Our physical environment is changing at an unprecedented pace and organizations – both public and private – recognize the need to shift from a business-as-usual mind-set. In September 2015, world leaders adopted the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”); of which, 6 out of its 17 goals are directly related to the environment and green jobs.
Citi is at the forefront of meeting this need in support of a sustainable global economy, through environmental financing (environmental financing involves using financial instruments such as loans, equity, and bonds to increase financial flows towards research, projects, products and services that have a positive impact on the environment). In 2010, the group made a bold 10-year commitment to finance and facilitate $100 billion in environmental finance activities beginning in 2014. Citi exceeded that goal in 2019 — four years ahead of schedule. Much of the work that Citi counted toward its goal was most aligned with three of the SDGs: SDG 7, which seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; SDG 11, which aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; and SDG 13, which contributes to urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Beyond the dollar amount of direct financing, a crucial measure of success is the real-world impact of Citi’s financing and lending activities. Measurable impact areas include the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions avoided, jobs supported, and community benefits realized. The estimated 11.8 million metric tons (mt) of avoided GHG emissions as a result of Citi’s activities throughout the duration of the goal is the equivalent of removing more than 2.5 million cars from the road for one year. Also, since 2014, more than 198,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs were supported by the environmental financing Citi provided its clients.
Although these achievements are laudable and much progress has been made towards achieving sustainability targets, there is still a lot of work to be done and Citi, in recognition of this, continues to take steps to move the global financial sector forward in this regard.