Green Actions for a Sustainable Future: World Environment Day Insights

5th June 2024

World Environment Day LinkedIn Post (1).jpg At Skipton Business Finance, we understand our responsibility to care for the environment and we see the opportunity to make positive change. That's why we've put in place various policies to ensure we're doing our part to protect the natural world.

Below are some of the insights and measures that Skipton Business Finance and the wider Skipton Group, which we are part of, are implementing for a better and more sustainable future.


The Skipton Group Working Towards Net Zero 

At Skipton Group we are committed to reducing the impact our operations have on the environment so that we can play our part in achieving the UK’s net zero target by 2050. 

We’re continuing to evolve our approach towards a Skipton Group net zero strategy, particularly as we gain more data to underpin our plans. As we continue to implement new measures and take additional steps to improve our sustainability, we are aiming to achieve net zero by 2045; almost five years ahead of the UK national target.

From 2022 to 2023, our total energy usage, including vehicles, has gone down by nearly 1,000 kWh and we have reduced emissions from operating offices, branches and fleet vehicles by approximately 500 tonnes. Switching to more energy-efficient LED lighting, investing in better building insulation and installing solar power options are just some of the ways that we have achieved this reduction. 

To help phase out the use of fossil fuels, we aim to purchase 100% renewable electricity for our Group operations whenever possible, ensuring it comes with a Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) or Renewable Gas Guarantee of Origin (RGGO) certification. This means that a proportion of the electricity that we consume is guaranteed to be generated by a renewable source. 

Reducing our use of fossil fuel consumption is only one half of the solution. Equally as important, is introducing new and sustainable alternatives, from our offices to our transport and more.

One of these alternatives is an optional new programme for employees, allowing them to lease electric or hybrid cars through the Green Salary Sacrifice Car Leasing Scheme introduced by the Society and Skipton Business Finance in 2023. This initiative helps colleagues reduce emissions from their commuting and personal vehicle use. Additionally, we continue to promote the cycle-to-work scheme.

To reach our targets will require the involvement of many different teams, including policy makers, the government, suppliers, and customers. Therefore, we are constantly monitoring UK environmental legislation and regulations and ensuring that any changes are acted upon. Our sustainability policy is regularly reviewed to ensure that we are doing everything we can to care of the environment.


Waste, Recycling and Water

In our ongoing efforts to manage waste responsibly, we are proud to divert over 99% of our waste from landfills. This success is largely due to encouraging our colleagues to thoughtfully consider the purchase and usage of business items, encouraging a culture of sustainability within our organisation.

Since 2019, we have made substantial progress in reducing single-use plastics, achieving an impressive reduction of over 80%. This achievement surpasses our initial goal of a 75% reduction by 2025. To further support our waste reduction efforts, we have equipped all branches of the Society with recycling bins. Additionally, we have transitioned our branch passbook wallets to recycled and recyclable cardboard instead of plastic, reinforcing our commitment to eco-friendly practices.

At the head office, we have also made significant changes to our cafe and restaurant operations. We have switched to food and drink packaging that is more easily recyclable and provide reusable crockery and utensils to minimise waste. Compared to the previous year, 2023 saw an increase in waste recycling of 9%. With the continued efforts of our colleagues, we hope to increase this in years to come.

When it comes to water management, one of our key initiatives is harvesting rainwater and installing auto sensors on taps, which significantly enhances our water efficiency. From 2022 to 2023 these initiatives have demonstrated a saving of over 300 cubic metres.

These initiatives reflect our continuing commitment to sustainability and our proactive approach to creating a more environmentally friendly workplace.

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Skipton Business Finance

Skipton Business Finance is dedicated to supporting UK small businesses by providing working capital across various industry sectors, including transport and distribution, manufacturing, recruitment, and commercial services. At SBF, we can focus on helping our clients achieve their goals in a sustainable manner.

In our commitment to sustainability, SBF chairs a working group at UK Finance to develop a unified procedure for calculating and reporting scope 3 emissions including: purchased goods and services, fuel- and energy-related activities, waste generated in operations, business travel and employee commuting. This will provide a consistent approach as we help industry work towards a more sustainable way of operating.

At Skipton Business Finance, we have helped some our clients become environmentally conscious by facilitating a Government-backed Loan (RLS), on top of their already existing facility with us, to install solar panels on their buildings to reduce their carbon emissions. Similarly, we assisted transport companies with additional working capital to switch their non-renewable energy vehicle fleet to electric vehicles.


Our 2024 Focus

Overall, we are very proud that the Skipton Group has already begun working towards a more sustainable future, however we are still committed to developing and expanding our approach even more in the coming years, both in the short term and in the long term. 

‘By 2028, our members will see us an influential player, driving meaningful change across environmental and social issues’ – David Travis, Group Sec & General Counsel. 

We are aware of the carbon footprint that we create. Therefore, one of our key targets is to consider other ways to reach and achieve our net zero target, reducing our emissions across the Skipton Group. We will continue to decarbonise our transport fleet and further explore the purchase of clean energy to power our businesses. In 2024 some of our goals include:

•    Strengthen our Group sustainability proposition and roadmap 

•    Setting carbon targets to help reach near-term and net zero targets

•    We maintain high standards of corporate governance by incorporating into our board structure 

•    Collaborate further across the Group to increase customer and colleague understanding of sustainability issues.


We regularly review and update our businesses sustainability standards through our corporate governance. It is important to us that we meet not only the national expectations in the coming years, but also our own expectations within the Skipton Group, and we are optimistic that we will be able to exceed our targets and play our part in creating a sustainable future.