Citi's New Efforts to Drive Sustainable Growth
By Val Smith, Director of Corporate Sustainability February 20, 2015 12:10 PM
Citi CEO Michael Corbat, Kilowatt Financial Chairman and CEO Dan Pillemer and Pam Flaherty, Citi Foundation (retired) at a recent event celebrating the launch of Citi's new efforts to drive sustainable growth.
At Citi, it's clear to us that financing and scaling sustainable solutions that matter is central to our business success. Yesterday, we announced our new Sustainable Progress strategy, which will expand our efforts to finance projects that provide environmental solutions and manage environmental and social risk in partnership with our clients. In addition, we aim to enhance the sustainability of our own facilities and supply chain. Our commitment is aligned with and embedded in our firm's strategy, and it is a broad approach that spans across our businesses.
We are announcing a number of new goals – among the most significant are our plans to lend, invest and facilitate a total of $100 billion over the next ten years to activities that reduce the impacts of climate change and create environmental solutions that benefit people and communities. This goal is in addition to a previous $50 billion goal announced in 2007, which Citi met three years early in 2013.
As part of this expanded commitment, Citi will seek to partner with our clients to finance activities that enable communities to better adapt to the impacts of climate change, to support infrastructure improvements that increase access to clean water and help manage waste, and to directly finance green, affordable housing for clients, including in low- and moderate-income communities.
We have already seen the potential of transformative renewable energy projects, like Kilowatt Financial, an innovative company making clean energy accessible and affordable for more homeowners throughout the United States.
We are focusing on three key areas in our Sustainable Progress strategy – Climate Change, Sustainable Cities, and People and Communities. As we were developing these priorities, it was interesting to see that the last one – People – kept rising to the top in an assessment focusing on environmental issues. We are truly at a time when environmental and social progress is inextricably linked.
Because of this reality, Citi is committing not only to the $100 billion environmental finance target, but also to develop a methodology and report on the positive social and environmental impacts that result from our $100 billion commitment.
In addition to this ambitious goal, we continue to improve the sustainability of our own operations. Citi has established new environmental footprint goals for 2020, including a 35 percent absolute reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a 30 percent absolute reduction in energy and water use, and a 60 percent absolute reduction in waste, all against a 2005 baseline.
Our commitment also includes a longer-term 2050 absolute GHG emissions reduction goal of 80 percent, which was created using a climate science-based methodology. Targeting 33 percent of Citi's real estate portfolio to be LEED certified, we will also seek LEED Platinum certification for our 388/390 Greenwich Street facility in New York City, which will become the company's global headquarters once it is fully renovated. To date, this is the largest registered LEED New Construction renovation project targeting Platinum certification.
In 2013, we met our 2015 operational performance goals for GHG emissions and waste two years early, reducing absolute emissions by 25 percent and waste to landfill by 40 percent, all from a 2005 baseline. Citi is on track to meet its 2015 goals of reducing water usage by 20 percent and making its global real estate portfolio 20 percent more energy efficient and 15 percent LEED certified.
Citi's expertise in environmental and social risk management continues to be a core part of our sustainability strategy and an important value add to our client relationships. Citi was one of the co-founders of the Equator Principles, a set of environmentally and socially responsible guidelines for financing projects globally. Building on a strong track record of working with clients to manage environmental and social risks, we are enhancing our portfolio review of high-risk sectors and developing a robust process to identify new and emerging risks and trends.
All of these efforts are based upon a foundation of client partnership and stakeholder engagement. Citi has a long history of engaging externally on environmental and social issues, and we worked with the non-profit organization Ceres to convene a diverse group of stakeholders to provide feedback on our sustainability progress so far and on our path forward. Our commitment reflects their input, and we will continue to reach out to our clients, investors, employees and other stakeholders as we work to drive sustainable progress forward.