OVER THE PAST DECADE, more and more people have been doing their part to make the world a better place by investing to have a positive impact on their society and the earth. We understand the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, both in individual investment portfolios and the way a company conducts its own business.
At Bank of America, this starts with our strategy of responsible growth, with a focus on ESG factors. We demonstrate this in our global business activities by the way we serve our clients, work with partners, empower our employees and see to it that our operations have the least possible environmental impact. We can also help clients make connections with companies that share their ESG values and still receive a potential return on their investment.
“Increasingly, we find that prospective employees and clients look at what kind of company we are when making decisions on working for us or awarding us their business, and our existing clients require business to be conducted in a manner that is responsible and sustainable, in every sense,” said Anne Finucane, Vice Chairman. “As an example, we recognize the opportunity and responsibility to help finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Since 2007, our company has provided more than $53 billion in financing low-carbon and other sustainable energy practices for businesses – including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, advanced biofuels and energy efficiency. We have also made a commitment to direct $125 billion to sustainable and low-carbon businesses by 2025, more than double our previous commitment of $50 billion. In 2015 alone, we provided $14.5 billion.
In addition, in 2016 our Catalytic Finance Initiative (CFI) expanded to include eight additional partners, who together have pledged a total of $8 billion toward high-impact clean energy investments. The initiative focuses on developing and advancing innovative ways of financing that are designed to reduce investment risk, which will attract a broader range of institutional investors toward clean energy and sustainability-focused projects.
We have also been helping develop and expand the market for “green bonds” that finance environmental projects. We issued the first-ever corporate green bond in 2013 totaling $500 million. We followed this up in 2015 with a second green bond valued at $600 million, with proceeds funding renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
In our Global Wealth and Investment Management division, we offer a Carbon Reserve-Free Strategy that allows investors to exclude companies that own, extract, distribute, or process carbon reserves, as well as firms that convert petroleum directly into energy with CO2 as the byproduct.
“We recognize the opportunity and responsibility to help finance the transition to a low-carbon economy” —Anne Finucane,Vice Chairman at Bank of America
Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust committed early to environmental sustainability when they signed the Principles of Responsible Investing in 2014, becoming the first wealth management firms to do so. Their Impact Investing platform offers hundreds of options for wealth management clients at every asset level — a program unique to Bank of America. For more, see our Impacting Investing page.
As a company, we continue to expand efforts to better manage the impacts of our operations on the environment. This is especially true in the areas of greenhouse gas emissions, water and paper consumption, waste generation and our supply chain. Because we are a large company, the steps we take to reduce these impacts—by being more efficient and influencing our supply chain—have a significant effect.
Recently we announced a new, stronger set of goals as we continue to work on reducing the environmental impacts of our operations. By 2020, we aim to reduce location-based greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, energy use by 40% and water use by 45% across the globe. We will also work to achieve carbon neutrality and expand our energy efficiency and conservation efforts. Finally, we have set a goal of purchasing 100% renewable electricity by 2020. These new commitments build on the success of the company’s 2010-2015 operations goals, which resulted in reductions in GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) emissions, water usage and much more.
Our strongest and most crucial environmental support comes from our employees across the globe. Whether they have direct roles at Bank of America to advance environmental business activities or they’re participants in our My Environment employee program, our team is focused on environmental issues. The My Environment program has nearly 20,000 employee members in 32 countries. Since 2010, these employees have logged over 227,000 hours in environmental activities in their local communities across the world.
To learn more about our work, read our 2015 ESG report or visit bankofamerica.com/environment.
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Social Impact Bonds are a new and evolving investment opportunity, which are highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. An investor could lose all or a substantial amount of their investment. The information contained herein is not investment advice. It is presented for information purposes only and is not intended to be either specific offer by any Bank of America Merrill Lynch entity to sell or provide, or a specific invitation for a client to apply for, any particular product or