Companies address environmentally friendly behaviour and sustainability more frequently these days. ČSOB is one of the first banks that took sustainability and environmentally friendly behaviour very seriously and it is part of their strategy.
According to Josef Šedivý, executive director of FAM ČSOB, sustainability is a natural part of the company’s philosophy. This is also proven by the fact that experts rate their Prague headquarters and the new building in Hradec Králové among the hundred most ecological office buildings in Europe; moreover, these buildings have received several different awards – for instance Best of Realty, Green Roof or LEED Platinum certification. Sustainability and support of diversity represent the way in which companies can be beneficial to society and allow future generations to maintain the same standard of living as we know today. Josef Šedivý says: “Our main goal is to create conditions that are in harmony with the environment and sustainability. We want to be a good neighbour for people and nature and to open up more to the public. We behave ecologically not only in our internal operations, but we also support our clients in this: we search for and support long-term sustainable projects and give clients the opportunity to invest in companies that minimize their activities’ negative effects on the environment. We have been helping corporate clients for a long time in their search for business transformation solutions towards sustainability and innovation.”
Prague headquarters belong to the top in sustainability
The rise in energy prices makes companies look for savings. At ČSOB, they are ahead of time – it’s already been three years since they started consuming electricity only from renewable sources, when in 2019 it was only 68%. Therefore, they leave no carbon footprint with the electrical energy consumed in this way now. Daniel Rubricius, Director of FAM Buildings ČSOB, comments: “We are constantly working to reduce the energy consumption of all bank branches and headquarters. Energy consumption also decreases due to our new modern ecological buildings. ČSOB Campus in Radlice, Prague, is one of the most ecological buildings in Europe. It uses geothermal wells both for heating and cooling, and there are more than 300 trees, 3,000 bushes and one hundred climbing plants growing on the roofs, which are watered by a self-irrigation system with rainwater.”
There are also several charging stations for electric cars and electric bikes in the garages. Lukáš Cerman, director of FAM Development ČSOB, adds: “We are aware that the cars we operate contribute significantly to our CO2 footprint. For this reason, we support electromobility. Our company fleet currently includes about 20 electric cars, for which we operate and build charging stations. In general, we reduce the number of vehicles, try to share them efficiently and gradually start to move away from internal combustion engines. Our vision is to have a fully electrified vehicle fleet by 2030.”
The new building in Hradec Králové is one step ahead
The recently opened regional headquarters in Hradec Králové meets the strictest ecological standards. There they also use heat pumps and energy from the earth’s massif, achieving exceptionally economical operation. It is yet just another proof that ČSOB really takes environmental protection seriously. There is even a well there. It could therefore be said that when it comes to energy savings, they achieved the possible maximum. “There is always more that can be done, and the search for savings in reducing the energy demand of buildings is a never-ending process due to the constant emergence of new technologies and innovations,” says Daniel Rubricius, and specifies: “We will focus more on the use of air conditioning systems for both cooling and heating. During the heating season, we will lower the internal temperature and continue the installation of photovoltaic panels, which we started three years ago.”
It is more complicated in the regions
However, ČSOB branches are not only based in modern buildings with top technologies. Their own as well as leased premises have been undergoing continuous optimalization for several years now. The total number of branches generally has a downward trend, where the main effort is to reduce their area. It is a consequence of digitization and the development of the way of servicing clients. Reducing the number of branches or reducing their area represent savings in operational services, including energy, and thus also reducing the carbon footprint. “We strive for a sustainable and ecological approach in all objects, even though it is not easy in some of them. LED lighting, MaR systems and energy-saving cooling and heating technologies come as a general standard. Another area we gradually focus on is photovoltaics. We currently operate photovoltaic power plants on the roofs of our buildings in Zlín, Břeclav and Blansko, having a total of 52 panels with a combined output of more than 16 kWp. We plan to gradually increase the number of solar power plants,” concludes Lukáš Cerman.