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. Bank of America began serving Pennsylvania more than 150 years ago. Today in the Commonwealth, Bank of America has 72 financial centers, 241 ATMs, 32 Merrill offices and two Bank of America Private Bank offices.
For almost two decades, the company has been supporting Environmental, Social and Governance — or as many know it, “ESG” initiatives across the communities it serves. We spoke to Bank of America Senior Relationship Manager Manny Mar to learn more about those efforts.
What is Bank of America’s approach to Environmental, Social and Governance work?
At Bank of America, we drive responsible growth by focusing on our clients, managing risk well, and making sure our growth is sustainable. To be sustainable, we have to drive operational excellence, be a great place to work and share our success with our communities.
Sharing success with our communities includes all we do to drive progress on societal priorities, including those broadly defined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: clean, renewable energy, gender equality, affordable housing, and others. This year, climate has been an important SDG pillar of focus. At Bank of America, we’re 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. Building on our longstanding support for the Paris Climate Agreement, we have a goal to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in our financing activities, operations and supply chain before 2050.
In addition, our Environmental Business Initiative will deploy and mobilize $1 trillion by 2030 to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. This is a key part of a broader $1.5 trillion sustainable finance goal that is aligned to addressing the UN SDGs. This 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.
What are some ESG-related projects that Bank of America has done in Pennsylvania?
Since 2007, we’ve deployed $732 million in capital in Pennsylvania toward low-carbon, sustainable business activities. Part of our ESG work is direct involvement in the communities in which we live and work. Since 2016, we have deployed $27 million in grants across the state to communities focused on advancing racial equality and economic opportunity, and addressing needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, employees have volunteered a total of 114,000 hours across the Commonwealth since 2016 to give back locally, which is part of our annual goal of giving 2 million volunteer hours across the company.
Further, to support Bank of America’s efforts to continue sourcing 100 percent renewable electricity and maintain carbon neutrality in our operations, we have installed solar panels at Pennsylvania facilities, such as the Pittsburgh Financial Center.
In Greater Philadelphia, Bank of America is focused on building a stronger hiring pipeline for young people regardless of their economic background, gender or race through workforce development initiatives that empower local youth. As part of the bank’s broader $1.25 billion commitment, the company has partnered with Comcast NBCUniversal and the Lenfest Foundation to invest $1 million to help Coded By Kids launch the OnePhiladelphia initiative. This program works to address diversity and inclusion in tech by providing solutions to sustain career opportunities within communities of color. Beyond financial support of workforce development efforts, Bank of America teammates dedicate their time to organizations like Philadelphia Youth Network and its Summer Youth Employment Cabinet, through which Bank of America leaders challenge others in the private sphere to support workforce development programs.
How is Bank of America encouraging other companies to launch their ESG efforts?
A key aspect of our ESG strategy is active and extensive engagement with our clients. This engagement allows us to deepen our collective understanding of issues, learn and share perspectives, and, often, create connections between stakeholders with differing views. You can see this with Bank of America’s commitment to net-zero emissions in our sustainable financing activities. Each and every day, we’re working and partnering with our clients to help provide the capital and expertise needed to support their environmental transition to low-carbon solutions and address some of our local community challenges.
We also aim to engage other businesses through local Chambers of Commerce, including the Pennsylvania Chamber.