Bank of America, the US banking giant, says it lent, invested, underwrote and advised on $3.7bn (€3bn) in low carbon investments in 2011 as part of its 10-year $20bn environmental business initiative.
The bank launched the project in 2007 and to date has committed over $17bn. The $3.7bn figure for last year compares with $5bn in 2010 and $3.6bn in 2009.
The figures come in the bank’s new corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, for which it liaised with an external review committee organized by sustainability advocacy coalition Ceres and members of the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) group and others. The report aligns with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines.
“It’s encouraging to see the measurable progress the company is making on many critical fronts – from its overall business operations to environmental leadership and social impact,” said Laura Gitman, BSR’s managing director of advisory services.
The environmental investments break down as $8.3bn into energy efficiency and $5.8bn into renewables and other low carbon. This latter category further breaks down: wind ($1.4bn), solar ($1.2bn), hydro ($911m),mixed ($837m), biomass etc ($359m), geothermal ($45m), fuel cell ($18m) and nuclear ($1.1bn).
It has put $860m into hybrid cars, $729 into brownfield development and $543m into forestry. Some $488m has gone into other sectors such as battery storage and water purification.
In Mozambique, its investment banking arm Bank of America Merrill Lynch Commodities has a certified emissions reduction (CER) deal with Clean Star Ventures and Novozymes to offer cheap, clean cooking stoves.
With client firm SolarCity, the bank has launched what it says is the largest residential solar-power project to date. Project SolarStrong is expected to create more than $1bn in solar projects and up to 300MW of new solar generation capacity via rooftop photovoltaic systems on up to 120,000 US military base residences.
And it worked with private equity firm Terra Firma in its acquisition of solar PV firm Rete Rinnovabile.
The bank added that its Socially Responsible Private Equity group has invested in 357 small companies in 38 US states.