Citigroup Pledges $50 Billion to Fight Climate Change
Citi will focus its investments on the commercialization and development of alternative energy and clean technology both within its own operations and among its clients.
The $50 billion target is an estimate based on market-based activities and transactions with clients as well as energy-saving, green projects within Citi’s own operations. This target includes nearly $10 billion in activities Citi has already undertaken to address climate change to date, and is the latest example of Citi’s ongoing efforts in the broader environmental arena, including investments to control its own environmental footprint, advice to clients on risks and opportunities, and policy engagement.
“One area where we believe we have this opportunity is on environmental and climate issues, which pose a significant challenge to the world, to the global economy, and to clients and require forceful action,” said Charles Prince, Chairman and CEO of Citi. “The comprehensive program we are announcing today is not a wish-list, but a realistic, achievable plan that serves a critical global need and responds to an emerging investment opportunity.”
Among other actions Citi has taken on environmental issues, the company has worked to develop the Equator Principles, establishing best practices for assessing and mitigating social and environmental risks in project finance. The company has also called for the development of global and U.S. frameworks that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive innovation and opportunity, bring clarity and certainty to the markets and achieve a level playing field.
“This new initiative is an excellent complement to Citi’s call for stronger, market-based climate policy in the United States and abroad,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “Citi understands how profoundly climate change will transform the economy, and they are pioneering opportunities for the capital markets to meet the climate challenge.”
Among the actions Citi plans to take within its own operations as part of this investment is a planned ten-fold increase, to $10 billion, of its commitment to reduce its corporate environmental footprint through its own real estate portfolio, procurement and energy use. This is part of its larger pledge to reduce GHG emissions by 10 percent by 2011.
In the company’s investment strategies, Citi’s Markets & Banking group plans to invest in and finance over $31 billion in clean energy and alternative technology over the next ten years through the expansion of existing activities and the launch of new client services.
The group sees extensive opportunities to use its nearly $7.5 billion in investments to support companies working in alternative energies like solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy; helping to commercialize energy efficiency ideas; and facilitating investments in aging infrastructure using clean and efficient technologies.
Citi has been expanding its portfolio of renewable energy investments, including wind farms in Minnesota and New Mexico. Citi also underwrote U.S. Green Bonds for a green/carbon neutral real-estate development in Syracuse, NY, and will continue developing innovative financial products to support clients as they implement climate change initiatives.
In addition to these new investments, Citi is already undertaking other activities to help fight climate change. The company is encouraging the use of paperless statements for Citibank, Citi Smith Barney and Citi Cards customers. The company has also committed to plant a tree for each customer who signs up for paperless statements.
And in 2006, the Citi Foundation provided $2 million in grants for sustainable enterprise, including climate-related programs in alternative energy and sustainable forestry and agriculture, and expects to continue to develop and grow this portfolio. The Citi Foundation currently supports projects such as the Ecologic Development Fund, which works in Honduras and Panama to produce community-based carbon offsets via the reforestation of a reserve.
Citi also endorses industry-wide efforts to advance climate solutions, and is actively involved with other corporations on climate change in such groups as Columbia University’s Global Roundtable on Climate Change, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change’s Business Environmental Leadership Council, the 3C initiative led by Vattenfall, the World Resources Institute, and Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program.