The bank has also achieved the highest level in the latest NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey, retaining Platinum level for a second year. The annual survey is carried out by Business in the Community Northern Ireland and benchmarks organisations each other based on environmental management and performance, and green leadership.

Danske Bank has participated in the survey for a number of years and is the top ranked bank.

However, Danske Bank has now significantly stepped up its commitment to addressing climate change and sustainability, creating a dedicated Head of Climate Risk and Sustainability role to develop and implement this strategy in collaboration with colleagues across the business.

Danske is part of a campaign steering group of Climate Champions made up of leading NI business representatives. Together they are working on a Business Action on Climate campaign to address the climate crisis. A cornerstone of the campaign, the Climate Action Pledge, invites signatories to commit to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% or 30% by 2030, ahead of the UK government trajectory to achieving Net Zero by 2050.

Chris Martin, Head of Climate Risk & Strategy, explained:

“Businesses have an important part to play in addressing the climate crisis. At Danske we have embedded sustainability and climate change into our core business and have set ourselves ambitious targets.

“Part of this is about looking at how we run our business and the impact we are having on the environment. Benchmarking ourselves forces us to look again at our approach but also to think differently about how as an office and retail based organisation we can contribute to making a difference.

“We’ve made a lot of great progress in recent years, reducing the environmental impact of our property estate through measures such as replacing inefficient gas boilers, installing LED lighting, installing solar panels, planting wildflower gardens and introducing initiatives to reduce the use of single-use plastic.

“But we are on a journey and are continually challenging ourselves to be better in this area, which is why we have made a public commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.

“NI businesses will increasingly be challenged about their approach to climate change by their customers and suppliers. It’s time to take action, but addressing climate change isn’t a one and done approach, it takes time, thought, effort and commitment. We would encourage other businesses starting to look at this to think big and start small and to get involved in Business in the Community’s Business Action on Climate Campaign.”

Geraldine Noé, Head of Environment at Business in the Community, added:

“Now is the time for business to step up and take action on the climate crisis and Danske Bank is demonstrating real green leadership through the appointment of a Head of Climate Risk & Strategy. In this role, Chris Martin will ensure that climate issues are front and centre of the bank’s future strategy, and this is to be commended.

“I have no doubt that the bank will walk the talk when it comes to driving the Climate Action agenda – within the bank itself, with Business in the Community as Climate Champions of the Business Action on Climate campaign, and by inspiring others to make significant changes that make a positive difference to the planet.”

The Pledge and the Business Action on Climate campaign is led by Business in the Community Northern Ireland in partnership with CBI, IoD, NI Chamber and FSB.