<Focus on sustainability <Employees <Products and services <Employees Ecological impact >Ethics and integrity
The financial sector plays an important role in financing the climate transition. Argenta takes full responsibility by consciously addressing with the ecological impact of its activities. Because banking and insurance should, literally, not cost the earth.
Impact as an organisation
Argenta is resolved to halve the ecological footprint of the head office in Belgium and the Netherlands and Luxembourg offices by 2023. Argenta wants to be climate-neutral by 2030. For this reason we have opted for sustainable technologies in the construction of our headquarters, are committed to sustainable mobility and are striving to work completely paper-free. To achieve our targets, the ecological footprint must decrease by 10% annually compared to the initial measurements in 2017. And we are well on our way. The ecological footprint in 2021 was 1,026 tons of CO₂ , which is a decrease of 1,505 tons of CO₂, or -59%, compared with 2017.
A sustainable headquarters building
The new building is not only equipped with sustainable technologies, but also has parking for 300 bicycles, along with charging points, drying racks and showers. Car parking is charged at Argenta. In this way, Argenta inspires its employees to come to work sustainably.
Climate change poses many challenges for the financial sector. Argenta therefore paid a great deal of attention in 2021 to mapping out the impact of climate risks on its business model, and drew up a long-term plan to guide it safely into the future.
Impact via product offering
Argenta has chosen to replace the existing digipasses with CO₂-neutral ones. These sustainable digipasses work with rechargeable batteries and are made from recycled material.
Argenta is strongly committed to reducing paper consumption: by 2023, all documents must be digitally available to customers. In 2021, various processes were made contactless and digital, to allow services to customers to continue in safe conditions. The following initiatives were also taken:
- Becoming an Argenta online customer via the app is now extended to customers who do not have Itsme®;
- Replacing a defective card via the Argenta app
- Managing daily transfer limits
- confirming and changing personal data (address etc.) via the Argenta app and through Internet banking (in the context of the anti-money laundering legislation).
- Linking the Argenta current account to the Payconiq by Bancontact app. Customers can now easily make payments to their friends remotely using the Payconiq by Bancontact app, and use extra services like purchasing tickets from De Lijn.
Argenta also wants to commit to a sustainable and climate-neutral world via its the investment funds. By 2023, Argenta's investment offering will be fully sustainable. Fourteen of the Argenta investment solutions had their Febelfin Towards Sustainability labels renewed in 2021.
Argenta's policy choices, fully aimed at sustainability and long-term relationships, are clearly bearing fruit. Just like last year, the label was renewed in 2021 for the Argenta funds 'Argenta Fund Responsible Growth (Defensive)', 'Argenta Fund Responsible Utilities' and 'Argenta Fund Responsible Materials'. Label renewals were also obtained for the branch 23 counterparts.
Another key principle is the need for a strong focus on a lower ecological footprint.
Compared with 2020, the average ecological footprint per fund decreased from 133 to 101 tonnes CO₂ per million euros invested, while 4.3 tonnes CO₂ emissions per million euros were avoided by investing in renewable energy.
By supporting customers with the sustainable renovation or purchase of a home, Argenta is committed to the transition to sustainable residential property. Homes with a good sustainability or EPC scores emit less CO₂. In 2021, Argenta took action to collect more sustainability information about the projects in which it invests. This included efforts to collect EPC data on home loans. In the future, Argenta wants to gear its product range even better to sustainable transition needs.
In insurance, the impact of physical climate risks, such as sensitivity to flooding or other natural disasters, is very important, given its obvious relevant for customers’ fire insurance (In Belgium, water damage is generally appended to fire insurance). The rapid processing of water damage files and future prevention of such damage will only gain in importance at Argenta in years to come. But risks can also arise for insurance funds as investment markets transition in response to climate change. In 2021, Argenta drew up a climate action plan intended to guide Argenta safely into the future.
Since January 2021, insurance certificates are sent out only once a year, together with expiry notices. This means significant savings on paper consumption and shipping costs.
Impact via choice of suppliers
Argenta is keen to make its supplier policy more sustainable and to inspire and motivate its suppliers to join it in doing business in a sustainable way. Argenta therefore asks all its suppliers to sign the sustainability charter and to respect at a minimum the principles relating to human rights, child labour, discrimination, corruption, environmental awareness and environmentally friendly technologies and to comply with the principles of the UN Global Compact.
In the future, we shall be focusing even more on the ecological impact that Argenta generates through its suppliers. A conscious choice will be made for environmentally-friendly solutions, for example in green ICT and the circular economy.
In 2021, Argenta received signed sustainability charters from 153 additional suppliers. 85% of Argenta's strategic suppliers have now signed the sustainability charter.