NAB's path to carbon neutrality

Jane Farago, Climate Alliance Limited

As most Australian businesses start to grapple with the idea of a carbon price, it won’t cause a ripple at one of the nation’s largest firms. NAB put its own price on carbon three years ago. It’s a process that has fed into company strategy, unlocked new relationships with both customers and suppliers and, above all, unleashed an amazing boon in staff engagement; when NAB CEO John Stewart announced in 2007 that the bank was to become carbon neutral, his inbox was flooded with proud congratulatory emails from staff.

The story began with a question posed to the bank’s strategy team, but quickly gathered momentum as people from all areas of the organisation volunteered their input. With strong support from a committed executive, the initiative was rolled out, not as an isolated project, but as one the entire organisation could feel a sense of involvement with.

The initiative proved to be strongly aligned with corporate strategy. Over just three years, NAB made energy savings of 25%. But the benefits went much deeper than that: NAB gained expertise that helps them to serve their business customers; stimulated innovation and business efficiencies; galvanised their staff and made them ambassadors for the bank. It’s the embodiment of a growing approach to business, ‘profiting by doing good’.

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