Bank of America

RATING

SECTOR

Financial Services

WEBSITE

CONTACT

100 N Tryon St. Charlotte,
NC 28202,
USA

STOCK EXCHANGE

LISTING

EMPLOYEES

208,000

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Lisa Shpritz

AWARDS

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Report created by Aravind Samala

Bank of America Corporation

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Bank of America (BOA) 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.

Bank of America Corp. is a bank and financial holding company, which engages in the provision of banking and non-bank financial services.

Every day, they provide unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 66 million consumer and small business clients. 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. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries.

It operates through the following segments: 

  • The Consumer Banking segment offers credit, banking, and investment products and services to consumers and small businesses.
  • The Global Wealth and Investment Management provides client experience through a network of financial advisors focused on to meet their needs through a full set of investment management, brokerage, banking, and retirement products.
  • The Global Banking segment deals with lending-related products and services, integrated working capital management and treasury solutions to clients, and underwriting and advisory services.
  • The Global Markets segment includes sales and trading services, as well as research, to institutional clients across fixed-income, credit, currency, commodity, and equity businesses.
  • The Legacy Assets and Servicing segment concerns mortgage servicing activities related to residential first mortgage and home equity loans serviced for others and loans held by the corporation.

Bank of America’s emphasis on ESG says that they have a clear purpose to help make financial lives better through the power of every connection. They fulfil this purpose through their commitment to responsible growth, which includes a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership.

Integrated across their eight lines of business — their ESG focus reflects their values, ensures they are holding themselves accountable, presents tremendous business opportunity, and allows them to create shared success with their clients and communities.

Company Sustainability Activity

According to the company, Bank of America is committed to improving the environment in how they approach their global business strategy, work with partners, support their employees, make their operations more sustainable, manage issues and govern their activities.

Since 2007, their Environmental Business Initiative has mobilized more than $158 billion in financing to low-carbon and sustainable business activities across the globe. Their 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.

They also are making their operations more sustainable – including achieving carbon neutrality and procuring 100% renewable electricity in 2019, a year ahead of schedule. They offer programs and benefits that help employees become better environmental stewards.

Highlights

  • Capital deployment: In 2018, BOA mobilized, conservatively, more than $50 billion that impacted a key subset of the SDGs. 
  • Environmental business commitment: Deployed $21.5 billion in capital to support low-carbon, sustainable business activities through lending, investing, capital raising, and developing financial solutions for clients around the world as part of their environmental business commitment to deploy $125 billion by 2025. Since 2013, they have delivered nearly $105 billion toward this goal. 
  • Green bonds and social bonds: Issued their fourth and largest green bond for $2.25 billion and issued a $500 million social bond — the first social bond issued by a U.S. bank.
  • Since 2014, BOA have partnered with (RED) to help create an AIDS-free generation, committing a total of $20 million through 2020 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  • Over 50% of their global workforce is women
  • Over 50% of their management team are women or people of color

Targets

  • Achieve carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 emissions 
  • Reduce energy by 40%
  • Reduce location-based GHG emissions 50%
  • Maintain LEED Certification in 20% of the company’s owned and leased space and manage 19 million square feet of LEED certified office space across the globe 
  • Reduce water use by 45% 
  • Maintain an average of 10% recycled content in paper
  • Purchase 100% of paper from certified sources 
  • Reduce waste to landfill by 35% baseline 2011
  • Dispose of 100% of e-waste using certified responsible vendors 
  • Maintain 90% responses rate to their CDP supply chain requests 
  • Increase the number of CDP supply chain responding vendors who report GHG emissions 90% 

Progress

  • BOA reduced energy use 42% globally since 2010 primarily by consolidating space and implementing energy efficiency projects.
  • BOA has reduced location-based emissions 56% globally since 2010.
  • Achieved carbon neutrality in their operations by purchasing renewable energy, reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions, and offsetting the remaining with the purchase of carbon offsets.

Environmental business commitment

Over the past six years, BOA has delivered nearly $105 billion towards environmental business and made a commitment to deploy $125 billion by 2025 in financing for low-carbon and sustainable business to address climate change and other demands on natural resources.

As part of this commitment, they have delivered $49 billion over the last four years towards clients connected to clean energy, energy efficiency, water conservation, sustainable transportation and other environmentally supportive activities.

Through their first and now second environmental business commitments, they have provided a total of $70 billion in financing for low-carbon and sustainable business activities since 2007. Their commitment continues as they work to address climate change.

A key part of their climate-finance efforts includes the expansion of the green bond market, helping to increase investments in initiatives with environmental benefits such as incorporating solar energy into a company’s operations or making buildings more energy-efficient. 

Climate Change Advocacy

Through their membership in various trade associations and advocacy organizations, BOA takes an active public policy stance on local, national and global climate change issues, advocating for a stable and predictable regulatory environment with a goal to advance clean energy and a low-carbon economy.

They are members of groups such as the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance (U.S. PREF) which is managed by the American Council on Renewable Energy, Ceres and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Addressing clean water and sanitation

In 2018, BOA closed on their $5 million loan to WaterEquity’s WaterCredit Investment Fund 3, which immediately deployed the capital to microfinance institutions on the ground to provide loans that connect households to clean water and sanitation. This fund will impact 4.6 million people in India, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines.

They also provided a $250,000 grant to GivePower Foundation to install solar-powered desalination systems, bringing safe water to communities in developing areas.

Since 2015, they have delivered $1.75 million in grants to the GivePower Foundation, which has supported solar technology in over 1,800 schools and 22 community microgrids.

Employees and the environment, making a positive difference

BOA’s My Environment® employee program drives positive environmental change by helping employees act as better environmental stewards at work, at home and in the communities where they work and live. Today this program has nearly 25,000 active employee members across more than 30 countries.

Each year they offer a variety of programs for employees to participate in, such as expert webinars and discussion courses, My Environment® employee engagement challenges and many volunteer opportunities working locally with environmentally focused nonprofits.

  • Employees since 2010 have volunteered more than 450,000 hours, of which more than 75,000 hours were recorded in 2019 on environmentally focused volunteer programs.
  • In 2019, more than 2,300 employees and 1,400 employees participated in the Recycle Now and Food: Don’t Waste It My Environment® employee engagement challenges, respectively.
  • More than a thousand employees participated in Ocean Conservancy clean up events, including International Coastal Clean Up, removing millions of pounds of debris from oceans, lakes and rivers around the world.
  • Employees collected and recycled more than 500,000 plastic bags and approximately 40,000 lbs. of e-waste through collection drives.

Certificates

  • LEED certified buildings

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

SDG 4

  • Helping education through their support to Education Matters Africa, Wheels4Work and other financings which supports education.

SDG 5

  • BOA is contributing to this goal with their financing to Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program and Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell. 

SDG 8, 10

  • BOA’s workforce diversity, wage rates, decent job creation, financing sustainable businesses,  contribute to SDG goal 8: Decent work and economic development, and SDG 10: Reducing Inequalities.

Secondary SDGs: 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13

  • In 2018, BOA launched Blended Finance Catalyst Pool to mobilize additional private capital to help address the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. This financing initiative provides $60 million of capital for Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG7), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG6), and Climate Action (SDG13), among others.
  • BOA is contributing to these goals through their financing for infrastructure projects in developing countries, CDFI lending, Bank of America Community Homeownership Commitment, and CDB (SDG 1, 3, 8, 9).

Evaluation

Bank of America is investing in low carbon and sustainable business activities across the globe. They have set objectives for 2020 and achieved 100% renewable electricity in 2019, a year ahead of schedule. Besides, they issued green and social bonds and also encouraged their employees to act for the environment through for example My Environment® employee program.

Finally, they have several certificates and awards and are in two famous sustainable listings (Dow Jones Sustainability Index, GRI). Nevertheless, Bank of America has financed extreme fossil fuels with $106.69 B since the Paris Agreement was adopted (2016–2018). For further information please read the report by Rainforest Action Network report.

The BOA also lacks transparency in its reporting, their year-on-year progress is not clear, as everything is measured from the moment the activities started (since 2016, 2018, etc.).

BOA received a D despite their efforts to reduce carbon emissions in their operations, financing infrastructure and innovation as they are harming the environment by heavily financing the oil and gas industry. 

Analyst Outlook: Negative

Although Bank of America has funded many sustainable activities, it only implements a handful of sustainable practices by itself. Most of its sustainable activities are mediated through its employees or through financing sustainable funds and projects.

In the same time, BOA is also financing fuel industry and deepwater oil and gas. BOA indirectly damages the environment, therefore negative outlook.

Key Points

  • Despite financing low carbon and sustainable business activities on one hand, Bank of America is supporting and financing the oil and gas industry. BOA is among the top 4 banks that finance the fossil fuel industry
  • Funding GivePower Foundation
  • Commitment to deploy $125 billion by 2025 for low-carbon and sustainable business
  • Achieved carbon neutrality by purchasing renewable energy and offsetting
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