Bank of America has announced that it is increasing its previous goal of $20 billion in financing for the green economy to $50 billion over the next decade.
The bank is well ahead of its original target by more than four years and delivered some $18 billion of green investment as of March this year.
Like rivals Wells Fargo, which has launched a $100 million green fund, and Goldman Sachs’ recently announced $40 billion clean energy investment plans, Bank of America says the newly earmarked funds will support efforts tackling climate change, natural resource management and moving towards a low carbon economy.
Through lending, equipment finance, carbon finance and investment solutions, Bank of America says it will focus on energy efficiency in residential and commercial properties, as well as the supply chain; renewable energy and infrastructure like smart grids and large-scale energy storage; electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as sustainable biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells; and innovative water purification, disposal and recycling techologies.
Of the total funds available, Bank of America says $100 million will be set aside for grants and investments for non-profits, community development financial institutions and other non-governmental organisations.
Since 2007, Bank of America financed energy efficiency activities to the tune of $8.4 billion and directed some $5 billion towards renewable energy projects, including two of the world’s largest rooftop solar developments with Prologis, NRG Energy and SolarCity.
“Environmental business delivers value to our clients, return for our shareholders, and helps strengthen the economy,” says CEO Brian Moynihan. “We met our prior goal in about half the time we set for ourselves, so more than doubling our target is ambitious but achievable.”
Many of the bank’s clients are moving to more environmental products and business practices, adds Cathy Bessant, the bank’s technology and operations executive and chair of its Environmental Council.
“We can continue to grow our business, promote a greener global economy and address climate change by helping our clients meet their own sustainability objectives,” she adds.
The bank has also addressed its own operations cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 18% from 2004-2007 and setting a goal of a 30% reduction by 2015, as well as reducing energy consumption by 25%.
But despite the laudable efforts, critics point out that Bank of America still finances new coal plants and other carbon-intensive activities.
For further information:
Global renewables investment soars to $257 billion (11-Jun)
Wells Fargo launches $100 million green fund (6-Jun)
Goldman Sachs plans $40 billion clean energy investment (25-May)
Green power financing flies in face of economic downturn, says KPMG (9-May)
13 June 2012