You have been CEO for a short period of time and have announced that Citi will be net zero in its lending business by 2050, a set of 2030 goals, and a new coal policy. In climate, what do you want Citi to accomplish between now and 2030?
First, let me thank Secretary Kerry for both your leadership on climate and for your invitation to this important summit.
I may have been CEO for only a short time, but Citi has been helping lead our industry’s drive to sustainability for many years.
We helped create the Equator Principles in 2003 and the Green Bond Principles in 2014, both establishing important industry standards.
In 2018, Citi became the first U.S. bank to report on our efforts to implement the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures framework, providing transparency about the impact climate change has from a risk management perspective.
I am happy to see the cross-section of institutions participating today. Solving climate change will require the ultimate public-private partnership, and agreeing on common metrics and standards.
At Citi, our goals for 2030 are grounded around three priorities:
1) Financing climate solutions;
2) Measuring the reduction of climate risk and impact of our client portfolio; and
3) Continuing to minimize our own company’s direct impacts on the planet.
We recently committed to financing $500 billion in environmental projects and activities by 2030. This is a tenfold increase over our first commitment made back in 2007.
Combined with our plans to finance $500 billion by 2030 in areas like health care and affordable housing, we have committed a total of $1 trillion to advance the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
Some think that confronting climate change and creating jobs and economic inclusion are in conflict. But we believe we will only be successful in tackling our global challenges if these agendas are working together. Solving climate change must be a driver of jobs and economic prosperity.
Now, in what is our biggest challenge yet, we are targeting net zero emissions by the year 2050.
Underscoring its importance, I announced this commitment on my very first day as CEO.
This is a bold goal for a global bank like ours because it means not only addressing the emissions from our own operations—which we intend to by 2030—but also those emissions produced by our client portfolio.
Yesterday, we were proud to help launch the Net Zero Banking Alliance to establish a common industry framework for net zero.
We know that to truly fight climate change, our clients—which include many of the world’s biggest multinationals, as well as investors and even countries—will also need to transition to net zero, and we will support them on their journey.
Net zero is easy to say but hard to do. And make no mistake: this is going to be really hard. It will require three things:
1) Putting hard numbers to this. Looking across our client portfolio, particularly our carbon-intensive sectors, and measuring our financed emissions is a herculean task.
2) Having tough conversations with our clients. Do they have a net zero plan themselves? How can we partner with them on execution? And if a client isn’t interested in decarbonizing, what does that mean for our long-term relationship?
3) Looking outside our company, we must accelerate technology development, whether it is through renewables or carbon capture, and support the public policy that will be essential to making this all happen.
We are acting with urgency, and we are excited about the road ahead. But I want to underscore that this is not going to be easy. So we will all need pragmatism and partnership.
And I can assure you, whether it’s the drive to net zero, or the other important parts of our ESG agenda – including closing the gender pay gap and promoting racial equity—we are backing up our commitments with real action and measurable results.
Our clients, our shareholders and our people expect nothing less.
Thank you for having me today.