Our environment

As a financial services provider, we don't cause large environmental impacts through our own operations, but since 2006 we have been actively minimising our key impacts - we believe that this is part of being a responsible company.

We asked our stakeholders what they thought we should focus on to be a truly sustainable business. Taking on board this feedback we have key targets around these three areas:

Our environmental priorities along the bottom in three different shaded of blue - leading by example, using our influence and supporting our people. Each priority has some key environmental targets shown above them in balloons, for example Leading by example - we are aiming to reduce paper use by 14% by 2016.

Our operational impact

Since 2006 we've focused on reducing our biggest Green House Gas (GHG) emitting activities, aligning with our Climate Change Statement PDF (146KB) and Our Environment Policy PDF (300KB).

Improvements in our data, changes in our global structure and increased transparency in the data we can report on meant that our 2006 baseline was no longer appropriate and so we've moved to a 2013 baseline instead.

Focusing on our biggest emissions first:
For us this this means focusing on reducing our energy use (63% of our emissions), emissions from business travel (35%) and our use of materials (Paper 2% and <1% Waste). These are also costs to our business at around £4 million, £8.5 million, £500,000 and £100,000 a year respectively.

Our targets

Our three 20% reduction targets for 2020 in blue bubbles. For our green house gas emission reduction it splits off to show three more bubbles with more detail on how we will achieve this year on year eg. 2% annual reduction on energy (kWh)

How we are doing

Graph showing how our carbon footprint is split up across our emissions for 2013 and 2014, 2014 shows a 3% reduction. Our highest emissions for both years are from flights and electricity.

What we've achieved

  • 33% Reduction in energy use (in kWh since 2006)
  • 100% Green electricity purchased for all our UK owned and operated offices
  • 36% Reduction in emissions from air travel (since 2006)
  • 64% Reduction in paper use (since 2006)
  • 100% Paper from FSC® sources
  • 37% Reduction in total waste collected (since 2006)
  • 99% Diversion of waste from landfill

More information on how we are reducing all the above can be found in our 2016 Sustainability Report PDF (1.8MB).


We report our largest sources of emissions which are the most material to our business and therefore important for us to address. 

 View our latest CDP submissions (PDF, 386KB) along with more information about our CDP performance history.

Using our influence

As a global investment and savings business we know our influence as an investor and buyer of services has far greater environmental implications than that of our operations alone.


The integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the investment process is a key focus for Standard Life Investments. More information on this can be found on our ESG Investment website.

Real Estate

The improvements in energy performance that we make to our directly-managed real estate assets can have a greater impact than focusing on our operational impact alone. We make improvements through four main initiatives as below.

Our four real estate improvement initiatives around the outside of a circle they are renewable energy systems, energy efficient technology, energy management and talent engagement.

Case studies on how these initiatives lead to improvements can be found in Our Annual Real Estate Sustainability Report (PDF, 1.5MB)

Real Estate assets in the realms of our directly managed estate are set a five-year energy improvement target of 10% (a notional 2% annual target).


As part of our due diligence approach, suppliers are asked to evidence what they are doing in regards to environmental management. Suppliers' performance on environmental management is also taken into account during the tendering process.

We evaluate potential suppliers on their sustainable business practices. When we engage with suppliers for new services and products we consider their sustainability credentials when evaluating their bids.

Supporting our people

We are a large global company and employ around 6,500 people. We know our people have an impact on the environment both within and outside of work and we want to support them in reducing their impact.

We do this by providing our people with the technology they need to work more flexibly and by raising awareness through events to help people make the link between reducing their environmental impact, saving money and improving their quality of life.

Every year we run at least 2 events to educate our people on their own environmental impact and how reducing this could save them money

Map of the world showing how we can help our people to travel less, more actively or in a more environmentally friendly way to reduce their emissions and be healthy eg. Train v plane  and active travel eg cycling to work.

Support on travel

Advocating sustainable travel within work helps to reduce our operational carbon footprint and can lead to significant savings. We have invested significantly in technology which allows our people to work more flexibly, communicate efficiently and have effective meetings without the need to travel.

We also encourage our people to think about how they travel out of work. Every year we hold our Sustainable Travel Week to raise awareness of the environmental impact their travel can have. In recognition of our efforts, we gained the Cycle-Friendly Employer award for our Edinburgh Offices in 2015.

Support on energy

We run a number of events throughout the year to help our people look at how they can reduce their bills and their impact on the environment. In 2016, we worked with Home Energy Scotland to provide our people with free, impartial and tailored advice on saving energy in the home in order to reduce bills and environmental impact.
Good behaviours at home will hopefully mean that our people also replicate the behaviour at work thus helping to reduce our operational energy use, too.

Cycle friendly employer Resource efficiency pledge