Ohio-based bank Fifth Third has become carbon neutral after reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its sites during 2020.
The bank achieved the feat after reducing its corporate carbon footprint (including in its facilities and business travel operations), purchasing renewable power and investing in carbon offset projects.
As a result, Fifth Third has become the first regional US commercial bank to achieve carbon neutrality, it has claimed. Fifth Third’s carbon neutrality claim is subject to third-party verification.
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is one of the five sustainability goals the bank announced in 2017. The bank has now achieved a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and reached 100% reliance on renewable power. It has also met its water usage reduction target of 25%.
The original target year for these goals was 2022.
“Becoming the first regional US-based commercial bank to achieve carbon neutrality demonstrates Fifth Third’s unequivocal commitment to environmental sustainability leadership in the financial services industry,” said Fifth Third chairman and chief executive Greg Carmichael.
“Achieving and maintaining carbon neutrality ensures that our operations minimize impact to the environment and is beneficial to all of our stakeholders.”
The bank’s senior management team is seeking to enhance its environmental efforts still further. In September 2020, the bank announced a five-year $8bn sustainable finance project to build on these achievements.
The project included lending commitments for the renewable energy sector, making it easier for companies working on energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal to access capital.
Fifth Third, which has $202 billion in assets, aligns this activity with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and in 2020 published its inaugural ESG report, detailing the steps being taken across the organization to meet these criteria.
This has included the establishment of a renewably energy investment banking team and using data from the international Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure index.
Fifth Bank’s work on sustainability has not gone unnoticed and the bank won the Environmental Protection Agency Green Power leadership award in 2020.
That same year, Fifth Third maintained the A- climate leadership score that it was originally awarded by the Climate Disclosure Project in 2019.