Bank of America Sustainability Report: Net CO2 Emissions Drop 7%

by | Aug 16, 2012

Bank of America’s net Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions fell almost 7 percent from 2010 to 2011, but its revenues dropped by over 15 percent in that year, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report.

In 2011, the two combined scopes fell from 1.8 million to just under 1.7 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. Scope 2 emissions account for over 90 percent of these totals. The 2010 and 2011 net totals include reductions of 24,552 and 10,310 metric tons respectively from the purchase of renewable energy credits.

The report does not provide a normalized CO2 emissions metric.

In 2011, Bank of America set an ambitious new goal to reduce its Scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 15 percent from 2011 to 2015, based on a 2010 baseline. The bank had already reduced its greenhouse emissions by 18 percent between 2004 and 2009 under a prior goal. The newer target puts the company on the path of reducing its Scopes 1 and 2 emissions by more than 30 percent over 2004 levels and eliminating the emission of 700,000 metric tons of CO2-equivalent, the report says.

The company’s Scope 3 emissions from employee commuting fell 25 percent year-on-year, from 719,532 to 538,578 metric tons of CO2e. Its Scope 3 emissions from business travel, check couriers and armored cars stayed fairly static from 2010 to 2011.

Due to the dominance of Scope 2 emissions from energy use in Bank of America’s greenhouse gas emissions total, the company’s efforts on reducing such emissions are closely linked to reducing this energy use, the report says. The company’s electricity use fell almost 7 percent year on year from 12,130,629 GJ in 2010 to 11,305,313 GJ in 2010.

In 2011, BoA invested more than $3.5 million in energy efficiency projects, contributing to a cost savings of $7.9 million in the same year, the report says. These efficiency projects included what the bank calls “low- and no-cost operational improvements” including turning off idle equipment, improved maintenance and optimizing cold-air delivery to computer rooms.

Since 2004 the company has reduced its electricity costs by more than 14 percent in banking facilities and 18 percent in office buildings. These moves have contributed to a cumulative cost savings of $195 million, the report says.

In 2011, the company conducted its first ever audit of water usage. The review found that BoA consumed 3.9 billion gallons of water in 2011, down from 4.2 billion gallons in 2010. These figures represent a year-on-year reduction in water use of around 7 percent. The company says that water usage is not usually seen as a “significant environmental impact for financial services companies” but that due to growing concerns over water availability in many of the bank’s markets it is a concern the company takes seriously.

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