Greenhouse gas emissions

Direct Company impacts

The most material direct environmental impact that Aviva creates are greenhouse gas emissions. Our greenhouse gas emissions are generated from the energy used in our buildings and fugitive emissions, business travel, water and disposal of waste to landfill. We also include emissions from our outsourced data centre in the UK and our network of accident repair garages. The scope of Aviva’s emissions includes all operations where we have day to day control; including joint ventures. 115,889 tonnes of carbon dioxide or equivalent (tCO2e) were emitted by Aviva into the atmosphere in 2013.

Carbon offsets from the voluntary carbon market have been purchased to cover 100% of our footprint. The cost of offsetting will be funded by the areas of the business that have created the emissions on a ‘polluter pays’ basis.

For the first time this year, we have been able to measure the number of lives impacted through two carbon development projects from which we purchased credits. We were able to do so with the help of our carbon credit provider ClimateCare. Following LBG methodology this has been measured as impacting over 271,000 lives in terms of improved health.

Performance, strategy and targets

Aviva's relative emissions have reduced again this year by 7.5%. This is mainly thanks to having fewer offices, milder weather and a combination of improvements in energy efficiency and an increased use of technology. Our renewable electricity on a worldwide basis is 48% (2012: 24%) of our total electricity consumption.

Due to the business’ structural transformation over the last two years, we set a new baseline in 2010 for our long term carbon reduction target. As the sale of Aviva in the USA was only completed in September 2013, this part of is included in our end of year reporting. Our restated 2010 baseline is 132,244 tCO2e and our long term target for 2020 remains at a 20% reduction using this baseline year figure. At this point we have made a 12% reduction to target. Our group annual carbon reduction target still stands at 5%.

Our use of communication technologies has continued to increase in 2013. 3,015 meetings were held by telepresence in 2013, (2012: 2,717), as well as 13,372 webex meetings and use of other technologies. We have estimated the cost of travel avoidance from the use of telepresence in 2013 as £10.6 million and 9,009 tonnes in carbon savings. However, our business travel has increased overall by 0.5% despite the cost reducing by 20%. Air travel has increased by 1% on the year, with a great proportion of long haul flights compared to short haul.


On a worldwide basis the cost of offsetting our operational carbon emission carequivalents is approximately <£0.5m. The UK businesses were financially impacted in 2013 by the cost of the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRCEES). The total CO2e emissions in respect of CRCEES for the 2012/2013 financial year were 108,013tCO2e (2011/2012: 97,729 tCO2e). This cost the business just under £1.3 million.

The graph below shows the cost of carbon per tonne for Aviva. These figures take into account the cost of CRCEES, the Climate Change Levy and the cost of purchasing carbon credits. The cost of carbon varies depending on the source of the emissions and the geography of where the emissions are created. These also change over time. The only aspect of the costs which benefits the environment is the carbon offsetting element.

Aviva’s operational carbon boundaries differ from those reported for the CRCEES. That includes energy emissions from our portfolio of properties included in funds we manage and have responsibility for. Aviva’s position in the CRCEES Performance League table in 2013 was 611 out of a total of 2016 participating organisations. 

Indirect impacts


Aviva Investors continues to manage a growing portfolio of renewable energy and energy efficiency assets for its clients, including members of the Aviva Group. During 2013, Aviva Investors undertook further acquisitions of portfolios of domestic solar photovoltaic assets. These amounted to 31MW of installed capacity across 10,000 properties in the UK, bringing total installed capacity in this sector to more than 50MW.

Aviva Investors also invested in the new energy centre to provide an energy efficiency solution to the Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. This £36m transaction is expected to be the first of many similar investments and has received significant coverage. Thanks in part to support via an investment from the UK Green Investment Bank. Outside the UK, Aviva Investors has also invested in 24MW of French solar farms and continues to manage a 50MW wind farm in Spain. Our Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund stands at just under £400 million.

Launched in 2013, Aviva Canada household customers can take advantage of Green Assure endorsement. In the event of a claim, Green Assure endorsement gives them the option of replacing damaged goods with more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly ones.


Direct company impacts

Hazardous and non-hazardous waste

Total disposal cost for hazardous and non-hazardous waste in the UK was £583,000 (2012: £681,000), which includes UK landfill tax and capital expenditure.

Overall total waste volume has remained flat over the period with a 0.1% reduction. Meanwhile, the proportion of waste diverted from landfill increased to 73% from 69% the previous year. In the UK, this rose to 98% from a figure of 95% last year. We are close to meeting our UK local target of zero to waste to landfill by the end of 2015. However, the final 2% is proving the most difficult due to the lack of suitable recycling infrastructure in some areas of the country.

Performance, strategy and targets

The quality and scope of reporting for waste has improved further this year. Our total waste figures now include waste from Solus, our accident repair centres and from the branch offices in Canada.

Due to the restructuring of the business, IT waste has increased significantly overall. The UK business has a programme of collecting redundant equipment. Over 6,496 items were collected; including 1,196 desktop and laptop computers. 77% of these were reused avoiding a cost of £1.3m. This reuse programme meant that the amount disposed of, through 100% recycling actually reduced compared with last year.

Industry benchmark information

  • 200kg of waste per employee per year; and
  • Recycling rate of 60–70% (BRE Office toolkit).

Group targets

  • Annual 4% reduction in total waste;
  • Annual recycling rate greater than 80%; and
  • Long-term target – zero to landfill for UK operations by 2015 and worldwide by 2020.

Indirect impacts - Products/suppliers/investors

For General Insurance the way a claim is dealt with is can dictate the amount of waste produced. The focus is on how quickly this can be achieved, while reducing environmental impact and cost to the business. In turn, this eases the pressure to increase premiums.

We are working with our 130 suppliers in the UK to accelerate our response and the way we assess, clean, dry, repair and replace items. We are also aiming to report on and seek ways of reducing overall environmental impact. Specific case studies are provided here (LINK to CR report). We also continue to work with peers through an ABI working group to understand how we can raise standards in this area across the industry.

Resource usage

Direct Company impacts


The operating cost of water is £1.0million (2012: £1.2 million) with a CO2 equivalent of 488 tCO2e (2011:586tCO2). Of the total water consumed, 1% comes from grey water sources and is used for irrigation of the grounds around the buildings.

Energy intensity

The total cost of buildings related energy in 2013 was £16.8 million (2012: £17.3 million). The equivalent cost per square meter is £25.75. The cost of UK CRCEES regulation of £1.296 million is an additional cost.

Paper usage

We currently do not track the cost of paper on a global basis.

Environmental incidents

During 2013 there were no environmental incidents as a result of our operations (2012: none). However, we have received one Enforcement notice from the UK Environment Agency in respect of the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRCEES).

Despite declaring the under purchase of 1,139 allowances to the Environment Agency, we received an Enforcement Notice in April 2013 regarding the Government’s CRC scheme. The Government Order 2010, aligned with CRCEES, includes the compulsory issuance of Notices for the under purchase of allowances. Notices can be issued regardless of circumstance or whether the organisation declared the error itself. The Enforcement Notice was fully complied with and satisfied, within the timescales required.

No additional costs, fines or civil penalties resulted from the compliance to the Notice.

Performance, strategy and targets

Water consumption increased by 13% in 2013. Whilst the water intensity per employee worldwide is 12.4m3, the intensity in the UK business is currently 9.3m3.

Paper consumption has reduced by 1.3%. We are working to reduce our paper consumption further, both office and marketing, through pin printing and using electronic documents/on-line, instead of hard copy documents. The percentage of paper with some recycled content now stands at 48%.

Industry benchmark information

  • Water: 4 cubic meters per employee per year (Water Key Performance Indicators and benchmarks for offices and hotels. C657 CIRIA www.ciria.org)
  • Office paper: 4,000 – 5,000 sheets per employee per annum (Gartner research).