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On Earth Day, Reflecting On Our Path To Net Zero

April 22, 2022
Val Smith, Chief Sustainability Officer, Citi

On this 52nd Earth Day, we find ourselves in the midst of world events that are having serious impacts on people and our global economy, from the war in Ukraine to the evolving challenges of COVID-19. As we address these global issues, I'm also drawing connections and reflecting on another critical challenge: climate change. Earlier this month the IPCC released an important report, Mitigation of Climate Change, which reinforced the urgency of international cooperation and mobilizing financial resources to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. With that in mind, today I'm reflecting on what climate science is telling us, the important milestones from the past year, and how we plan to move forward to address the climate crisis on the road to net zero.

Embedding sustainable finance in our business

We believe that setting ambitious goals helps to drive innovation and accelerate meaningful progress. Last year, Citi announced our $1 trillion commitment to sustainable finance by 2030, a commitment that spans our business offerings and exemplifies how environmental and social finance are integrated across our business. This commitment is designed to support innovation and collective action with our clients toward providing solutions to the global challenges that are outlined in the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Under this goal, we are supporting large scale wind and solar installations as well as off-grid home solar energy, mass transit, electric vehicles, and sustainable agriculture. We are proud of the many ways that we are helping our clients to drive the solutions the world needs.

Moreover, because of the interconnected nature of sustainable finance, we are already seeing an increasing number of transactions with both environmental and social benefits. For example, last year we issued a $1 billion social finance bond to increase capital that enables access to essential services in emerging markets, such as electricity, clean water and affordable housing. In our upcoming ESG Report, we'll share more details on initiatives such as this, as well as the latest progress on our sustainable finance activity globally.

Our commitment to science and roadmap to net zero

But tackling climate change is not just about ratcheting up green finance. Working collaboratively with our clients to decarbonize and support their transitions is also a central focus of our net zero plan.

Following the commitment we announced in 2021 to reach net zero by 2050, we released our initial net zero plan in our 2021 TCFD Report published earlier this year. It includes our baseline financed greenhouse gas emissions and ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets for our Energy and Power loan portfolios – a 29% reduction in absolute emissions for Energy and a 63% reduction in emissions intensity for Power. Our net zero plan incorporates a twofold approach: assessing our clients' climate profiles and engaging them to accelerate their transition opportunities.

For our own operations, we are targeting net zero emissions by 2030. Last year, we undertook a discovery and planning process to develop a strategy for reaching this goal. This included broad engagement with employees and analysis to help us define the boundaries of the commitment, understand the potential challenges, and identify short-, medium- and long-term priorities to help us reach our goal.

Introducing Citi's Green Champions

Considering the increasingly complex sustainability and ESG landscape, we recognize that collective action is needed to achieve our goals, and our colleagues are a critical part of that effort. We recently launched Citi's Green Champions, an employee engagement initiative that fosters a global community of sustainability ambassadors throughout our company to champion Citi's own sustainability initiatives and net zero commitment. In recognition of Earth Day, Citi also hosted a firmwide Earth Day challenge to further educate and engage employees on sustainability topics over a two-week period. In total, our colleagues helped save an estimated 148K+ pounds of waste, 286K+ kilowatt hours of energy, and 792K+ bottles of water through this challenge*.

On this Earth Day, we're reinforcing our commitment to be transparent and accountable in our efforts to further integrate sustainability in our business – and to challenge ourselves to extend our efforts to accelerate toward a more sustainable and climate-resilient future.

* Estimated environmental benefits based on third party data calculations

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