Sustainable banking: A greener way to bank
At Starling, we’re determined to do our part to fight climate change and protect the environment.
In 2021, we became a founder member of TechZero, a climate action group for UK tech companies committed to fighting the climate crisis. We’re making good progress on the road to becoming a net zero company. Our target is a one third reduction in carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030. And, from 2021, we’re offsetting our carbon emissions annually.
On a mission to carbon neutrality
Working with sustainability consultancy Orbis Advisory, we’ve completed our first greenhouse gas audit, which tells us exactly where our emissions come from. We’ve also aligned with the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a global research non-profit organisation, who have set us short and long-term targets.
As a digital bank, our direct emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2) are extremely low compared to more traditional banks. However, we know we can do more. Reducing our emissions will only get us so far, so part of our plan involves buying carbon avoidance and sequestration credits to offset our direct and indirect emissions. That means choosing projects like woodland creation, ocean-based or peat preservation schemes. It’s up to the Starling team to decide, and we want everyone to have a say.
What have we done so far for greener, more sustainable banking?
Digital-first banking. We’ve been branchless and paperless from the very beginning, transforming the way people traditionally manage their money.
The greener way to pay. In March 2021, our personal and business account cards became the first UK Mastercard debit cards to be made from recycled plastic. Our packaging is also 100% recyclable, including a more eco-friendly water-based glue.
Eco-friendly offices. Our three UK offices – London, Southampton and Cardiff – run on renewable energy. We also have a Cycle to Work scheme on offer, which encourages employees to get a new bike through ‘salary sacrifice’ and save tax.
Partnerships with purpose
We choose to align with businesses and causes that hold similar values to us. Going forward, we’ll look at the environmental impact of all new partners and suppliers before we embark on new projects. In turn, this encourages our Starling customers and staff to make more mindful choices – for people and for planet. Here’s what we’ve been up to:
The National Trust looks after the places you love, from houses, buildings and gardens to coast and countryside. They work hard to protect the UK’s wildlife, landscape and historic sites for future generations, and to make nature accessible for everyone. Working with the Trust, we’re investing in workshops to give primary and secondary school children better access to nature. We’re also supporting sustainability projects, such as protecting the UK’s peatlands. And, if you successfully refer a friend to Starling, you’ll earn a free day out at a National Trust site.
Seat at the Table
In October 2021, Starling became proud sponsors of Seat at the Table: an 11-part YouTube documentary series that follows presenter Jack Harries on a journey across the UK, ending at COP 26: the UN Climate Change Summit. With over 3.7m subscribers, the filmmaker and activist shares stories from across the world of people on the frontline of climate change, from farmers to firefighters, and special guests include Sir David Attenborough and Jane Goodall.
Between July 2021 and January 2023, we supported Instavolt to help accelerate their ambitions in green transport. As a rapid electric vehicle charger network that uses 100% renewable energy, InstaVolt aims to reduce air pollution and encourage more electric cars on the road. We saw this as something worth shouting about – so much so that we branded 100 charging terminals across the UK with the Starling name.
Forests are the lungs of the earth and trees are one of our best defences in reducing carbon dioxide. In 2020, we created an eco-minded referral scheme for Starling personal and business customers through a fruitful partnership with Trillion Trees. Every time a customer recommended Starling to someone and that person became a new customer, we planted a tree as a thank you. By the end of our partnership in March 2023, we funded the planting of 100,000 trees.
London is made up of 35,000 acres of public green spaces – equivalent to 40% of its surface area – making it one of the greenest cities of its size in the world. It’s hugely important to look after our parks and gardens – particularly in polluted urban environments – to nurture the UK’s biodiversity. With this in mind, we supported the summer 2021 Secret World of Plants programme at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: the UNESCO World Heritage Site and iconic London attraction.
What are we doing next?
We’ve embarked on our journey towards carbon neutrality, and it’s all systems go. More details can be found on our TechZero page. We’ll keep you updated on our website and social media channels as we progress. There’s a long road ahead, but we’re determined to be on the side of change.