Citi Commits Billions to Finance Sustainable Efforts

NEW YORK — Citi made a big promise last month to reduce the impact of climate change when it announced it would lend, invest and facilitate a total of $100 billion within the next 10 years to finance activities that will help the environment.

Citi’s previous $50 billion goal, set in 2007, was met three years early in 2013. With the new $100 billion goal, the global bank will engage clients to identify opportunities to finance greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and resource efficiency in other sectors, such as sustainable transportation. The bank will be working with cities to finance infrastructure improvements that manage waste and increase access to clean water, while also supporting green, affordable housing for clients, including 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, Citi CEO, in a statement. "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 ambitious initiative is part of a new five-year sustainability commitment that also has Citi focusing on its own environmental and social risk management. The bank has set new environmental footprint goals for 2020, including 35 percent reduction in GHG emissions, 30 percent reductions in energy and water use and 60 percent reduction in waste, all against a 2005 baseline. The initiative also includes a longer term 2050 GHG emissions reduction goal of 80 percent.

Citi aims to have 33 percent of its real estate portfolio to be LEED certified and 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.

The bank said that in 2013, it met 2015 operational performance goals for GHG 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 see its global real estate portfolio 20 percent more energy efficient and 15 percent LEED certified.

"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, in a statement. "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."

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