OCBC Bank to invest more than SGD 25 million to reduce its global carbon footprint


OCBC Bank will invest more than SGD 25 million in decarbonisation efforts in Singapore, Malaysia and Greater China. The investments will be used to deploy energy-efficient technology to reduce its carbon emissions, and solar energy systems that will increase renewables in its energy mix for powering operations. The investments will reduce approximately 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions within the next four years. This is equivalent to removing close to 10,000 cars from the road. 

OCBC Bank has committed to achieving carbon neutrality in operational emissions from 2022, guided by the drive to accelerate its own decarbonisation efforts even as it supports the local transition to renewable energy and carbon offset projects that have verifiable benefits to local communities and economies. Therefore, as the investment in the bank’s decarbonisation efforts of its operations bear fruit, the investment in carbon offset projects to eliminate the residual and unavoidable emissions, through the purchase of carbon credits, will reduce.

Deployment of energy-efficient technology

OCBC Bank’s managed buildings and data centre will be retrofitted with more energy-efficient technologies. These include replacing conventional lightings with LEDs and changing to more energy-efficient air-conditioning systems.

For a start, OCBC Bank’s regional data centre – which contributes 40 per cent of the bank’s carbon emissions in Singapore – will implement a rack-based cooling system by the end of this year. This will see the facility’s emissions reduced by over 400 tonnes annually, equivalent to removing close to 400 cars from the roads. Rack-based cooling is one of the latest energy-efficient cooling methods for data centres as it allows for targeted chilling with the cooling units installed in closer proximity to the servers.

The purpose-built data centre was accorded the BCA-IMDA (Building and Construction Authority – Infocomm Media Development Authority) Green Mark Platinum Award in 2017.

As announced in April this year, OCBC Tampines Centre Two’s air-conditioning system will be retrofitted to connect to SP Group’s district cooling network at the Tampines Town Centre. Scheduled to be completed and operational in the first half of 2025, tapping into this innovative cooling solution, together with six other buildings, will help the town centre reduce its carbon emissions by 1,359 tonnes annually, equivalent to removing another 1,236 cars from the roads.

OCBC Bank also aims to achieve Green Mark certifications for all its retail branches by 2030. As of April 2022, four branches and eight buildings have received these certifications, with its learning and development hub OCBC Campus being accorded one earlier this year. (Refer to Annex A for the list of buildings and branches that have received the Green Mark certifications).

Shifting to renewable energy

To advance the shift to renewable energy, close to 10 of its buildings in Singapore, Malaysia and Greater China will be installed with solar energy systems by 2024. The energy that will be generated each year – over 2,000 MWh – will help offset OCBC Bank’s energy consumption in these markets, which can power more than 600 three-room HDB households.

OCBC Bank is also reviewing its other offices across its markets to assess their suitability for future solar energy installations. Concurrently, the Bank will source for and secure local renewable energy to power its operations as soon as viable.

Other initiatives in OCBC Bank’s decarbonisation roadmap include converting its fleet of corporate cars to electric vehicles and deploying electric vehicle charging facilities at major commercial buildings it manages. Earlier in March 2022, 10 charging points were installed at OCBC Centre – the largest electric vehicle charging hub in the central business district.

Mr Lim Khiang Tong, Group Chief Operating Officer, OCBC Bank said: “United Nations’ latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report once again stressed the urgent need to reduce global carbon footprint to avoid overheating. Hence, building a sustainable future is simply non-negotiable. It is all in our hands. Each and every one of us must do our part for future generations.

It is with this in mind that our priority is to accelerate our own decarbonisation efforts. While it will take time for these efforts to bear fruit, climate change will continue to impact the environment. Hence, we endeavour to support credible carbon offset projects to deliver immediate outcomes and allay the impact of climate change.”