Banks Look to Burnish Their Images by Backing Green Technology Firms
In the wake of a $30 billion commitment to new environmental investments by Wells Fargo in April and a $40 billion promise from Goldman Sachs this month, Bank of America will announce a 10-year, $50 billion initiative of its own on Monday.
Facing bad publicity on practically every front, the big banks are highlighting what has quietly become a hot growth area in recent years — backing projects and companies in sectors like renewable energy, emissions reduction and reduced-carbon transportation.
Bank of America officials said the initiative encompassed steps including underwriting initial public offerings for so-called green companies, making loans to consumers who buy hybrid vehicles and helping developers to retrofit old factories as well as investing in renewable energy.
In addition, the bank is promising to make specific reductions in its own consumption of energy, paper and water. By 2015, Bank of America’s goal is to reduce energy consumption by 25 percent from 2004 levels, along with a 20 percent reduction in paper and water use from 2010 levels. The company is also pledging $100 million in grants and low-interest loans as part of the program.
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