Citigroup is the latest multinational corporation to commit to net-zero emissions with a focus on Scope 3 (indirect) emissions from the projects and businesses which Citi finances. Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase had previously announced similar plans to reach net-zero emissions, and now Citigroup has also joined the league.
“Our ESG agenda cannot just be a separate layer that sits above what we do day-to-day” wrote Jane Fraser, in her blog post on the first day of joining Citigroup as CEO. On March 1st, 2021 Citibank committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its financing activities by 2050. This bank will publish its initial plan by next year. The bank has also set 2030 as a target year to achieve net zero in greenhouse gas emissions for the bank’s own operation.
It is pertinent to mention here that Citigroup was the third-largest financier of fossil-fuel companies last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. On the other hand, from 2014 to 2019, the bank has also financed and facilitated $164 billion in low-carbon solutions. Also, last year, Citi bank committed to completing an additional $250 billion in environmental transactions by 2025. The business already uses 100% renewable electricity across its facilities globally.
“Net-zero means rethinking our business and helping our clients rethink theirs. For banks, what some do not realize is that net-zero includes not just our own operations but also our core business impacts – in other words, our financing,” Fraser said. “We are committed to bringing as many clients as we can along with us on this journey and working with them relentlessly to get it right.”
Also, on March 1st, 2021, The Hershey Company announced new commitments to advance its environmental progress and contribute to global climate action. As a result of that process, the company announced its goal to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by more than 50% and its absolute Scope 3 emissions by 25% by 2030.
On March 3, 2021, FedEx Corp. announced a similar but ambitious goal to achieve carbon–neutral operations globally by 2040. For this goal, FedEx is designating more than $2 billion of initial investment in three key areas: vehicle electrification, sustainable energy, and carbon sequestration.
Despite the incredible social and economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are witnessing an explosion of net-zero commitments from major companies around the world. It is evident that global institutions have both the opportunity – and the responsibility – to play a leading role in helping drive the transition to a net-zero global economy and make good on the promise of the Paris Agreement.