Citi Celebrates Earth Day
By Val Smith, Managing Director and Head of Corporate Sustainability April 22, 2019 10:00 AM
Today, April 22, is Earth Day. Since it was first launched in 1970, Earth Day has grown from a U.S.-centric day devoted to grassroots activism into a global event often cited as the “world’s largest environmental movement." Today, this celebration has become an annual effort focused on building awareness of pressing environmental and community issues. It also brings together millions of people around the world to engage in volunteerism, civic engagement, and action.
At Citi, we take every Earth Day as an opportunity to bring employees together to work on projects that foster environmental leadership and collaboration. We have 21 Green Teams, with more than 1,800 employees, operating globally. In 2018, these Green Teams held 247 volunteer and educational events, resulting in more than 5,200 volunteer hours dedicated to helping communities.
Earth Day is also an opportunity to highlight and re-commit to our business efforts to drive environmental solutions, as we work to achieve the goals we put forth in our Sustainable Progress Strategy.
Environmental Finance: Due to increasing environmental finance activity in the global market, we now expect to reach our $100 Billion Environmental Finance Goal by 2020 — well ahead of schedule. As of the end of 2018, we have counted $95.3 billion of environmental financing, which helped to avoid an estimated 8.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and support over 37,000 jobs. This January, Citi also issued its inaugural green bond — a €1 billion, three-year, fixed-rate note – which will fund renewable energy, sustainable transportation, water quality and conservation, energy efficiency and green building projects financed as part of our $100 billion goal.
Environmental and Social Risk Management: In addition to implementing our global ESRM Policy, Citi has also developed a number of sector standards for areas of heightened environmental and social risk. Most recently, in early 2019 Citi adopted a global ban on project-related financial services for new construction or expansion of coal-fired power plants, with limited consideration for countries defined by energy poverty.
Operations and Supply Chain: We have made significant progress on our goal to power all of Citi’s facilities with renewable energy by 2020, contracting 62% of our global renewable energy needs. We are also on target to meet our 2020 environmental footprint goals, including 30% reduction in energy and water use.
In late 2018, we also released our first climate disclosure report in response to the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), where we described our pilot project on climate scenario analysis to understand how certain client sectors would perform in different global warming scenarios.
Finally, I am proud that Citi has been recognized externally for our efforts. Last year, Citi was rated World’s Best Bank for Corporate Responsibility by Euromoney and Most Innovative Investment Bank for Corporate Social Responsibility by The Banker, and we received the Organizational Leadership Award from the Climate Leadership Awards. Later this week, Citi’s annual Global Citizenship Report will launch, highlighting how we bring our mission to life through our business activities, covering our corporate citizenship initiatives and performance for 2018. Please look out for that announcement for more information on Citi’s sustainability efforts.