The largest global financial services organizations have carbon footprints in the region of 500,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, and an institution’s IT electricity consumption can be responsible for up to 65 percent of the total, according to Bank Technology News.
Some financial institutions have taken steps to do their part in combating greenhouse gas emissions, especially through the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Climate Leadership Index, of which HSBC, Credit Suisse, UBS, Westpac Banking, ANZ Banking, ABN Amro Holding, Barclays, Citigroup, Fortis, HBOS, and ING are members.
In October 2003, Swiss Re announced plans to become greenhouse gas neutral over a 10-year period. In December 2004, HSBC promised that it would be the world’s first major bank to go carbon neutral by buying carbon credits and reducing its own CO2 footprint. In April 2005, JPMorgan Chase announced a carbon emissions reduction program. Morgan Stanley has earmarked $3 billion for investing in carbon trading while Climate Change Capital, a specialist bank, raised $1 billion last month to invest in the sector.
It is estimated that a moderate size server in a data center of a large financial services organization has about the same annual carbon footprint as a gas-guzzling family SUV getting 15 miles-to-the-gallon.