Sustainability and the environment
We are committed to supporting the UK Government's Mainstreaming
Sustainable Development (PDF 338K) (Opens new window) and 'Greening Government'
aims and taking action on its four key priorities - cutting Greenhouse Gas
emissions from our buildings and business travel, reducing the amount of waste
we generate, cutting water usage and ensuring sustainable procurement.
Our approach is to embed sustainability into the way we provide our services,
into our change programme and through raising awareness amongst our policy
makers. Like other Government departments, our sustainability plans also incorporate
work towards a number of longer-term cross-Government environmental targets.
Using data from 2009-10 as a baseline, we are committed to achieving the following
'Greening Government' targets by 2015:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent from our estate and business-related
- cut the amount of waste we generate by 25 per cent
- reduce our water consumption in line with best practice standards
- reduce domestic flights by 20 per cent
- procure sustainably and reduce the environmental impact of our supply
- ensure that redundant ICT equipment is re-used (within Government, the
public sector or wider society) or responsibly recycled
Our performance against in 2011-12 against the Greening Government targets
and Transparency commitments is included in our first Sustainability Report
which has been published as part of the HMRC Annual Report and Accounts for
2011-12. Our figures reflect progress made by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
and our Executive Agency, the Valuation Office Agency, jointly.
Greening Government commitments - 2011-12
update (PDF 37K)
Building on our achievements
Our drive to embed sustainability is a long term strategy and builds on our
achievements in 2010-11 and 2011-12:
- In response to the Government's target for departments to reduce carbon
emissions from offices by 10 per cent in the 12 months to May 2011, HMRC
achieved the second largest saving (in terms of tonnes of carbon) of any
department; cutting emissions by 13.4 per cent, or 22,408 tonnes.
- We cut our water usage by 11 per cent in 2011-12, the equivalent of
91,326,000 litres, enough to fill 36 Olympic Swimming Pools.
- We cut the amount of waste we generate in 2011-12 by 1400 tonnes. In addition,
we recycled and redeployed over 1000 tonnes of IT waste.
- For travel, we made a 2.7 per cent reduction in emissions in 2011-12 and
we saw a welcome shift from road to rail. Air travel emissions did however
increase by 14 per cent, mainly as a result of increased business activity.
- The paper we use in our printers and photocopiers dropped by 9 per cent
in 2011-12, helped by the roll-out of the Managed Print Service and double-sided
printing. However, there has been a noticeable 21 per cent increase in the
use of A3 paper.
- We published our first Annual Accounting for Sustainability Report in
2012. The report was prepared in accordance with the guidelines laid down
by HM Treasury in 'Public Sector Sustainability Reporting'.
- We were awarded a Business in the Community (BiTC) 'Big Tick' award in
2011 for our approach to sustainable business travel. We have also been
awarded the 2011 Fleet Hero Award for the Best Large Public Sector Fleet,
having previously won in 2010 and 2009.
- We were finalists in the 2011 and 2012 Climate Week Awards - Best Initiative by a Governmental or Statutory Body - for making environmental targets a Government priority and for our 'closed loop' paper recycling scheme.
- Our Environmental Waste Calculator and environmental behaviour change
programme (both developed in-house) have been commended by Cabinet Office
and the Carbon Trust as examples of good practice.
- We have developed a 'Green IT' model which allows us to account, measure and track our carbon footprint related to ICT. Because of our expertise in this area, we worked with the Cabinet Office Green Delivery Unit (GDU) to develop a Greening ICT Strategy for the whole of Government.
How are we going to do it?
As we collect the Environmental Taxes on behalf of Government,
we will continue to encourage individuals and influence businesses to
reduce carbon emissions, cut waste and protect the environment through
administration of these taxes and incentives.
We will also publish our first Annual Accounting for Sustainability
Report in 2012 which has been prepared in accordance with guidelines
laid down by HM Treasury in 'Public Sector Sustainability Reporting'.
Within HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC),
we will ensure that sustainability remains a priority through inclusion
in our annual Business Plan, through the Board-level leadership of our
Environment Champion and by publicising the wide range of activities
that are the focus of our sustainability work:
- A communication campaign which aims to influence all
parts of our business to reduce the environmental impact of our processes
encourage all our people to reduce their waste, water, energy use and
- Across the estate, we have over 450 Green Volunteers, who offer
a cost-effective, practical channel to publicise environmental
initiatives in their local
- Encouraging use of our innovative environmental waste calculator,
which measures the financial and carbon savings that can be achieved
changes in individual behaviour or processes relating to the use
of paper, printing, postage and office equipment.
- Participating in Climate Week, a national campaign which takes
place each March to encourage organisations and individuals to
- Engaging with key internal stakeholders to embed sustainability
and the environment into our day-to-day activities, our big
and major projects. For instance, we are using the environmental
waste calculator to measure the carbon footprint of an online
versus a paper
based tax return.
- Embedding environmental considerations into our Efficiency
Programme, which provides a structured approach to identifying
- Reducing energy consumption in conjunction
with all our PFI partners. Projects include - improving energy management,
optimisation equipment and reducing office temperatures where this
- Reducing our energy consumption, carbon footprint, water consumption
and waste by rationalising the amount of office space the department
- Undertaking carbon surveys with our STEPS (Strategic Transfer
of the Estate to the Private Sector) PFI partner, to identify
for carbon saving on their estate.
- Installing smart meters with our PFI partners to enable us
to monitor energy consumption across our estate.
- Expanding dry mixed recycling and battery recycling facilities.
- Implementing Biodiversity Action Plans with our STEPS and
Newcastle Estate Partnership (NEP) PFI Partners.
- Implementing ISO 14001 with our NEP PFI partner and facilities
- Introducing an historic estate protection policy to
ensure that the historic buildings provided by our
STEPS PFI partner
for future generations.
- Improving the energy efficiency of ICT data
centres and server rooms through active power and cooling management
- Consolidating, rationalising and reducing our ICT estate, moving
to virtualised environments but also turning off surplus equipment.
- Rationalising the number of data centres across our estate
and migrating to Cloud Services.
- Making the cost of ICT and carbon emissions costs more visible
to users to raise 'carbon cost' awareness.
- Developing sustainable e-waste management policies.
- Ensuring that our senior managers retain responsibility
for achieving internally set travel targets, to reduce emissions from
- Using new technology - enhanced video conferencing and telephone
conferencing facilities, mobile applications and collaboration
platforms - to reduce
the need to travel to meetings.
- Encouraging behaviour change across the department through a
Sustainable Travel Group, which includes representatives from
key business areas.
- Ensuring all vehicles are undertaking the correct mileage and
returning or recycling surplus vehicles.
- Encouraging the move away from the use of personal vehicles
for business travel and providing staff with more environmentally-friendly
including a number of low-carbon, fuel efficient 'pool' cars.
- Replacing older vehicles with models which have a lower
- Encouraging a shift away from road or air travel to rail.
Waste reduction and recycling
- Implementing a Managed Print Service to reduce
the number of printers across the department and cut paper consumption.
- Identifying opportunities to eliminate paper waste in forms and
letters to our customers.
- Expanding the availability of recycling schemes (currently
in place at a number of sites) to recycle cardboard, some plastics,
aluminum cans and toner cartridges.
- Providing recycling bins for paper in the majority of our
- Purchasing 100 per cent recycled paper for general office
- Introducing an ICT recycling and disposal service.
Working with our suppliers
Our suppliers are an important link to our staff and customers
and it is imperative that they deliver a service that is sustainable,
environmentally responsible and reflects our values. We are also committed
to being transparent about the impacts of our supply chain.
We have developed a Sustainable Procurement Strategy and further
work is underway to apply minimum environmental standards and take 'whole
life costings' into account with all departmental purchases. Our buyers
engage with potential suppliers on environmental issues such as - environmental
standards employed in the production and supply of goods and services
and the disposal of waste materials and packaging, to ensure our procurement
practices are sustainable. Details of any environmental requirements
are included in Invitation to Tender documents and general requirements
are set out in Guide to selling to HMRC.
HMRC is one of only a small number of departments to have
invested in an online assessment tool, which identifies how far suppliers
have promoted and integrated sustainability, the environment, diversity
and equality into their business practices. It enables us to work with
our suppliers to achieve positive progress across the whole of the sustainability
In recognition of this work, HMRC and the Home Office were
named joint winners of the prestigious Civil Service Sustainability Award
in 2010. Evaluation through the assessment tool shows that good progress
continues to be made, for example:
- more of our suppliers are now setting targets to reduce
their own greenhouse gas emissions
- 78 per cent of our suppliers have set targets to increase their
recycling rates by 30 per cent in the coming year
- target setting for water reduction in our supply chain has doubled
within the last year, with 56 per cent of our supplier organisations
now setting a target
Working with our estates and ICT partners
We also work closely with our estates and Private Finance
Initiative (PFI) partners to improve environmental performance, including:
- benchmarking the energy, water and waste performance
of all our estates PFI providers,
- working with our suppliers and Eco System partners to develop sustainability
criteria within the ICT supply chain
How will we measure success?
We are embedding sustainable development into our strategic
decision making processes and monitoring actions to achieve the 'Greening
Government' targets to ensure they are achieved in a way that supports
rather than compromises business delivery. For example, in 2012-13 greenhouse
gas emissions from a combination of energy use at our offices and business
travel will be cut by a further 4 per cent and we will continue efforts
to drive down paper usage, waste and water. To improve transparency,
we will update our progress on our website.