We are setting a good example

Commerzbank wants to reduce its own banking operations' CO₂ emissions to net zero by 2040 at the latest.

Beate Schlosser
People at a conference table looking at a sustainability chart.
Counteract Climate change with a net zero strategy. © Adobe Stock, Summit Art Creations
The EU’s aim is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2045. Cities, communities, and local authorities have similar plans. So do companies. But what measures must be put in place to reduce your CO₂ footprint? Commerzbank gives an insight.

We lead by example – that’s Commerzbank’s motto. From 2007 to 2020, the Bank significantly reduced its greenhouse gas emissions – by 80 percent in Germany. Office buildings are powered by green electricity exclusively and LED lights are the norm in its nationwide branches. Banking operations have been climate-neutral since 2015. For remaining emissions, certificates from CO₂ compensation projects such as the construction of wind farms are used.

Net zero is our goal

This bar was raised in 2021. As a member of the United Nations Net-Zero Banking Alliance, Commerzbank has voluntarily committed to reduce CO₂ emissions in its banking operations to net zero by 2040. All opportunities to avoid emissions must be utilised. Only unavoidable emissions can be offset with certificates. These must be invested in projects that permanently remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere – such as reforestation. The tight restrictions on offsetting and the unrestricted focus on avoiding CO₂ make the net zero standard stricter than climate neutrality.

There are many ways to avoid CO₂

An intermediate stage on the way to net zero is Commerzbank's climate target: 30 percent less CO₂ than in 2018. Originally set for 2025, the Bank achieved this figure three years earlier. Even in 2023, when the measures against Covid were discontinued and operational activities picked up speed again, emissions remained relatively low. Compared to pre-pandemic times, meetings are still often held as video conferences. An internal benefit to lease bicycles provides additional motivation for colleagues to switch to climate-friendly transportation options.

In facility management, the focus lies on high-tech, for example with artificial intelligence in building services. Here, the energy supply is controlled by solar radiation and humidity and as soon as the measured values change, consumption adapts flexibly to the actual demand. This saves energy and therefore CO₂.

Supplier portfolio to become climate neutral

Commerzbank also applies ecological criteria when selecting suppliers and service providers, thereby actively influencing their sustainable alignment. Environmental labels, such as the German Blue Angel, or a certified environmental management system help with both assessment and selection. The Bank expects the suppliers in its portfolio to be climate-neutral by 2040 at the latest. This way it follows an ambitious target and acts as a role model for its suppliers because of its own reduction targets. Using the criteria of climate neutrality, Commerzbank considers that its suppliers are diverse in terms of company size, CO₂ intensity and transformation progress in the industry.


Further information

Find out more about Commerzbank’s operational ecology.