Climate Action Award 2023
Climate Change & Carbon Footprint

Climate Action Award 2023

Danske Bank, the largest bank in Northern Ireland, has been serving the community for more than 200 years.


It operates as an autonomous subsidiary of the Danske Bank Group and is guided by a clear purpose – to help customers, colleagues, and society thrive. With around 1,300 full-time employees, Danske Bank serves the needs of approximately half a million personal and business customers through various channels.

What Danske Bank did

Danske Bank recognised its fundamental role in society and the importance of responsible and sustainable practices. It adopted a clear climate strategy, focusing on two key ambitions: ‘Going Green Ourselves’ and ‘Helping Others Go Green.’ The bank’s Sustainability Team, led by the Head of Sustainability, developed this strategy, which encompasses various activities and partnerships aimed at driving climate action. Some key actions taken by the bank include:

  • Emissions Reduction: Danske Bank achieved its commitment to reduce Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 50% by 2030, eight years ahead of target. All standalone branches were made fossil fuel-free, and sustainability KPIs were included in employee performance objectives.
  • Climate Education: All staff undertook sustainability e-learning, and more than 100 Corporate & Business relationship managers obtained Carbon Literacy accreditation.
  • Business Transition: Danske Bank co-developed the Climate Action Programme with BITC, helping more than 100 NI businesses transition towards more sustainable practices, including over 50 Danske customers.
  • Sustainable Finance: The bank supported climate transition across its customer base, approving almost £1 billion of sustainable finance since 2021, including the launch of the UK’s first certified Carbon Neutral Mortgage.
  • Biodiversity and Community Engagement: Danske Bank partnered with organisations like Woodland Trust and Eco-Schools to promote biodiversity and reduce its environmental impact. It also engaged in advocacy through various communication channels and events to inform and engage stakeholders.

Key Impacts and Outcomes

Danske Bank’s climate strategy has yielded significant outcomes and impacts across various areas:

  • Business Performance: The bank witnessed a remarkable increase in sustainable finance, with more than £650 million in 2022, and 40% of new mortgages qualifying for the Carbon Neutral Mortgage due to their low emissions status
  • Colleague Engagement: The bank was rated an ‘Outstanding’ place to work by Best Companies, and over 50% of staff volunteered for sustainability projects
  • People Development: All colleagues undertook sustainability e-learning, and more than 100 Corporate and Business Managers obtained formal Carbon Literacy accreditation
  • Sustainable Workplace: Danske Bank achieved a 70% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions and reduced paper-based emissions by 39% since 2020
  • Enhanced Reputation: The bank’s external engagement and involvement in climate-related initiatives enhanced its reputation
  • Environmental Impact: Danske Bank successfully reduced carbon emissions, converted all standalone branches to fossil fuel-free heating, and planted almost 4000 trees in 2022, to promote biodiversity
  • Education and Awareness: The bank provided sustainability education for its staff and promoted positive behavioral change through various initiatives
  • Positive Impact Beyond Customer Base: Danske Bank actively advocated for accelerated climate action, supported the voluntary sector, and promoted circular economy principles

This is a much-reduced summary of Danske Bank’s climate strategy, which has shown significant success in reducing emissions, promoting sustainability, engaging colleagues, and positively impacting the environment and society. The bank’s focus on education, innovation, partnerships, and transparent reporting makes it a model for other organisations to replicate and contribute to climate transition and sustainability.

What the Judges said

“The judges commented that Danske Bank was able to demonstrate a high impact in its supply chain through scope 3 work. The bank is achieving its emissions reductions targets eight years ahead of schedule and striving to achieve more. The bank inspires others, both internally and externally, and financing change with £1billion of sustainable finance approvals since 2021.”

Highly commended in this category: Wrightbus