Smart Energy Voices- Episode 73
Bank of America's Approach to Net Zero
In this episode of Smart Energy Voices, host John Failla shares the opening keynote presentation from the inaugural Net Zero Forum, featuring Beth Wytiaz, Net Zero Strategy Executive for Bank of America. Beth is responsible for developing and delivering the financial institution’s environmental strategy to reach net zero before 2050. In this talk, she shares Bank of America’s approach to net-zero framework and how the organization is building a robust strategy and transition plan that covers operations, supply chain, and financing activities.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...
- Approach to zero framework [02:40]
- Consistency across the financial sector [05:02]
- Targets for 2030 [10:08]
- Choosing targets [15:06]
- Reporting and disclosing [18:27]
In early 2021, Bank of America committed to net zero across operations, financing activities, and its supply chain. In April 2022, it rolled out its “Approach to Zero” framework. Bank of America assists clients by creating new products and services to support client investments in climate solutions. The corporation is focused on engagement with policymakers and driving universal standards within the financial sector.
Bank of America is committed to bringing a variety of data points and transforming those into decision-useful information or metrics. While continuing to build its net-zero transition strategy, Bank of America sets milestone targets that align with the latest climate science. The organization is committed to disclosing its progress annually.
Sustainable development goals
In addition to its net-zero target, Bank of America has a $1.5 trillion target to mobilize capital towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with $1 trillion specific to the environment. These two goals are supplemental to each other. When it comes to products and services, the corporation is developing a variety of innovative climate solutions for its clients. That includes sustainable aviation, fuel, renewables, carbon capture, and hydrogen.
Thousands of bankers interact with clients daily, so educating bankers is vital to Bank of America’s success in reaching net-zero. To aid in that education, the organization has developed an ESG college internally, where it continues to expand the education for bankers.
The Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials
In financial institutions, regulatory requirements and expectations are increasing, and Bank of America is working to drive consistency across the financial sector. The corporation has been calculating emissions for the last two decades and disclosing them. However, across all three scopes, there has yet to be a universally accepted methodology within the financial sector to calculate the emissions associated with financing activities. Attempts had been made over the years, but nothing fully came together until 2020, when the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials gained traction.
Now, over 300 financial institutions have signed up to use the standard. As a core member, Bank of America has been able to help develop and shape the methodologies along the way. There is now a methodology for business loans for project finance, listed equity and bonds, commercial real estate, consumer real estate, and consumer auto loans.
Resources & People Mentioned
- Sustainable Development Goals | United Nations Development Programme
- Net-Zero Banking Alliance – United Nations Environment
- Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero
- Sustainable Markets Initiative
Connect with Beth Wytiaz
Beth Wytiaz is part of the Global Environmental Group within the Environmental, Social, Governance division of Bank of America. In her current role as the Net Zero Strategy Executive she is responsible for developing and delivering the banks environmental strategy to reach Net Zero before 2050. This involves understanding, tracking and advising on transition pathways and policy; engaging across the enterprise to set and achieve interim environmental targets across financing activities, operations and supply chain; contributing to collaborations to drive climate progress, like the Net Zero Banking Alliance; working with clients and vendors to support and understand climate transition plans; managing climate related disclosure; and partnering with the lines of business on education and resources to drive progress toward targets.
Over her 14 years working in sustainability, she created the My Environment® employee program at Bank of America which now has more than 24,000 members globally. She led the bank to achieve and maintain carbon neutrality, the sourcing of 100% renewable electricity and other operational targets.
She has a Master’s degree in Humanities with a focus in Environmental Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Marketing/Merchandising; both from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters, serves on the board of SpringClean, her community HOA and is the chair of the Mooresville Environmental Protection Commission. She is passionate about social and environmental issues and seeks to engage others to drive positive change.
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