Amalgamated Bank Announces Series of Environmental Initiatives; Takes Historic Steps To Actively Address Climate Risk

Commits to 100% Renewable Energy, Will Become Second Largest Net Zero Energy Bank; Steps Affirm Bank as an Industry Leader on Climate Change; Challenges Industry to Follow Lead and Make Important and Lasting Changes

NEW YORK, September 19, 2016 – Amalgamated Bank, today announced a series of major policy steps regarding its own investment assets, operations, and lending portfolios that demonstrate the serious economic risk in climate change. Today’s news furthers the bank’s ongoing commitment to and leadership role in addressing climate change. The bank also called on the rest of the industry to follow their lead to take significant and specific steps to reduce carbon pollution.

As part of its commitment to addressing climate risk, Amalgamated Bank today announced:

  • The bank will adopt new policies to reduce carbon risk across its own assets and lending portfolio, as well as building new capacity and products to serve clients who are similarly concerned with the financial and moral hazards of man-made climate change.
  • Amalgamated Bank committed to be net zero electricity in its operations, over the course of 2017 and in to the future, making it the second largest net zero bank.
  • Amalgamated Bank will be 100% renewable energy starting in 2017, including taking its flagship branch in the Bronx to be solar powered and joining the RE100, a campaign of The Climate Group delivered in partnership with CDP.

As a founding signatory of the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment, which encourages the consideration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impacts in all investment decisions, Amalgamated has repeatedly proven its dedication to values-based banking. With the statement released today, the bank is making clear that global policy action, the carbon bubble and the impacts of a disrupted climate are real financial concerns which need to be addressed.

“We need to be honest, we have a growing environmental crisis unfolding and Amalgamated Bank will no longer sit on the sideline,” said Keith Mestrich, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank. “As an industry that prides itself on innovation and bold action, we must all be leaders and take real action to change our course. The announcements today are a step in the right direction but it will require everyone to make the changes necessary to stabilize our climate and create sustainable environment.”

Earlier this year, Amalgamated Bank hired Ivan Frishberg as First Vice President, Sustainability Banking and launched a Sustainability Banking division, which is responsible for growing and serving the burgeoning organizations and clients that work in the fields of environmental, green banking and sustainability.  In addition to the announcements today, Amalgamated is continuing to build on its existing products that serve customers from large investors to individuals who are seeking to address climate risk or to use the bank towards their own sustainability objectives.

In preparing these new actions, Amalgamated Bank worked with investment leadership in the Divest Invest Network, the Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps to develop its plan for Carbon Neutrality and will be Joining RE100, a campaign of The Climate Group that convenes global corporate leaders who have committed to 100% Renewable Electricity.

“The leadership being shown by Amalgamated Bank reflects growing awareness that there is an alignment between moral and fiduciary obligations to address climate risk in investment portfolios. This is a distinguishing act and should be a strong signal to the market,” said Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director of the Wallace Global Fund and a leader in the values aligned investing for the philanthropic community.

“Amalgamated Bank has taken thoughtful but aggressive climate action on several fronts and reflects the best intersection of corporate and environmental stewardship,” said William Moomaw, President of The Climate Group.

“Amalgamated Bank has taken thoughtful but aggressive action in response to the growing threat of climate change.  These commitments, including their commitment to 100% renewable electricity through the RE100 campaign, reflects the 21st century corporate values needed to protect our planet and economy,” said Amy Davidsen, Executive Director of the North America for The Climate Group.

The actions announced today are limited to the assets and holdings of Amalgamated Bank, and do not impact the investment decisions made by its clients. Later this year, as a part of its expansion of services to its clients and those looking to align around a triple bottom line, Amalgamated Bank will announce several new sustainability products. Additionally, the bank will host a convening of leading philanthropic endowments who are seeking to increase investment options that lend themselves to a more fair and economy as the world takes action to reduce its carbon footprint.

To view Amalgamated Bank's Climate Risk Policy in full, click here.
 
About Amalgamated Bank
For nearly a century, Amalgamated Bank has been a financial institution with a purpose: affordable and accessible banking for all. Offering customers nationwide the products and services of a major financial institution, Amalgamated is committed to the values on which it was founded. We proudly advocate for workers’ rights and promote the highest standards of environmental, social and corporate governance practices, which is why we are the first choice of progressive organizations and people ¬ from presidential campaigns and labor unions to individuals who want a bank that believes everyone should be able to participate fully in our economy. We serve our communities with the core principle that the real currency of banking isn’t dollars – it’s trust.
 
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We need to be honest, we have a growing environmental crisis unfolding and Amalgamated Bank will no longer sit on the sideline.
Keith Mestrich, President & CEO, Amalgamated Bank