OCBC Bank to invest more than S$25 million to reduce its global carbon footprint
OCBC Bank will invest more than S$25 million in decarbonisation efforts in Singapore, Malaysia and Greater China. The investments will be used to deploy energy-efficient technology to reduce its carbon emissions, and solar energy systems that will increase renewables in its energy mix for powering operations. The investments will reduce approximately 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions within the next four years. This is equivalent to removing close to 10,000 cars from the road.
OCBC Bank has committed to achieving carbon neutrality in operational emissions from 2022, guided by the drive to accelerate its own decarbonisation efforts even as it supports the local transition to renewable energy and carbon offset projects that have verifiable benefits to local communities and economies. Therefore, as the investment in the bank’s decarbonisation efforts of its operations bear fruit, the investment in carbon offset projects to eliminate the residual and unavoidable emissions, through the purchase of carbon credits, will reduce.
Deployment of energy-efficient technology
OCBC Bank’s managed buildings and data centre will be retrofitted with more energy-efficient technologies. These include replacing conventional lightings with LEDs and changing to more energy-efficient air-conditioning systems.
For a start, OCBC Bank’s regional data centre – which contributes 40 per cent of the bank’s carbon emissions in Singapore – will implement a rack-based cooling system by the end of this year. This will see the facility’s emissions reduced by over 400 tonnes annually, equivalent to removing close to 400 cars from the roads. Rack-based cooling is one of the latest energy-efficient cooling methods for data centres as it allows for targeted chilling with the cooling units installed in closer proximity to the servers.
The purpose-built data centre was accorded the BCA-IMDA (Building and Construction Authority – Infocomm Media Development Authority) Green Mark Platinum Award in 2017.
As announced in April this year, OCBC Tampines Centre Two’s air-conditioning system will be retrofitted to connect to SP Group’s district cooling network at the Tampines Town Centre. Scheduled to be completed and operational in the first half of 2025, tapping into this innovative cooling solution, together with six other buildings, will help the town centre reduce its carbon emissions by 1,359 tonnes annually, equivalent to removing another 1,236 cars from the roads.
OCBC Bank also aims to achieve Green Mark certifications for all its retail branches by 2030. As of April 2022, four branches and eight buildings have received these certifications, with its learning and development hub OCBC Campus being accorded one earlier this year. (Refer to Annex A for the list of buildings and branches that have received the Green Mark certifications).
Shifting to renewable energy
To advance the shift to renewable energy, close to 10 of its buildings in Singapore, Malaysia and Greater China will be installed with solar energy systems by 2024. The energy that will be generated each year – over 2,000 MWh – will help offset OCBC Bank’s energy consumption in these markets, which can power more than 600 three-room HDB households.
OCBC Bank is also reviewing its other offices across its markets to assess their suitability for future solar energy installations. Concurrently, the Bank will source for and secure local renewable energy to power its operations as soon as viable.
Other initiatives in OCBC Bank’s decarbonisation roadmap include converting its fleet of corporate cars to electric vehicles and deploying electric vehicle charging facilities at major commercial buildings it manages. Earlier in March 2022, 10 charging points were installed at OCBC Centre – the largest electric vehicle charging hub in the central business district.
Mr Lim Khiang Tong, Group Chief Operating Officer, OCBC Bank said: “United Nations’ latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report once again stressed the urgent need to reduce global carbon footprint to avoid overheating. Hence, building a sustainable future is simply non-negotiable. It is all in our hands. Each and every one of us must do our part for future generations.
It is with this in mind that our priority is to accelerate our own decarbonisation efforts. While it will take time for these efforts to bear fruit, climate change will continue to impact the environment. Hence, we endeavour to support credible carbon offset projects to deliver immediate outcomes and allay the impact of climate change.”
Key milestones in OCBC Bank’s environmental sustainability journey
OCBC Bank actively champions environmental sustainability in the different communities it serves.
In 2019, OCBC Bank made a commitment to no longer finance new coal-fired power plants, becoming the first bank in Southeast Asia to do so.
As part of this green push, OCBC Bank adopted the Equator Principles in 2020. An internationally-recognised risk management framework, the Equator Principles serves as a guide how the Bank determines, assesses and manages environmental and social risks in projects.
To grow its sustainable finance portfolio, OCBC Bank has ramped up support for renewable energy projects and works closely with its customers on sustainability-linked loans and green loans. At the end of 2021, the Bank had achieved more than S$34 billion in commitment – surpassing the target of S$25 billion by 2025. Therefore, the target has been raised to S$50 billion, also by 2025.
On the consumer front, the Bank has launched OCBC Eco-Care Loans, including home, renovation and car loans, which incentivise individuals to own electric vehicles and to build more environmentally sustainable homes.
The #OCBCCares programme is also important in getting the community involved in the fight against climate change. Under the #OCBCCares Environment Fund to support ground-up initiatives to enhance Singapore’s sustainability landscape, we funded 15 initiatives amounting to S$265,000 from 2017 to 2019.
Under the #OCBCCares programme, the Bank has also supported the OCBC Arboretum, a landmark project at the Singapore Botanic Gardens which conserves and studies 200 species of dipterocarp trees. The 2,000 trees at the Arboretum can store 80 million kg of CO2 over their lifetimes. Research at the Arboretum can also improve future forestation and carbon storage projects.
List of OCBC branches and buildings with BCA Green Mark certifications