I recently had the privilege to introduce a forum on “Higher Targets to Plan Better Cities” that focused on ways to meet California’s ambitious climate change goals. Bank of the West sponsored the event, which was organized by SPUR, a San Francisco organization whose motto is “ideas + action for a better city.” The sponsorship is a demonstration of the bank’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, and I was proud to also share news about our parent company’s commitment to financing renewable energy.
Below are the introductory remarks from January 17, 2018, in San Francisco. Special thank you to Egon Terplan (in photo with me), Regional Planning Director at SPUR, and to panelists Liza Zorn of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Carey Knecht of the California Air Resources Board.
Environmental stewardship is an important focus of Bank of the West’s and our parent company’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs.
- In April 2017, BNP Paribas was one of the first banks to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- And in October 2017, it committed to ceasing all funding of shale oil and gas, oil from tar sands, and Arctic oil drilling.
- The BNPP Group has doubled its worldwide financing goal for renewable energy to $18 billion by 2020, and will also invest $120 million in startups specializing in energy transition, for example in the fields of storage or energy efficiency.
We believe bankers are in a pivotal position to foster environmental stewardship and to be a part of this conversation.
And, that’s not all. We also take action to connect environmental issues directly to community and economic development practices that benefit everyone:
- We support neighborhood revitalization by financing affordable housing and small businesses in urban centers that are pedestrian friendly and accessible by public transit
- We work with nonprofits that support energy efficient building practices to include solar panels, energy efficient appliances, and enhanced insulation in construction projects.
- And, we support job creation and living wages through programs that are training unemployed and underemployed workers as skilled solar employees. The same programs are also providing no-cost solar power to low-income households.
Like SPUR, Bank of the West has a long tradition in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Since our start in 1874 we’ve been committed to the people, businesses, and communities we serve. And, we look to continually innovate so that our partnerships advance “ideas and actions for a better city.”
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