Co-operative Bank praised for environmental work

Amanda Jarvis

February 10, 2006

Today The Co-operative Bank announced that during the next 12 months its “green” mortgages will once again contribute in the region of £250,000 to tackle climate change. This will help replant forest in Uganda, provide fuel-efficient cooking stoves to the poor of Madagascar and lead to the generation of renewable energy in India.

On the contribution of Co-operative Bank customers, Mr Morley said: “While significant progress is being delivered through Government-led initiatives, Government alone cannot deliver the changes needed to make the transition to a low carbon economy. Business and individuals need to make a contribution in terms of becoming more energy efficient as well.

“The Co-operative Bank mortgage initiative is an innovative example of business partnering with consumers to make a sustainable difference. I’d like to see more businesses follow The Co-operative Bank’s lead by exploring ways of building such features into their products and services.”

For every mortgage on its books, each year, The Co-operative Bank makes a payment to Climate Care, an organisation dedicated to helping combat global warming by countering the emissions of carbon dioxide which are a by-product of energy consumption.

This year, the Co-operative Bank projects will help offset, or counter over 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide generated by Co-operative Bank customers' homes (a fifth of each customers annual emissions from domestic electricity and gas use). Homes produce almost a quarter of the UK’s total output of carbon dioxide emissions.

David Anderson, Chief Executive of Co-operative Financial Services added: “CFS has never shied away from global climate change, arguably the greatest threat facing the world today.
“Since we launched our ‘green’ mortgages in 2000, the Bank has offset almost 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide on behalf of our customers, that’s enough to fill 39,000 hot air balloons.”

Projects funded by the Bank include:

* Funding a local Madagascan organisation that runs training courses on how to build fuel-efficient stoves. These are built from local natural materials and can produce fuel savings of up to 65 per cent. Approximately 4,000 stoves will be built in 2006. The introduction of these stoves will help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and pressure on local forestry resources. As the stoves burn more efficiently, there is also an improvement in indoor air quality, which it is hoped will lead to a decline in respiratory illnesses.
* The funding of two 0.33 MW wind turbines in Karnataka, India will displace energy presently generated from fossil fuels. In combination, the turbines are expected to produce enough electricity to power 230 homes. Each turbine has a ten year life span and the two turbines will save a total of 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide during their life.
* The funding of a project to improve household energy efficiency in the Yasin Valley, in northern Pakistan. In this area, temperatures are very severe and work will be undertaken to upgrade insulation, fuel-efficient stoves and water heaters. This will reduce pressure on natural resources and unsustainable deforestation.
* Continued replanting of an area of the Kibale National Park in Uganda with native trees. Much of the park was cut down in the 1960s and 70s, but through the support of the Bank, over 185 hectares of forest have been replanted, providing a valuable source of employment to around 400 local workers. This is a project that the Bank has supported since 2000, and the first areas to be replanted now have a closed canopy with trees of differing ages and species

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