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Reinforcing Our Sustainability Commitments on Earth Day

April 22, 2021
Val Smith, Chief Sustainability Officer, Citi

Over the last year through the COVID-19 pandemic, Citi has been focused on ensuring, above all else, the health and safety of our colleagues and loved ones – and supporting the economic security of those most impacted by the pandemic.

On this 51st Earth Day, we recognize that our fight against COVID-19 isn't over, but that it's also not too early to reflect on the lessons we've learned and how they apply to the longer-term climate crisis.

We must listen to scientists

We believe that global financial institutions like Citi have the opportunity and the responsibility to play a leading role in the transition to a net zero economy – in line with what science tells us is needed. Last month, we made our own commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which includes emissions associated with our financing as well as achieving net zero for our own operations by 2030. We recognize this will require collaboration and engagement across our entire firm and our clients, and we are developing a plan over the course of the year for how we intend to accomplish this ambition.

To build on this commitment, yesterday, Citi became a founding signatory of the Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), a global alliance of 43 banks across 23 countries convened by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, working to achieve net zero by 2050. NZBA establishes a common industry framework and guidelines for banking net zero commitments and will help guide us in our net zero journey.

The best time to act is now

If the pandemic taught us one thing, it is that we don't have a moment to lose when it comes to addressing a crisis. Last summer, in the midst of the pandemic, Citi announced our 2025 Sustainable Progress Strategy with this urgency in mind – at its core is an ambitious commitment to finance and facilitate $250 billion in environmental solutions.

Building on our new strategy, we recently set a goal to finance $1 trillion in sustainable financing by 2030. This commitment includes extending our $250 Billion Environmental Finance Goal to $500 billion by 2030, as well as an additional $500 billion target to finance other important activities that advance the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Understanding that environmental and social wellbeing are closely connected, we're continuing to look at environmental justice as a human rights risk in our environmental and social risk management policies and conducting enhanced due diligence on our client activities and projects as part of Citi's Environmental and Social Risk Management Policy. Additional highlights of our work from the past year include:

  • We were one of the largest underwriters of green, social, and sustainability bonds globally and #1 for USD-denominated sustainable finance bonds, with a total of $10.1 billion of underwriting in overall thematic bonds that contributed toward our $250 Billion Environmental Finance Goal;
  • We saw an expanding interest in sustainability-linked loans from clients across diverse industries, totaling $4.6 billion in financing towards our $250 Billion Goal from this innovative financial product;
  • We became the first U.S. bank to establish a coal-fired power policy that restricts financing for companies expanding coal power and establishes expectations for decarbonization that our clients with coal-fired power will be expected to meet;
  • We reached our goal of sourcing 100% renewable electricity to power all of our global facilities.

As the world begins to emerge from COVID-19, we know that we cannot go back to business-as-usual. On this Earth Day, we pledge to take the lessons we've learned over the last year and extend our efforts to build a more sustainable future.