Truist's Commitment to Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability
In 2020 and 2021, multiple events have rapidly increased the attention paid to the financial services sector’s role in climate change. At Truist, we are answering the call with actions to ensure that we are a part of the collective transition to a lower-carbon economy. This chapter outlines the progress we’ve made thus far on enhancing our environmental sustainability, as well as the additional work we are undertaking to continue to contribute to a lowercarbon future.
Climate change risk and opportunities
Planning for the future The majority of Truist’s ESG and CSR initiatives have historically focused on broad aspects of corporate responsibility and associated disclosures. We have recently taken steps to identify and evaluate opportunities to formally integrate climate risk into our enterprise risk framework. Like other large financial institutions, Truist is evaluating the potential transmission channels for climate risk across our lines of business. As evolving political, regulatory, and market conditions incentivize and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, we will actively monitor the channels through which physical and transition risks must be identified, assessed, and mitigated. Truist recognizes that a variety of climaterelated financial risks may manifest over a long duration, as well as the possibility that events or developments could drive a more immediate impact. We are conducting an initial assessment of the most likely transmission channels for climate risk and then we will further build capabilities to assess, monitor, and respond to the potential short-term and longer-term horizon risks posed by climate change. Strategic direction from leadership, bolstered by our innovative and growth-oriented mindset will further enable Truist to work with our clients on the new opportunities in which we can all play a part that will support the transition to a green economy. To accelerate our work, Truist has recently made several new appointments in this space:
- Senior vice president, head of climate risk management
- Senior vice president, senior director of environmental sustainability
- Managing director, energy group, Truist Securities. This person will lead the energy transition practice covering companies involved in clean energy technology, decarbonization, sustainability, and mobility.
Climate change reporting
Increasing transparency: We recognize that environmental and climate change reporting is an important aspect of our overall ESG reporting and disclosure. Our recent ESG materiality assessment confirmed that our stakeholders view climate change as an area of priority, and we are committed to using our reporting channels to share our progress and path forward toward the collective achievement of a lower-carbon economy.
Sustainable energy financing
Beyond our own facilities, Truist is helping clients, business partners, and communities conserve resources and mitigate climate change through our business practices, primarily financing and investments. From making consumer loans on solar panels and electric vehicles to facilitating billions of renewable energy financing, Truist is putting its money behind its work toward attaining a lower-carbon economy in concert with its message of environmental stewardship.
Dominion Energy, a long-standing Truist client, is leading the construction of the first Jones Act–compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel. Construction of the installation vessel is aided by $75 million in Truist financing, as well as additional financing from others. When completed, Dominion’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project (CVOW) near Hampton Roads will deliver clean, renewable energy and avoid millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The installation vessel will then be made available to other developers for their wind turbine projects.
For our clients, it’s “lending uncomplicated®.” For our planet, it’s a green dream. We call it LightStream.
LightStream offers a unique lending solution that allows those with strong credit to borrow for purchases that previously required collateral or that fall into categories where few or no loan options existed. LightStream loans are costefficient and offered at a competitive rate in an environmentally friendly manner that is virtually paperless. LightStream loans can be used for cars, which could include electric vehicles, solar projects, and home improvements that are anchored in sustainable improvements.
A tree with every loan
With LightStream, our clients get a fast, easy loan process using their computer or mobile device. Our forests get lusher. With every LightStream loan Truist makes, a tree is planted. It started as a way to celebrate our paperless loan process. Partnering with American Forests since 2013, we’ve planted hundreds of thousands of trees on behalf of LightStream clients and are closing in on the milestone of our millionth tree. American Forests is the oldest conservation organization in the United States, and the trees they plant have a positive impact on the sustainability of wildlife, the watershed, and the global climate.
In 2020, Truist planted over 880 acres of trees through our LightStream partnership with American Forests. This raises our cumulative total to more than 4,000 acres, supporting the rehabilitation, restoration, and reforestation of neglected or damaged wilderness areas around the country. We also partnered with American Forests on an educational series highlighting the benefits of trees, which includes infographics and a how-to video for homeowners on selecting and planting trees to benefit their lifestyle, property, and the environment for years to come.
On July 21, 2021, LightStream announced our pledge to join the World Economic Forum’s Trillion Tree Movement (1t.org), planting one million trees by 2022 in partnership with American Forests. The pledge was made to the U.S. Chapter of 1t.org, an initiative co-led by American Forests and the World Economic Forum, in support of the global effort to conserve, restore, and grow 1 trillion trees worldwide by 2030.
Building on this success, Truist has set the objective of expanding LightStream into a broader suite of banking solutions as part of our top enterprise strategic priorities for 2021 – 23.
2020 notable numbers
In 2020, Truist was involved in approximately $2.4 billion of clean energy- and sustainablerelated financing, broken into the following categories:
- Approximately $580 million in direct capital commitments to renewable energy projects (debt and tax equity)
- $75 million in financing to help fund the construction of an offshore wind turbine installation vessel
- Approximately $1.8 billion active bookrunner roles in green bonds and sustainability-linked bonds
Read the full report here.