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North America’s best bank for sustainable finance 2021: Citi

Jane Fraser, who took over as Citi’s chief executive on March 1, 2021, wasted no time in putting ESG at the top of the bank’s agenda. On her first day she announced the bank’s commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In doing so, Fraser was joining many of her peers that have already announced similar goals, but Citi’s target is based on substantial work already done over the previous year, both in terms of its own commitments and also its work in helping clients meet their goals. For its efforts in transforming its approach, Citi wins the award for North America’s best bank for sustainable finance.

Fraser’s quick acknowledgement of the importance of the topic reflects the fact that the bank has lagged in some ESG areas in the past. But the last 12 months have seen a blizzard of initiatives aimed at addressing that. From its 2025 sustainable progress strategy and $250 billion environmental finance goal, to updates to its policies on coal-fired power generation, to the creation of new business groups such as sustainability and corporate transitions, sustainable debt capital markets, and natural resources and clean energy transition, the bank has been busy getting itself into shape.

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