Living in a Better, More Sustainable World
By Pam Flaherty, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Citi May 01, 2013 04:05 PMLiving in a better world is dependent upon becoming more sustainable, but too often we use this term as shorthand for "environmental sustainability." For Citi, sustainability is inherently tied to environmental, social AND financial performance. Business alignment and execution are critically important and we make sure that our sustainability strategy is aligned with and embedded in Citi's businesses, and that our initiatives are implementable. Citi was named last month as the "World's Greenest Bank" by Bloomberg Markets. This is due to a strong sustainability strategy, and strong execution. Our approach to sustainability is:
• Listen. Customers may not choose a bank because of its environmental leadership, at least not yet, but being an environmentally and socially responsible company is increasingly important to our customers and our employees. Our Core Principles--Common Purpose, Leadership, Ingenuity, and Responsible Finance--tie directly to our sustainability efforts, as does our deep commitment to engagement with partner stakeholders. We engage with a wide range of stakeholders to stay on top of trends and risks and also to identify areas of mutual opportunity. This helps both enable and inform our approach to sustainability.
• Scale. When our environmental sustainability program began in the late 1990s, our initial focus was just internal--to measure and then reduce our operational footprint as a way to reduce operational costs and understand the energy efficiency market. The program has grown over time to be increasingly client focused. We work with our clients to manage environmental and social risks, and develop environmentally friendly products and services such as financing alternative energy.
• Create Impact. We were the first bank in the world to reach 200 LEED certified facilities last year. In 2003, Citi co-founded the Equator Principles, which have become the gold standard for managing environmental and social risk in project finance. Additionally, we are a leader in energy finance and have financed some of the largest wind and solar energy projects in the world.
• Set Goals. We are confident that we will hit our 10-year, $50 Billion Climate finance goal by our 2016 target year, if not before. Reaching this goal is important for a couple of reasons. First, it is a signal of how fast the market for alternative energy and clean tech is growing and maturing. And second, it is testament to Citi's expertise in environmental finance. This goal has been a significant effort that brought in expertise from across our operational units and our lines of business. Citi celebrated its 200th anniversary last year. And we know that, for Citi to thrive for the next 200 years, we must excel in each core area of our business.
Starting today, to mark sustainability month, we will be sharing with you a series of green tips from Citi employees around the world, as well as information about on how digitization, renewable energy, biodiversity and improved infrastructure can help create a better, more sustainable world.