's contribution towards
maintaining ecological balance, ICICI Bank’s Corporate
office in Bandra-Kurla Complex, its registered office
in Vadodara, its state-of-the-art data centre as well as
one of its branches in Hyderabad have been awarded
a 'Platinum' rating by IGBC. The data centre was the
country’s first data centre to be awarded ‘Platinum’
by IGBC. Gachibowli Tower in Hyderabad has been
awarded ‘Gold’ rating in Core & Shell category. The
office in Bandra‑Kurla Complex has been declared
as a ‘National Energy Leader’ in the office building
category by CII in fiscal 2019.