January 19th, 2021 by Zachary Shahan
CleanTechnica switched to Fifth Third Bank (5/3 Bank) in 2019. Two big factors for us were 1) it had the most ambitious clean energy achievements and plans of any bank, and 2) it won’t invest in private prisons. In fact, it was already 100% solar powered back then. That actually made it special well beyond the banking sector. The company noted back then that it was “the first publicly-traded company to commit to purchase 100% renewable energy through solar power alone.” At that time, 5/3 Bank (Nasdaq: FITB) was the 10th largest corporate purchaser of solar power in the United States, with the companies above it being giants like Apple, Google, Amazon, Target, and Walmart, companies that use far more electricity than 5/3 Bank.
But 100% solar power wasn’t a stopping point for the bank. Fifth Third announced today that it has now achieved carbon neutrality for its 2020 operations. That doesn’t just including building-related energy use and emissions. That also covers business travel.
“This achievement was accomplished by directly reducing the Company’s corporate carbon footprint, purchasing renewable power and utilizing carbon offsets from a project in its retail footprint for remaining emissions.”
There’s ESG in the banking sector, and then there’s 5/3 Bank. And that’s why we are happy to call 5/3 CleanTechnica‘s bank. This achievement also gives the bank another 1st to nobly brag about.
“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 CEO Greg D. Carmichael. “Achieving and maintaining carbon neutrality ensures that our operations minimize impact to the environment and is beneficial to all of our stakeholders.”
But how much did 5/3 Bank really work to achieve this? Didn’t it just invest in some solar projects and a bit of carbon offset work? No — it did much more than that. Well, it’s a bank, so it certainly spent more resources than you or I could dream about, but it’s still impressive to see that this is the result of a 5-year, $8 billion sustainable finance goal that it just announced in September 2020.
Aside from the 100% solar powered milestone noted above, the company has also achieved a “20% reduction in water usage and a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”
Fifth Third has won several awards and acknowledgements for its climate and cleantech leadership. For more, you can use this press release as a starting point.
“Fifth Third aligns its work in environmental sustainability to the United Nations Sustainable Finance Goal No. 13 Climate Action. More information is available in the 2020 ESG Report. Fifth Third expects to publish its 2020 ESG Report in mid-2021.”
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