Investment bank Citigroup has doubled down on its commitment to fund green growth, announcing in New York on Wednesday that it would lend, invest and facilitate $100 billion within the next 10 years to finance renewable energy and other clean technologies and activities that help mitigate climate change and benefit the environment.
As mentioned, this is double the bank’s previous commitment of $50 billion, which was announced in 2007 and met three years early in 2013.
Citi says the new initiative – part of a new five-year sustainability commitment – galvanises the bank’s commitment to helping clients to identify opportunities to finance greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and resource efficiency in other sectors, such as sustainable transportation.
The funds would also be used to finance and support community efforts to adapt to climate change impacts, as well as directly finance infrastructure improvements that increase access to clean water and green, affordable housing.
Citi CEO Michael Corbat said that while the bank was committed to protecting the environment and promoting green growth, initiatives like these were also smart business.
“Incorporating the principles of sustainability into everything we do improves our own operations, enhances our clients’ work, and contributes to a better world,” he said.
Alongside the $100 billion funding commitment, Citi has established new environmental footprint goals for 2020, including a 35 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 30 per cent reductions in energy and water use, and a 60 per cent reduction in waste, all against a 2005 baseline.
The initiative also includes a longer-term 2050 GHG emissions reduction goal of 80 per cent, created using a climate science-based methodology.
Targeting 33 percent of its real estate portfolio to be LEED certified, Citi will also seek LEED Platinum certification for its 388/390 Greenwich Street facility in New York City, which will become the company’s global headquarters once it is fully renovated.
In 2013, the company met 2015 operational performance goals for GHG emissions and waste two years early, reducing emissions by 25 per cent and waste to landfill by 41 per cent, from 2005 levels.
The investment bank is reportedly on track to meet its 2015 goals of reducing water usage by 20 per cent, and to make its global real estate portfolio 20 per cent more energy efficient, and 15 percent LEED certified.
“The financial services industry has a big role to play in scaling up global clean energy investments, and we applaud Citi’s leadership as the company continues to innovate and expand its efforts,” said Mindy Lubber, President of the sustainability nonprofit group, Ceres, which gave input and convened stakeholders to provide feedback as Citi’s commitment was developed.
And of course it is smart business, she added: “Climate change is expected to impact virtually every sector of the economy.”