PNC Banking on Sustainability to Make the World a Better Place
By Mark Soroka
June 2, 2022
Banks are increasingly playing a key role in the transition to a more sustainable future. PNC Bank is a prime example of how a financial institution and its customers can thrive by supporting environmental sustainability goals.
“Complex problems require collaboration and commitment, and mitigating climate change is an area where we all need to work together to get where we need to be,” said Lora Phillips, Senior Vice President and Director of Environmental, Social and Governance at PNC. “Partnerships, both internally across our organization and externally with our financial services peers and others, is a huge piece of PNC’s commitment to this work.”
Phillips noted that PNC takes a holistic approach when making sustainability-related improvements at its own facilities. That includes increasing procurement of electricity from renewable sources, leveraging state-of-the-art intelligent building design, enhancing automation, and implementing green building standards, as well as improving resource efficiency and indoor air quality for its employees and customers.
“We plan on achieving 100 percent renewable purchased electricity by 2025, reducing carbon emissions and energy use by 75 percent by 2035, and reducing water usage by 50 percent by 2035,” said Philips.
PNC also puts a priority on providing green financing projects for clients that want to combat climate change and foster sustainability.
“As a company we are on a journey, and while we have aggressively worked to address our own operations, we recognize that a bank’s greatest environmental impact is not on its own direct emissions, but rather its financed emissions — the resultant effects of the companies and projects we finance across our corporate lending portfolio,” said Phillips.
To help steer its customers move the needle on sustainable business practices, PNC has:
- Pledged to mobilize $20 billion in environmental finance over a five-year period to support Green Building, Clean Transportation and Renewable Energy projects.
- Issued an inaugural $650 million green bond in 2019 that funded eligible projects promoting a transition to a low-carbon economy. These offer sustainability benefits across three categories aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and green buildings.
- Established a Sustainable Finance Practice to counsel clients through their own climate transition strategies, goals and approaches to sustainable investment.
- Invested nearly $2.3 billion directly into renewable energy projects since 2014. For instance, in 2021, PNC financed solar energy projects that could collectively generate more than 2,362 megawatts of solar assets.
For all these initiatives, PNC received EPA Recognition for Leading Green Power Usage (2022), Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies (2022) and America’s Most Responsible Companies – Newsweek (2021).
In the coming years, PNC will continue to seek ways to help fund the future low-carbon economy.
“As a Main Street Bank, we understand that our success is directly proportional to the success of those we serve,” said Phillips. “To that end, we are committed to leveraging the power of our resources to help all move forward financially while saving our planet.”