How our company lives its values—investing in the environment, strengthening communities and empowering employees

Provided by Merrill Lynch

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Over the past decade, more and more people have been doing their part to make the world a better place by investing to have a positive impact on their society and the earth. We understand the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, both in individual investment portfolios and the way a company conducts its own business.

At Bank of America, this starts with our strategy of responsible growth, with a focus on ESG factors. We demonstrate this in our global business activities by the way we serve our clients, work with partners, empower our employees and see to it that our operations have the least possible environmental impact. We can also help clients make connections with companies that share their ESG values and still receive a potential return on their investment.

"Increasingly, we find that prospective employees and clients look at what kind of company we are when making decisions on working for us or awarding us their business, and our existing clients require business to be conducted in a manner that is responsible and sustainable, in every sense,” said Anne Finucane, Vice Chairman. “As an example, we recognize the opportunity and responsibility to help finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Helping to power a cleaner world

Since 2007, our company has provided approximately $70 billion in financing low-carbon and other sustainable energy practices for businesses, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, advanced biofuels and energy efficiency. We have also made a commitment to direct $125 billion to sustainable and low-carbon businesses by 2025, more than double our previous commitment of $50 billion. In 2016 alone, we provided $14.5 billion.

In addition, our Catalytic Finance Initiative (CFI) expanded in 2016 to include eight additional partners, who together have pledged a total of $8 billion toward high-impact clean energy investments. The initiative focuses on developing and advancing innovative ways of financing that are designed to reduce investment risk, which will attract a broader range of institutional investors toward clean energy and sustainability-focused projects.

We have also been helping develop and expand the market for “green bonds” that finance environmental initiatives, including funding for a wide range of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

We have so far issued three corporate green bonds totaling $2.1 billion, including the first ever bond of its kind for $500 million in 2013, a second offering for $600 million in 2015 and $1 billion green bond—our third and largest to date—in 2016.

In addition, our Bank of America Merrill Lynch division has helped to underwrite more than $25 billion in green bonds—in partnership with other financial institutions—and was recognized by Bloomberg New Energy Finance as the number one underwriter of green bonds for three consecutive years (2014, 2015 and 2016).

In 2013, we co-authored the original version of the Green Bond Principles (GBP), a voluntary set of industry guidelines designed to bring integrity to the market and establish a uniform standard for defining what green bonds are.

Enabling clients to invest in their values

We recognize the opportunity and responsibility to help finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Anne Finucane
Vice Chairman at Bank of America

Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust committed early to environmental sustainability when they signed the Principles of Responsible Investing in 2014. Their Impact Investing platform offers hundreds of options for wealth management clients at every asset level—a program unique to Bank of America’s Wealth Management division. For more, see our Impact Investing page.

As a company, we continue to expand efforts to better manage the impacts of our operations on the environment. This is especially true in the areas of greenhouse gas emissions, water and paper consumption, waste generation and our supply chain. Because we are a large company, the steps we take to reduce these impacts—by being more efficient and influencing our supply chain—have a significant effect.

 

Increasing our commitment to sustainable growth

In 2016, we announced a new, stronger set of goals as we continue to work on reducing the environmental impacts of our operations. By 2020, we aim to reduce location-based greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, energy use by 40% and water use by 45% across the globe. We will also work to achieve carbon neutrality and expand our energy efficiency and conservation efforts. Finally, we have set a goal of purchasing 100% renewable electricity by 2020. These new commitments build on the success of the company’s 2010–2015 operations goals, which resulted in reductions in GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, water usage and much more.

Our strongest and most crucial environmental support comes from our employees across the globe. Whether they have direct roles at Bank of America to advance environmental business activities or they’re participants in our My Environment employee program, our team is committed to environmental issues. The My Environment program has more than 20,000 employee members in 31 countries. Since 2010, these employees have logged over 270,000 hours in environmental activities in their local communities across the world.

To learn more about our work, read our 2016 ESG report.


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