Texan by Nature is excited to recognize Bank of America as a 2021 TxN 20 honoree for their leadership in conservation and sustainability. Bank of America’s commitment to conservation, their projects, programs, best practices, and lessons learned are an example and inspiration for us all.
Honoree Name: Bank of America
Honoree Industry and Size: Financial Services – Enterprise
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses, and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management, and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 66 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,300 retail financial centers, approximately 17,000 ATMs, and award-winning digital banking with approximately 41 million active users, including approximately 32 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bank of America is committed to improving the environment in how we approach our global business strategy, work with partners, make our operations more sustainable, support our employees, manage risks, and govern our activities. Our serious commitment to environmental activities starts at the top, with leadership that ensures strong governance and reporting. We set industry-leading business and operational goals, partnering across our lines of business to identify and advance solutions. As a large, global company, we understand the impact our operations have on the environment and the potential we have to make a difference. Our scale lets us take measurable action to reduce our impacts by operating with greater efficiency, by employing new technologies, and by influencing our supply chain. Our employees also play a key role in reducing our environmental impact. We empower them to make a difference through our My Environment® program, employee reimbursement programs, and environmentally focused volunteer events.
How is conservation and sustainability a part of Bank of America’s business strategy?
At Bank of America, we drive responsible growth by focusing on our clients, managing risk well, and making sure our growth is sustainable. Embedded in our operating model, our focus on sustainability extends to how we support our clients through:
We continue to address some of society’s biggest challenges through our sustainable finance efforts, including leveraging our scale, global reach, talent, and financial capabilities to advance the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and help accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy. We take a proactive approach to deploying sustainable finance, which focuses on transforming markets and accelerating a global shift to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. This holistic approach, driven from the highest levels of our company, brings together our corporate leadership and eight lines of business to deploy capital at scale to drive the environmental transition.
Since becoming the first bank globally to launch an Environmental Business Initiative in 2007, we’ve deployed:
“We’re grateful to be recognized in the TxN 20 for our work on conservation and sustainability. Developing solutions to climate change and other environmental challenges is a significant part of our focus on responsible, sustainable growth. By taking measurable action to reduce our environmental impacts and deploying significant financial and intellectual capital with clients and partners, we’re simultaneously driving positive societal change and business returns.”
– Jennifer Chandler, Dallas President, Bank of America.
What are your company’s short and long-term goals as they relate to conservation and sustainability?
Building on our longstanding support for the Paris Climate Agreement, we have a goal to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our financing activities, operations, and supply chain before 2050. As part of the transition to net zero emissions, in July 2020, we joined the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) as a member of the Global Core Team. In collaboration with 15 other financial institutions, we participated in the development of the Global GHG Accounting and Reporting Standard for the Financial Industry, providing a consistent methodology to assess and disclose emissions associated with financing activities. Bank of America is committed to disclosing our financed emissions no later than 2023.
Our Environmental Business Initiative will deploy and mobilize $1 trillion by 2030 to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy, as part of a broader $1.5 trillion sustainable finance goal aligned to addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our multi-year financing commitment provides financial capital, along with significant intellectual capital, to develop solutions to climate change and other environmental challenges. It focuses on low-carbon energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation, in addition to addressing other important areas like water conservation, land use, and waste.
We also are making our operations more sustainable — including achieving carbon neutrality and procuring 100% renewable electricity in 2019, a year ahead of schedule. We have now established the next set of targets for our operations and supply chain to be achieved by 2030:
Who in your company is leading your conservation and sustainability efforts and what are some examples of employee engagement in conservation and sustainability at your company?
Conservation and sustainability leaders at Bank of America:
-Anne Finucane, Vice Chairman, is responsible for the strategic positioning of Bank of America and leads the company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG), sustainable finance, capital deployment, and public policy efforts. She chairs the bank’s Global ESG Committee and co-chairs the Sustainable Markets Committee.
-Karen Fang, Global Head of Sustainable Finance, oversees Bank of America’s business activities, including financing, advisory, and distribution in social and environmental progress globally. Karen serves on the bank’s ESG Committee and Sustainable Markets Committee.
-Alexandra Liftman, Global Environmental Executive, is responsible for the bank’s global environmental sustainability strategy, including business activities, operational initiatives, employee programs, public and corporate policy, and philanthropic and other investments.
Examples of employee engagement in conservation and sustainability:
For over 10 years, the My Environment® employee program has connected Bank of America teammates across the globe who share a passion to become better environmental stewards at work, at home, and in their communities. With more than 24,000 members in 32 countries, members participate in community clean-up events, recycling campaigns, webinars, and online courses — learning, sharing information, and inspiring each other along the way.
To maximize our impact, utilizing our global expertise and resources, Bank of America works with groups deeply involved in environmental issues
For example, we have partnered with American Forests on the Community ReLeaf program to bring more trees to urban areas, improve the environment, and enhance livability. In cities across the U.S., including Houston, Bank of America staff have volunteered to help plant trees:
“Too often we just treat urban forests like scenery, when in fact they are critical life-or-death infrastructure for the health, wealth, and well-being of people in cities. With partners like Bank of America, we can change that so everybody benefits from the many ‘services’ trees provide to us.”
-Jad Daley, American Forests President and CEO
By 2030, Community ReLeaf will accomplish the following: In 100 of America’s cities, every lower-income neighborhood achieves a passing Tree Equity Score — an indicator that the neighborhood has enough trees in the right places so that all people benefit from trees. At least 100,000 people, particularly those from marginalized communities, have entered jobs in forestry.
Additionally, Bank of America Tower in Fort Worth is participating in the National Audubon Society’s Lights Out initiative to help protect the lives of birds as they begin their fall migration through Texas. Lights in the building are dimmed each night through November 30.
What conservation and sustainability programs and projects does your company lead and participate in?
In 2020, Bank of America helped launch the U.S. Chapter and U.S. Stakeholder Council of 1t.org, the movement to conserve, restore, and grow one trillion trees globally by 2030. For years, we’ve worked with partners like American Forests, Arbor Day Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy to transform communities by planting trees, especially in low-income, moderate-income, and underserved communities. We’re proud to extend these efforts as a partner of the 1t.org initiative and continue to support ecologically appropriate and climate-informed forestry, long-term stewardship, and community engagement to benefit all stakeholders. We also work with various leading nonprofit forest organizations, the United States Department of Agriculture, carbon offset verification and certification agencies, and large corporations to catalyze action on carbon offset purchase and financing. Our goal is to bring much-needed upfront capital into various reforestation and restoration projects as soon as possible.
Community Green Efforts:
Bank of America provides funding support to nonprofit organizations to advance community greening efforts that create healthy neighborhoods and environmental sustainability through the preservation, creation, or restoration of open space, parks and community gardens. In Texas, recent projects include:
In 2020, Bank of America announced our first 10-year structured renewable energy agreement for solar power in Texas. In partnership with Reliant, an NRG Energy company headquartered in Houston, the deal will contribute to our commitment to purchase 100% of electricity from renewable sources and builds on our carbon-neutral efforts. The project will provide electricity through the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region to 345 facilities, which include office sites, financial centers and ATMs. Bank of America will receive both electricity and Green-e®-certified renewable energy certificates (RECs). The agreement will supply 160,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity to Bank of America’s Texas operations annually. The project will be located in west central Texas and is expected to be operational in mid-2022. In the interim, the bank’s Texas facilities will receive electricity and Green-e®-certified RECs from other renewable energy projects contracted by NRG.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to creating a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. Since 2011, Bank of America has supported the organization in these efforts. We partnered with USGBC to launch the Local Government Leadership Program in 2017 and have contributed more than $1.75 million to support 56 cities and counties in their pursuit of certification through the LEED green building rating system. The program helps local governments committed to reducing climate change and advancing resilience and social equity by measuring and tracking performance using the LEED for Cities rating system. Houston is among the local governments that have been selected for the program and The Bank of America Tower in Houston is known for its leading edge sustainability features and was the first LEED v4 Platinum Core and Shell certified project in the U.S. The building was recognized as the most sustainable office tower in Houston, using 32% less energy than other facilities. Other features include:
How do you see the future of conservation and sustainability evolving, and what role will your company play in that progress?
Across the world, there is a growing desire to support investments that have an intersecting societal and environmental net-positive impact. We’re at the forefront of this growing market by delivering innovative sustainable finance solutions for our clients. For example, we issued a $2 billion Equality Progress Sustainability Bond in September 2020 to advance racial equality, economic opportunity, and environmental sustainability. The social side of the proceeds are exclusively allocated to make new and impactful investments and lending in affordable housing, healthcare, and small businesses in Black and Hispanic-Latino communities. This first-of-its-kind transaction inspired other issuers to follow similar approaches, scaling capital for wealth creation and socioeconomic empowerment of these communities. Representing our eighth ESG-themed corporate bond, this brought our firm’s aggregate total of issuance to $9.85 billion.
Looking ahead, we will continue to leverage our scale and financial capabilities to accelerate transformational change through client engagement, deploying and mobilizing capital, and envisioning and structuring innovative deals. By staying rooted in our responsible growth purpose, we believe our company is well-positioned to continue delivering success for our shareholders, teammates, clients, and communities.
How does your company quantify investment and return on conservation and sustainability?
Bank of America teamed up with consulting firm EY to analyze the economic impacts resulting from a subset of our second Environmental Business Initiative commitment, which closed in late 2019, six years ahead of schedule. As part of the analysis, EY estimated how the outputs of Bank of America’s U.S. environmental finance have contributed to the United States economy, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We refer to this as the “value added” by these projects. From 2013 to 2018, the $41.6 billion (U.S.) subset of capital deployed from our $125 billion Environmental Business Initiative (by 2025) helped to contribute $51.4 billion to U.S. GDP.
EY also estimated that in 2018 in the U.S., Bank of America’s environmental finance efforts supported 159,998 jobs. EY’s analysis showed that these jobs are in industries — such as wind, solar, energy conservation, and energy efficiency — that pay good wages, with all project types supporting a higher average compensation than the U.S. annual average of $53,154.
These findings underscore our firmly held belief that tackling climate change is not just an environmental imperative, but also an economic opportunity. As we continue to grow responsibly as a company, Bank of America is in a position to provide the financing necessary to build a more sustainable global economy.
What is the one lesson that Bank of America has learned from your conservation and sustainability efforts that others can take back and think about applying within their own space?
At Bank of America, we have a strong track record of advancing sustainability in our own operations and in our communities, but we have learned that we can have even greater impact by also assisting our clients in their carbon reduction journeys. We are well positioned to
In 2020, we developed the “4 R’s” approach to decarbonization for our corporate clients: Reduce, Renew, Retire, and Realign. We financed energy efficiency projects that helped clients
We are also helping develop a more robust, voluntary carbon-offset market. We’d encourage others to think about how they can go beyond their own operations and integrate sustainability across their value chain, including with clients and suppliers.
Why is Texas an important home or base of operations for Bank of America?
Texas leads the nation in raw population growth, according to recent Census data, and is home to some of the most diverse cities in the country. By GDP, Texas ranks as the world’s ninth largest economy. The state’s strong economic and employment climate provide opportunity for business growth and success. Bank of America holds $165 billion in total FDIC deposits (as of June 30, 2020), has provided $1.7 billion in credit to small businesses and $17 billion in loans to commercial businesses in Texas. Since 2016, the bank has provided $56 million in grants and matching gifts on behalf of Texas employees to advance economic mobility.
Bank of America began serving Texas more than 100 years ago, and our footprint in the state has grown to include 375 financial centers, 1,533 ATMs, eight Private Bank offices and 45 Merrill® offices. Outside of our Charlotte, N.C. headquarters, DFW is home to Bank of America’s second-largest employee base, and there are more than 19,000 Bank of America employees across the state of Texas.
Learn more about Bank of America’s conservation and sustainability efforts here.
The My Environment® employee program connects Bank of America teammates across the globe who share a passion to become better environmental stewards at work, at home, and in their communities. Members participate in community clean-up events, recycling campaigns, webinars, and online courses.
EY estimated that in 2018 in the U.S., Bank of America’s environmental finance efforts supported 159,998 jobs. EY’s analysis showed that these jobs are in industries — such as wind, solar, energy conservation, and energy efficiency — that pay good wages, with all project types supporting a higher average compensation than the U.S. annual average of $53,154.
In Texas, $850,000 in grants was distributed to Hermann Park Conservancy in Houston, State Fair of Texas’ Big Tex Urban Farms in Dallas, and Hemisfair Park in San Antonio to support revitalization and greening efforts.
More than $1.75 million contributed to support 56 cities and counties in their pursuit of certification through the LEED green building rating system.
Fort Worth, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Austin, Dallas, Houston, & More, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas