Bank of America Targets 15% GHG Cut

by | May 18, 2011

Bank of America aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2015, against a 2010 baseline, the company announced today.

The bank said the goal spans all of its operations in over 40 countries, and factors in the company’s acquisition of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch.

The new target builds on a previous U.S. GHG reduction of 18 percent between 2004 and 2009. If met, the latest goal will take Bank of America to an overall global GHG reduction of more than 30 percent from a 2004 baseline.

This is equal to annual emissions of more than 700,000 metric tons CO2-equivalent, or to eliminating the annual GHG emissions from more than 124,000 passenger vehicles, Bank of America said.

The company also announced a target today for 20 percent of its workplace real estate to be certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system by 2015. Currently 11 percent of the company’s workplace portfolio, 13.2 million square feet, is comprised of LEED-certified space.

The future LEED-certified space will include new construction, core and shell construction, commercial interiors, retail spaces and the operations and maintenance of existing buildings, the bank said.

In 2010, the company opened the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park in New York City. The bank said this was the first commercial high-rise in the U.S. to achieve LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Last year the company headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., achieved LEED for Existing Buildings certification.

“Bank of America is an industry and corporate leader in applying LEED to achieve improvement to their global corporate footprint,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “The company has systematically leveraged every aspect of green building practices throughout their entire workplace building stock to help them standardize their energy efficiency and achieve their carbon reduction goals.”

The vast majority – 90 percent – of the bank’s GHG emissions come from energy consumption. To reach its GHG goal, the bank plans to:

  • Expand and enhance energy management systems and technology.
  • Increase computing efficiency in data centers and desktop/laptop computers.
  • Improve overall equipment efficiency in areas such as HVAC and lighting.
  • Optimize office space.
  • Identify and implement emerging technologies as they become commercially available and/or viable.
  • Educate employees on how they can modify their behaviors to support the goal.

The company is using a partnership with the Pew Center on Global Climate Change to help employees find ways to save energy and money, while reducing waste and improving their workplace. Employee training sessions in 2011 will focus on overall energy conservation, sustainable transportation, LEED building enhancements and recycling.

Under the company’s Hybrid Vehicle Reimbursement program, eligible U.S.-based employees can receive up to a $3,000 reimbursement toward the purchase of a new hybrid, highway-capable electric or compressed natural gas vehicle. Since the program was launched in 2007, more than 3,800 employees have replaced conventionally powered vehicles which, on average, doubled their fuel economy and prevented the release of nearly 4,000 tons of annual CO2 emissions from employee commuting, the bank said.

Bank of America says it was one of the first global financial institutions to announce GHG emissions reduction targets, in 2004, and the first to publicly report on exceeding those goals within the commitment period set by the now-defunct EPA Climate Leaders program.

“As a global company, Bank of America is to be congratulated for its past achievements and impressive new goal, as well as demonstrating how effective management of their emissions and environmental footprint makes both business and environmental sense,” Carbon Disclosure Project CEO Paul Simpson said.

“They have made significant progress in engaging suppliers, employees and leadership on climate change and this announcement speaks to their long-term commitment,” Simpson added.

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