Citi announced a commitment to lend, invest and facilitate a total of $100 billion within the next 10 years to finance activities that reduce the impacts of climate change and create environmental solutions that benefit people and communities. Citi's previous $50 billion goal was met three years early in 2013.
With this $100 billion initiative, Citi says it will continue its focus on renewable energy and energy-efficiency financing. The company will engage with clients to identify opportunities to finance greenhouse gas reductions and resource efficiency in other sectors, such as sustainable transportation. Citi will also seek to finance and support activities that enable communities to adapt to climate change impacts and directly finance infrastructure improvements that increase access to clean water and manage waste, while also supporting cost- and energy-efficient housing for clients, including in low- and moderate-income communities.
"Citi has demonstrated its deep commitment to not only taking environmental consequences into account, but also finding innovative ways to finance projects that lead to sustainable growth," said Michael Corbat, CEO of Citi. "For more than 200 years, Citi's mission has been to enable progress by facilitating economic growth and financing transformative projects. The core mission hasn't changed, but the way we approach it has. Incorporating the principles of sustainability into everything we do improves our own operations, enhances our clients' work, and contributes to a better world."
The $100 billion initiative is part of a five-year sustainability commitment that focuses on environmental and social risk management and sustainability goals for Citi's personal businesses and operations.
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"Reducing carbon emissions and becoming more climate resilient is a key priority and major challenge for the world's megacities and their business communities," said James Alexander, Head of the Finance and Economic Development Initiative at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of the world's biggest cities working to become more sustainable. "C40's ongoing partnership with Citi is helping global cities overcome their climate finance challenges. Today's announcement from Citi will add further opportunities to help cities achieve their climate targets, and allow businesses to become more sustainable."
By 2020, Citi hopes to reduce its environmental footprint by reducing greenhouse gas by 35 percent, reducing energy and water use by 30 percent and reducing waste by 60 percent, all against a 2005 baseline. The initiative also includes a longer-term 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal of 80 percent. Citi will also seek LEED Platinum certification for its global headquarters in New York and target 33 percent of its real estate portfolio to be LEED-certified.
Citi has had no trouble meeting its sustainability goals to date. In 2013, the company met 2015 operational performance goals for greenhouse gas emissions and waste two years early, reducing emissions by 25 percent and waste to landfill by 41 percent, all from a 2005 baseline. Citi is on track to meet its 2015 goals of reducing water usage by 20 percent, and LEED certifying 15 percent of its global real estate while also making it 20 percent more energy efficient.
"Climate change is expected to impact virtually every sector of the economy," said Mindy Lubber, President of the sustainability nonprofit group, Ceres, which gave input and convened stakeholders to provide feedback as the commitment was developed. "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."
Citi is not the only bank launching sustainability initiatives. In 2012, Bank of America, also earmarked $50 billion to help businesses address climate change, reduce demands on natural resources and advance lower-carbon economic solutions, along with introducing new goals to reduce the environmental impact of its own operations. And in 2013, Wells Fargo was one of only 29 major publicly traded companies that dad established an internal carbon price, according to CDP.