UK high street bank Halifax has become the first financial institution in Europe to carbon label one of its products.
The Halifax Web Saver product with 1.1 million accounts has been certified using the Carbon Trust's pilot carbon reduction label.
The Carbon Trust, an independent climate change entity sponsored by the UK government, is working with Defra and BSI British Standards to develop a single standard to measure the embodied greenhouse gas emissions from products and services. The Trust is working with a number of pilot partners including Halifax to develop the standard embodied under the carbon reduction label.
Under the scheme, the carbon footprint for the average Halifax Web Saver account has been calculated to stand at 204g of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Halifax has committed to reducing these emissions within two years. If a reduction is not achieved, the label will be withdrawn.
Euan Murray, general manager of footprinting at the Carbon Trust, says the label will help Halifax's customers "better understand the impact of banking products on climate change."
The pilot carbon reduction label is displayed on the Halifax Web Saver online site and shows existing and potential customers how much greenhouse gas emissions their account produces from the initial application and customers' transactions.
The carbon footprint calculated includes carbon emissions both from opening the account and the annual use of the account. Carbon emissions from opening the account have been split over a five-year period in order to calculate an average annual carbon emission figure.
Mike Regnier, head of savings at Halifax, says: "we are committed to reducing the product's carbon emissions within two years. We...believe we are the first bank in Europe to carbon label one of its products."