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Bank of America Cuts Scope 1 & 2 GHGs by 8%

Bank of America reduced its net Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 7.5 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the company’s first corporate social responsibility report, but emission from commuting and business travel rose.

The company reported that it beat a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nine percent between 2004 and 2009, hitting an 18 percent reduction between 2004 and 2010.

Last year the company’s scope 1, direct GHG emissions fell by 11 percent, from 134,301 to 119,760 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. Scope 2 emissions fell by seven percent, from 1,889,319 to 1,752,453 tons of CO2e.

In both cases, U.S. emissions fell but non-U.S. emissions rose, the report said (see chart, above).

Meanwhile, indirect emissions from employee commuting rose 18 percent, from 643,714 to 760,261 metric tons of CO2e, and those from business travel rose 54 percent, from 140,399 to 215,519 metric tons of CO2e. But Bank of America notes that while the 2009 business travel figure included only emissions from air travel, the 2010 figure includes air, rail, car rentals and hotel stays.

Bank of America announced in May that it aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2015, against a 2010 baseline. If met, the goal will take Bank of America to an overall global GHG reduction of more than 30 percent from a 2004 baseline.

The company says it was one of the first global financial institutions to announce GHG emissions reduction targets, in 2004. It published an environmental progress report in September 2010, but the document out yesterday was the company’s first public report covering variety of CSR initiatives.

According to the report, the company saw its electricity consumption fall two percent in 2010, from 3,578,817 to 3,491,674 MWh, and natural gas fell 20 percent, from 1,794,822 to 1,439,611 MMBtu. Bank of America invested more than $14 million in energy conservation measures such as lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in 2010, saving $8.6 million in energy costs during the year.

The number of employees in the bank’s hybrid vehicle reimbursement program rose from 585 to 669. Under the program, eligible U.S.-based employees can receive up to a $3,000 reimbursement toward the purchase of a new hybrid, highway-capable electric or compressed natural gas vehicle.

In 2010, the company says it saved 36 million gallons of water, contributing to a 2.7 percent reduction in use from its 2008 baseline and saving $221,000. Of those savings, 85 percent resulted from irrigation projects, and the rest from fixture projects such as sink aerators and low-flow bathroom fixtures.

The report said that last year the company and its landlords completed 30 LEED projects, taking LEED certifications to 13.2 million square feet, or over ten percent of total operation occupancy. The company has a target for 20 percent of its workplace real estate to be certified under LEED by 2015.

In 2010, the company opened the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park in New York City. The bank said this was the first commercial high-rise in the U.S. to achieve LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Last year the company headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., achieved LEED for Existing Buildings certification.

Bank of America reports that it continues to be ahead of schedule on its 10-year, $20 billion environmental business initiative. Launched in 2007, the initiative seeks to address climate change through lending, investing, products and services, and enhancements to operational efficiencies.

The company directed nearly $4 bilion towards the initiative in 2010, reaching a cumulative total of $11.6 billion, up from the $8.4 billion invested by the end of Q2 2010.

Many of the metrics in the report do not have 2009 comparison figures. These include:

  • Total paper consumption (62,806 metric tons in 2010)
  • Paper with recycled content (30,362 metric tons, or 48 percent of paper consumption)
  • Total waste (15,702 metric tons in the U.S.)
  • Total waste recycled (1,781 metric tons in the U.S., or 11 percent of total waste)
  • Purchased carpet with recycled input materials (1,887,876, or 98 percent of the total carpet purchases of 1,932,318)
  • Number of cafeteria disposables used (382,550,954, of which four percent [14,164,559] had recycled input)
  • Percentage of cafeteria bottles and cans with recycled input (97 percent)
  • Bank of America-branded merchandise with recycled content (11.9 percent)
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