Commerce Bank is working toward a more sustainable future
Sustainability is based on the idea that everything that present and future generations need for our well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Balancing the need to preserve our natural resources with the need for economic development has impact not only has an environmental impact, but an economic and social one as well.
At Commerce Bank, sustainability is a priority. We recognize that, like any business, our daily work has an impact on the environment. That’s why we take steps to ensure that we’re using resources responsibly, reducing our carbon footprint and promoting sustainable business practices. We believe in being good stewards of the earth’s resources and taking care of the communities we serve.
Investing in clean energy solutions
One of our sustainability focus areas is energy consumption. We continuously seek opportunities to reduce the amount of energy we consume. For example, an ongoing initiative to upgrade our branches to LED lighting is nearly complete; the LED lights will reduce our energy consumption by an estimated 3.8 million kilowatt-hours every year. According to the U.N., if people worldwide would switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, the world would save $120 billion annually. We’ll continue to lower our energy consumption as we complete the switchover to LED lighting in our corporate buildings as well.
In addition to lowering our energy consumption, we’re also exploring ways to help offset it. We’ve been exploring alternative sources of energy, like solar power. As of the end of 2021, we’ve installed solar panels on more than 10 percent of our branch buildings. These solar panels generated more than 600,000 kilowatt-hours of clean energy last year.
We’ve also invested in a solar farm in Hays, Kansas to generate clean energy for our operations there. In 2021 alone, this solar farm produced more than 36,000 kilowatt-hours of energy.
Our focus on clean energy extends to supporting the usage of electric vehicles (EVs). We have 15 EV charging stations at various locations in the greater St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas, as well as Normal, IL, allowing customers and employees to charge their vehicles. These stations were used over 4,300 times in 2021.
Reducing our carbon footprint
We also look to build sustainability into our physical footprint. When constructing or renovating buildings, we analyze the facility’s environmental impact and long-term sustainability, no matter the size of the project. We are thoughtful about everything from the materials we use to the energy systems we install, consistently looking for opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint of our buildings while also ensuring that each facility supports our customers’ and team members’ needs.
In order to do this, we work closely with each project’s contractor and architect to ensure that each facility incorporates best practices from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as much as possible. LEED is a widely used green building rating system that provides a framework for high-performance green buildings. To date, Commerce has completed one LEED-certified building in O’Fallon, Missouri, and we continue to look for opportunities to build and remodel facilities using LEED principles.
Recycling and managing our resources responsibly
Our recycling efforts are yet another sign of our dedication to sustainability. Across our enterprise in 2021, we had more than 483 metric tons of paper shredded and recycled, and more than 23 metric tons of computer hardware recycled. These efforts contributed to the conservation of natural resources in several ways — resulting in an estimated 9,000 trees saved, 3.7 million gallons of water conserved and 1,600 cubic yards of landfill space saved.
Sustainability is a community effort
At Commerce, we believe in the importance of incorporating sustainable business practices wherever we can, in ways big and small, throughout our enterprise operations. We also support initiatives for our teammates who are passionate about sustainability, and participate in a number of environmental initiatives in our markets to help engage the community in getting involved in our sustainability work. Not only are these efforts intrinsically aligned with our corporate core values of doing what’s right and driving long-term value, they also show our depth of commitment to keeping the planet healthy and clean.