Citigroup Doubles Down, $100 Billion for Sustainable Finance

After meeting its 10-year goal to facilitate $50 billion in financing for clean energy in 2013 (three years early), Citigroup is doubling down.

The new goal is to "lend, invest and facilitate" $100 billion in financing over the next 10 years. In addition to renewable energy and energy efficiency financing, Citi says it is expanding to other sectors like transportation and offering clients financing to cut greenhouse gas emissions. They also want to help communities adapt to climate change by financing infrastructure improvements that manage waste better, increase access to clean water and give low and moderate-income families access to green, affordable housing. 

"Reducing carbon emissions and becoming more climate resilient is a key priority and major challenge for the world’s megacities and their business communities," says James Alexander, Head of the Finance and Economic Development Initiative at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of the world’s largest cities. "C40’s ongoing partnership with Citi is helping global cities overcome their climate finance challenges. Today’s announcement from Citi will bring more opportunities to help cities achieve their climate targets, and allow businesses to become more sustainable."

Citi sponsors NYC’s bike share program:

CitiBike

At the same time, Citi announced new internal environmental goals for 2020:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions 35% by 2020 and 80% by 2050
  • reduce energy and water use 30% and waste, 60%, from 2005 levels
  • 33% of Citi’s real estate portfolio will be LEED-certified, and earn LEED-Platinum for its New York City global headquarters.

That’s after meeting 2015 goals: 25% less emissions, 41% less waste to landfills, 20% less water use and a 20% more energy efficient global real estate portfolio, 15% of which is LEED certified.

Most of Citi’s emissions are associated with its loan portfolio – financing coal plants, for example. Most banks signed onto the Equator Principles years ago, promising to get their lending policies in line with social and environmental criteria.

Citigroup still ranks among the top five financiers of the "worst of the worst" coal companies, including operators of coal-fired power plants and mountaintop removal coal mines.

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