A winding road through a forest

Creating a more sustainable world through the power of partnership

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the blueprint to achieving a more sustainable future by 2030. Yet, while organizations around the world work to advance these 17 goals, there remains a significant gap between the capital needed to address global environmental and social challenges, and what is currently being spent — an estimated $3 trillion, annually.footnote1

The public and nonprofit sectors alone can’t solve challenges as large as providing clean water to the nearly 800 million people who lack itfootnote2, or transitioning the global energy grid to renewables. Private-sector leadership and investment is also critical to driving the change needed to realize the SDGs. For its part, Bank of America, is deploying and mobilizing $1 trillion by 2030 through an Environmental Business Initiative in order to accelerate the transition to a net zero economy. This commitment anchors a broader $1.5 trillion sustainable finance goal focused on supporting environmental transition and inclusive development activities across the globe.

Below are examples of how Bank of America is working alongside partners to drive innovation and advance the SDGs:

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Sustainable Consumption & Production (SDG 12): Terracycle aims to make everything recyclable, and inspire everyone to be a recycler

“Humans are about one hundred times more wasteful than we were just seventy years ago,” notes Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle in the video above. Today, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute and 5 trillion single use plastic bags are thrown out annually, according to the United Nationsfootnote3. Yet each year in the United States, only 8.7% of plastic is recycled. TerraCycle focuses on reducing waste first by making more kinds of products recyclable, and then devising innovative ways to integrate the recycled materials into new products.

TerraCycle is working to realize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12: Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns. This goal is grounded in the recognition that creating more responsible consumption and production processes will be key to achieving a more sustainable global economy and healthier environment. “More and more, people are focused on companies that take their carbon footprint seriously,” notes Brian Juleskusky, senior relationship manager at Bank of America, “Terracycle enables companies to reach their sustainability goals.”

Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7): ENGIE’s global approach to building a net zero future

Net zero, a balance between the amount of greenhouse gasses produced and removed from the atmosphere, “is one of the single greatest imperatives of our time,” notes Bill Collins, CEO of ENGIE North America, in the video above. To help achieve United Nations SDG 7, providing clean, affordable energy for all, the energy sector must undergo a rapid and expansive transformation. In fact, transitioning to renewable energy by 2050 has the potential to significantly limit global warming to under 1.5° Celsius, a number widely accepted as critical in mitigating the most disruptive effects of climate change.footnote4

ENGIE’s portfolio of solar, wind and other renewable energy projects span nearly 50 countries across the globe. “ENGIE was one of the first energy companies focusing on decarbonization, decentralization and digitization,” Managing Director, Head of EMEA Power, Utilities & Renewables Investment Banking Patrick De Loe notes. “Sustainability is embedded in our long-term business strategy and working with a client like ENGIE is key to achieving a healthier and more equitable world.”

Sustainable Transportation (SDG 11.2): How Proterra is helping build the future of clean, sustainable transportation

The EPA estimates that the transportation sector accounts for more than one-quarter of energy-related CO₂ emissions worldwide. While much attention has been paid to lessening these emissions by transforming light-duty passenger vehicles, there’s also ample opportunity to innovate heavy-duty commercial vehicles used for public transportation —especially diesel buses. 

A single typical diesel bus emits nearly 230,000 pounds of greenhouse gases each year. Transitioning public transportation to clean energy could reduce global CO₂ emissions by as much as 20%. That’s one reason the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11.2 — which calls for providing access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all — specifies the development of electric vehicles (EVs), and specifically electric buses, as a means to achieving that objective while meeting consumer demand for reliable public transportation.

Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacture of battery systems and electric drivetrains for commercial vehicles, charging infrastructure solutions for commercial fleets, and zero-emission, electric transit buses.

In the video above, leaders from Proterra discuss how partners like Bank of America are helping them in their efforts to develop safer, cleaner, more reliable transportation.

Mahesh Ramanujam, President and Chief Executive Officer, USGBC, on SDG 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to creating a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC strives to create and transform spaces, making them brighter and healthier for us to live, work and play in. Since 2011, Bank of America has supported USGBC in these efforts.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11 was created to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Here, USGBC President and CEO Mahesh Ramanuham shares his thoughts on how – with Bank of America’s support – USGBC has the power to create a more sustainable world.

Sustainable Food Production (SDG 2.4): Little Leaf Farms’ local approach to feeding the world

Inside one of the most technologically-advanced lettuce growing greenhouses in the world, Little Leaf Farms, a Devens, MA, company, is rethinking how food is grown and distributed. By keeping their production facilities close to the markets they serve, using on-site renewable energy, and integrating sustainable growing practices into their business model, Little Leaf is able to minimize their environmental impact while providing New England’s 14 million+ population with fresh, nutritious lettuce. “There’s no reason to ship food across the country,” notes Tim Cunniff of Little Leaf. “You can do it economically and sustainably while supporting local economies.”

Little Leaf’s innovative approach to growing food is one example of how private industries are adjusting their business models to help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. By 2050, it’s estimated that 1.5 billion people will lack a sufficient supply of fruits or vegetables. Addressing the significant environmental impacts of a growing global population, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2.4 is designed to promote sustainable food production systems and drive the implementation of resilient agricultural practices.

Here, the Little Leaf team discusses why they’re rethinking traditional agriculture, and how – with Bank of America’s support – they plan on building a more sustainable food production and supply chain.

Our ongoing commitment

Partnering with clients is just one way Bank of America is supporting long-term responsible and sustainable growth through its $1 trillion environmental business initiative.

Learn more about how we are financing the environmental transition and inclusive development needed to achieve the SDGS.