In-house environmental management

In-house environmental management

In 2013 we continued to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint. Our emissions were down by 15% year-on-year, meaning we have already achieved a 49% reduction since 2004 and are very close to reaching our target of a 50% reduction by 2016. Additionally, we remain on track with our target to reduce energy and paper consumption, waste and water usage by 2016.

Continuously reducing our greenhouse gas footprint

In 2013, we reduced our greenhouse gas footprint again by decreasing our emissions 15% year on year, achieving a 49% reduction from baseline year 2004. This brings us very close to reaching our target of a 50% reduction by 2016. We also reduced our footprint per full-time employee 12% year on year. Our strong performance is a result of adopting energy efficiency measures to reduce the energy consumption of the buildings we occupy, and of critical facilities such as the data centers we use, while increasing the proportion of renewable energy. Emissions that cannot be reduced by other means (for example, business air travel) are offset.

UBS’s Environmental Program was introduced in the 1970s, and since 1999, we have managed the program through an Environmental Management System in accordance with ISO 14001. At the time, we were the first bank to obtain ISO 14001 certification for our Group-wide environmental management system. In addition, our greenhouse gas emissions data is externally verified according to ISO 14064 standards.

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Environmental indicators and statistics

Environmental targets and performance in our operations
  GRI2 2013 Target 2016 Baseline % change from baseline Progress / 2012 2011
Achievement 7
Total net greenhouse gas emissions (GHG footprint) in t carbon equivalents  4 EN15-17 183,011 -50% 360501 5 -49.2 On track 215,279 220,593
Energy consumption in GWh EN3 737 -10% 761 6 -3.2 On track 761 827
Share of renewable energy EN3 49% increase 24%5 104.2 On track 42% 45%
GHG offsetting (business air travel) in t carbon equivalents
EN18 72,612 100% 0 5 100 On track 73,024 88,867
Paper consumption in kg per FTE 8 EN1 121 -5% 122 6 -1.1 On track 122 122
Share of recycled and FSC paper EN2 57.60% 60% 55.8% 6 3.1 On track 55.80% 44.30%
Waste in kg per FTE8 EN23 213 -5% 230 6 -7.8 On track 230 242
Waste recycling ratio EN23 55.60% 60% 54.2% 6 2.5 Behind schedule 54.20% 54.20%
Water consumption in m m3 EN8 1.77 -5% 1.95 6 -9.1 On track 1.95 2

Legend: CO2e = carbon equivalents; FTE = full-time employee; GWh = giga watt hour; kWh = kilo watt hour; km = kilometer; kg = kilogram; m m3 = million cubic meter; t = tonne

1 Detailed environmental indicators are available on the internet Reporting period 2013 (1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013).
2 Related to Global Reporting Initiative (see also EN stands for the environmental performance indicators as defined in the GRI.
3 Gross GHG emissions include: direct GHG emissions by UBS; indirect GHG emissions associated with the generation of imported / purchased electricity (grid average emission factor), heat or steam and other indirect GHG emissions associated with business travel, paper consumption and waste disposal.
4 GHG footprint equals gross GHG emissions minus GHG reductions from renewable energy and GHG offsets.
5 Baseline year 2004
6 Baseline year 2012
7 FTEs are calculated on an average basis including contractors.

Environmental indicators1
    20132     20122 20112
  GRI3 Absolute normalized4 Data quality5 Trend6 Absolute normalized4 Absolute normalized4
Total direct and intermediate energy consumption7   737 GWh *** Stable 761 GWh 827 GWh
Total direct energy consumption8 EN3 119 GWh ** Low increasing 112 GWh 128 GWh
natural gas   77.7% ** Stable 84.8% 84.2%
heating oil   16.3% *** Increasing 12.3% 13.1%
fuels (petrol, diesel, gas)   5.9% *** Increasing 2.9% 2.6%
renewable energy (solar power, etc.)   0.10% *** Increasing 0.03% 0.03%
Total intermediate energy purchased9 EN3 618 GWh *** Stable 649 GWh 699 GWh
electricity from gas-fired power stations   15.1% ** Decreasing 19.3% 18.1%
electricity from oil-fired power stations   2.4% *** Stable 2.4% 2.3%
electricity from coal-fired power stations   14.1% ** Low decreasing 17.2% 15.8%
electricity from nuclear power stations   10.2% ** Low decreasing 12.3% 10.8%
electricity from hydroelectric power stations   30.5% *** Stable 30.0% 29.5%
electricity from other renewable resources   17.4% *** Increasing 11.0% 13.9%
district heating   10.3% *** Increasing 7.7% 9.7%
Share of renewable energy and district heating   49% *** Increasing 42% 45%
Total business travel EN30 658 m Pkm *** Stable 649 m Pkm 762 m Pkm
rail travel10   1.7% *** Stable 1.7% 1.5%
road travel10   1.1% ** Stable 1.1% 0.4%
air travel   97.2% *** Stable 97.2% 98.1%
Number of flights (segments)                      287,483 *** Low decreasing                    308,555                    337,573
Total paper consumption EN1 7,693 t *** Stable 8,083 t 8,093 t
post-consumer recycled EN2 18.7% *** Decreasing 21.1% 18.2%
new fibers FSC11   38.9% *** Increasing 34.7% 26.1%
new fibers ECF + TCF11   42.3% *** Stable 43.9% 55.6%
new fibers chlorine bleached   0.2% ** Low decreasing 0.2% 0.1%
Total waste EN23 13,551 t *** Decreasing 15,264 t 16,083 t
valuable materials separated and recycled   55.6% *** Stable 54.2% 54.2%
incinerated   19.9% *** Low increasing 18.5% 20.0%
landfilled   24.4% ** Low decreasing 27.3% 25.8%
Total water consumption12 EN8 1.77 m m3 ** Stable 1.95 m m3 2.00 m m3
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions in carbon equivalents
Direct GHG emissions (Scope 1)13 EN15 24,122 t *** Stable 21,838 t 25,232 t
Gross indirect GHG emissions (Gross Scope 2)13 EN16 195,066 t *** Low decreasing 207,630 t 227,978 t
Gross other indirect GHG emissions (Gross Scope 3)13 EN17 92,811 t *** Stable 94,044 t 110,010 t
Total Gross GHG Emissions   311,998 t *** Stable 323,513 t 363,220 t
GHG reductions from renewable energy14   -56,375 t *** Increasing -35,209 t -53,759 t
carbon equivalents offsets (business air travel)15   -72,612 t *** Stable -73,024 t -88,867 t
Total Net GHG Emissions (GHG Footprint)16   183,011 t *** Decreasing 215,279 t 220,593 t
Legend: GWh = giga watt hour; Pkm = person kilometer; t = ton; m3 = cubic meter; m = million; CO2e = carbon equivalents

1 All figures are based on the level of knowledge as of January 2014.
2 Reporting period: 2013 (1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013), 2012 (1 July 2011 - 30 June 2012), 2011 (1 July 2010 - 30 June 2011)
3 Global Reporting Initiative (see also EN stands for the Environmental Performance Indicators as defined in the GRI.
4 Non-significant discrepancies from 100% are possible due to roundings.
5 Specifies the estimated reliability of the aggregated data and corresponds approximately to the following uncertainty (confidence level 95%): up to 5% - ***, up to 15% - **, up to 30% - *. Uncertainty is the likely difference between a reported value and a real value.
6 Trend: at a *** /**/ * data quality, the respective trend is stable if the variance equals 5/10/15%, low decreasing/increasing if it equals 10 /20/30% and decreasing/increasing if the variance is bigger than 10/20/30%.
7 Refers to energy consumed within the operational boundaries of UBS.
8 Refers to primary energy purchased which is consumed within the operational boundaries of UBS (oil, gas, fuels).
9 Refers to energy purchased that is produced by converting primary energy and consumed within the operational boundaries of UBS (electricity and district heating).
10 Rail and road travel: Switzerland only.
11 Paper produced from new fibers. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, ECF for Elementary Chlorine Free and TCF for Totally Chlorine Free.
12 Predominantly municipal water.
13 Refers to ISO 14064 and the "GHG (greenhouse gas) protocol initiative" (, the international standards for GHG reporting: scope 1 accounts for direct GHG emissions by UBS; gross scope 2 accounts for indirect GHG emissions associated with the generation of imported/purchased electricity (grid average emission factor), heat or steam; gross scope 3 accounts for other indirect GHG emissions associated with business travel, paper consumption and waste disposal.
14 GHG savings by consuming electricity from renewable sources.
15 Offsets from third-party GHG reduction projects measured in carbon equivalents (CO2e). These offsets neutralize GHG emission from our business air travel.
16 GHG footprint equals gross GHG emissions minus GHG reductions from renewable energy and CO2e offsets.

Environmental indicators1 per full-time employee
  Unit 2013 Trend 2012 2011
Direct and intermediate energy kWh / FTE 11,555 - 11,485 12,459
Business travel Pkm / FTE 10,318 -- 9,805 11,489
Paper consumption kg / FTE 121 = 122 122
Waste kg / FTE 213 = 230 242
Water consumption m3 / FTE 27.8 = 29.5 30.1
CO2 footprint t / FTE 2.87 = 3.25 3.32

Legend: FTE2 = full-time employee; kWh = kilo watt hour; Pkm = person kilometer; kg = kilogram; m3 = cubic meter; t = ton

1.Reporting period 2013 (1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013). 2.FTE are calculated on an average basis including contractors.

Case studies

Reducing our environmental footprint by moving from many inefficient buildings to one certified building in Zurich

Previously, UBS employees in Zurich were spread around the city in various old and energy inefficient buildings. Through our footprint project we moved around 10'000 employees from 54 buildings into 17 consolidated and refurbished offices. As a result, our energy consumption has been reduced by around 7% over the last few years. As part of this, UBS constructed a new low energy (Minergie) office at Europaallee in Zurich city center, with the capacity for 2'400 employees.

Energy & Atmosphere
Europaalle was built in accordance with the Swiss low energy standard label. The building’s shell was designed to reduce energy consumption by over 25% compared with average new constructions. In addition to efficient building technology and lighting, employees work year-round in a comfortable environment. The building’s electricity consumption is covered 100% by labeled hydro power. Heat is drawn from district heating from waste incineration. There is no fossil fuel on site.

Sustainable and public transport
The new building has excellent public transport links as it is located next to Zurich main train station. There is only a very limited car parking capacity. Secure bicycle storage, changing rooms, showers and Mobility car-sharing all support sustainable commuting.

The decision was made to build Europaallee on a disused industrial site rather than on greenbelt land. The building’s roof has been planted-up to enhance biodiversity. In addition, the building’s design reduces light pollution.

Sustainability has been integral to the 5 Broadgate design from the start. UBS collaborated closely with the developer (British Land) to ensure a sustainable building design in line with our commitment to reduce our environmental impact. The building’s design has been recognized internationally: BREEAM Excellent for base building confirmed and LEED Platinum (targeted) for internal fit-out. This office building will provide over 700,000 sq ft (66,890 sq m) of new space.

The buildings features include:

Staff Facilities

  • Excellent cycling facilities (520 bicycle spaces, 50 showers, and 528 lockers)
  • Vending design includes dishwashers and mugs/glasses to replace paper cups
  • Centralized recycling stations and bin-less office
  • Toilet design with sensors, lower flow rate, low flush toilets and energy efficient hand dryer
  • Staff restaurant to include cutlery and crockery; disposables will only be used for take away; all appliances will be Energy Star rated

Energy Efficiency

  • Intelligent building management system optimises building performance (occupancy sensors linked to lighting, cooling, etc.)
  • 850m² photovoltaic panels, generating 102,845 KWh of electricity per year
  • 350m² solar thermal panels used to heat the water in the building
  • Energy Star rated IT and catering equipment (energy star = certified energy efficiency)

Water Efficiency

  • Rainwater harvesting tank – water used in the toilets (rain water collected from the roof and used in toilets)
  • Water borehole allows water supply from underground supplies at optimum temperatures for air conditioning systems.

Sustainable Materials

  • Targeted 100% FSC certified wood including furniture. FSC = Forestry Stewardship Council certified and guarantees that wood is from sustainable sources


  • On-site habitat creation initiatives, including a green roof, tree planting, landscaping, bird and bat boxes and bug hotels

Our expansion to offices in Poland and South Africa was completed successfully. Both locations are now fully compliant with the requirements of ISO14001. Both locations have implemented environmental management systems and will continue to improve and reduce their environmental impact. 

Climate protection is on the menu at UBS restaurants in Switzerland

Can a schnitzel cause more environmental damage than a car? Indeed, food comes out ahead of private transportation with regard to impact on the climate–the most significant items being meat and dairy products.

The 19 UBS restaurants in Switzerland prepare 2.2 million meals each year. This opens up enormous potential to protect the climate and to raise awareness among employees about the connection between food and climate protection. UBS has a contractual agreement in place with the commissioned caterer to:

  • purchase mainly regional, sustainable and fair trade products
  • increase the amount and quality of vegetables, salads and vegetarian dishes
  • reduce energy and water consumption by 2% p.a.
  • reduce waste (food and other waste) and increase recycling by efficient management, offer clients tap water
  • clean with environmental friendly products
  • offer regular training for cooks other staff
  • apply socially responsible employment practices

In order to ensure implementation, we held a workshop with all caterers and restaurant managers. Different measures have been agreed upon such as making vegetarian meals tastier and one day per week the main menu will be without meat. Results of this became apparent after six months folowing implementation: In most restaurants, UBS employees are pleased with the changes and support the initiative. Restaurant managers report that at least one day per week the vegetarian dish is the most popular menu item.