Companies and governments worldwide are taking vital steps to address global warming and climate change. Recently, Bank of America convened a panel discussion featuring Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan and Vice Chairman and Head of ESG, Sustainable Finance and Public Policy Anne Finucane, who have spearheaded climate initiatives within the bank and the broader business community over the past several years. Hosted by Alastair Borthwick, President of Global Commercial Banking, the discussion covered the global transformation toward a low-carbon economy and outlined tangible ways companies can take action. Following is a summary of this conversation.
What are carbon neutrality and net zero?
Driving down carbon emissions to the lowest possible level should be a goal for everyone. For companies that can’t completely eliminate emissions, it’s possible to offset them by investing in environmentally friendly projects, such as refurbishing forests and buying excess solar power capacity from producers.
Once a company has balanced its own emissions with offsets, it has achieved carbon neutrality. The next step —net zero— happens when the company becomes carbon-neutral across its entire supply chain, including its employees, vendors and customers.
Many countries have committed to net-zero emissions over the next few decades. Bank of America has already achieved carbon neutrality and is accelerating progress toward reaching net zero. According to Finucane, the primary architect behind BofA’s net-zero strategy, “The goal is to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius —and preferably 1.5 degrees— by 2050.”
What are companies and countries doing today?
Moynihan, who has played a central role in discussions with leaders of G7 countries and other global CEOs, notes that significant activity is already underway. “This is happening now. It’s not coming someday. The urgency to get to net zero across the board is felt.”