Spain’s Banco Santander has retained top place as the world’s greenest bank, according to the latest annual survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, but National Australia Bank has jumped seven spots to No 14 and is the only Australian banking institution in the global top 20 for 2011
ANZ was the only Australian bank ranked in the top 20 for 2010, but missed out in the latest rankings.
The BNEF survey found that Bank of America made the most dramatic progress, leaping from No 34 spot in 2010 to No 2 in 2011, courtesy of two big bets on rooftop solar investments in the US – a $1 billion plan to put solar panels on 160,000 U.S. military-base homes which it took up after a Department of Energy loan guarantee fell through and a $1.4 billion loan for installing solar systems on warehouse roofs in California.
The green bank survey, the second time it as been published, ranks 48 global banks with market values of $10 billion or more and tallies how much they are investing and lending to support clean energy and how they’re managing their own power consumption and carbon footprints.
Banco Santander held top spot thanks to investment in the $1 billion Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant in Nevada, and helping arrange $210 million in loans for a wind farm in Washingto, BNEF said. The third ranked bank, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaulo, cut its energy use by more than 6 per cent and funding the acquisition of two solar parks in Italy, while Citigroup cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 6.4 per cent and played a key role in a wind farm financing.
BNEF noted some initiatives from banks, such as Lloyds’ 7 per cent reduction in energy use after adjusting is thermostats, and Bank of America’s $3000 gift to any employee who buys a hybrid vehicle. NAB was ranked 11th in reducing its own environmental impact and 21st in clean energy investments.