Inside Citi’s Plan to Deploy $100 Billion for Cities, Renewables, Climate
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Today, Citi, the global banking giant, is announcing its next-gen sustainability strategy that includes an eye-popping number: $100 billion over 10 years for “lending, investing and facilitating” activities focused on mitigating climate and other sustainability solutions.
Citi’s financial commitment is part of a larger five-year plan the bank is launching at an event this morning in New York. It outlines three “strategic priorities” for the bank that it says aligns the company’s corporate and sustainability strategies: combating climate change, championing sustainable cities, and promoting social progress, including “universal human rights.”
This isn’t Citi’s first sustainability strategy — or its first big financial commitment. Eight years ago, it made a $50 billion, 10-year pledge to invest in and finance projects that reduce global carbon emission; it met that goal last year, three years early.
The company long has been ahead of the curve. It was one of the first major banks to set reduction goals for energy, waste and water. In 2003, it was one of 10 global banks — and the only U.S. company — to sign the Equator Principles, a framework to help financial institutions manage environmental and social risk in project finance.
The new $100 billion goal “builds on the learnings that we accumulated during the first $50 billion,” Val Smith, director of corporate sustainability at Citi, told me recently.
“When we knew that we were going to hit the $50 billion goal three years early, we did an assessment across our different businesses. We wanted to expand the scope of the $100 billion goal so that we could capture a lot of other activities that are very important to people, that are very important to cities, that our clients are deeply engaged in.”