Bank of America launched its CSR report this week with a focus on six key areas: responsible business practices, strong economics, environmental sustainability, leadership and service, arts and culture, and diversity and inclusion.
The report has many highlights in all areas.
Responsible business practices:
- Continued to build on efforts to develop a “fortress balance sheet” by increasing capital, strengthening credit reserves and reducing debt to $375 billion from $448 in 2010.Strong economies:
- Originated more than $6.4 billion in new small business loans and commitments.
- Helped more than 695,000 homeowners either purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage.
- Continued pledge to helping strengthen local communities, including investing more than $1.6 billion to help create more than 11,000 affordable housing units for families, seniors, veterans and people with special needs.Environmental sustainability:
- Financed two of the largest distributed solar projects in U.S history to support a transition to cleaner, sustainable energy sources and a lower-carbon future.
- Announced a new 10-year, $50 billion business goal to help address major environmental issues, following the anticipated completion of the current 10-year, $20 billion environmental business initiative four years ahead of schedule.Leadership and service:
- Recognized more than 90 nonprofits as part of the Neighborhood Builders program in 2011, effectively reaching more than 1,200 executive directors and emerging leaders from nearly 700 nonprofits.
- Provided more than $200 million in corporate philanthropy to address some of society's most pressing issues, including affordable housing, financial education, disaster relief and more.
- Continued to build leadership in promoting volunteerism and service, with employees donating 1.5 million hours of volunteer service in 2011, a 15 percent increase from 2010.Arts & culture:
- Expanded the Art Conservation project to 20 artworks and artifacts in 19 countries.
- Expanded the Museums on Us program to include more than 150 cultural institutions in 91 cities across the U.S.Diversity and inclusion:
- Held the first annual Global Banking and Markets Global Women’s Conference designed to celebrate and highlight the achievements of women and promote the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
According to Anne Finucane, global strategy and marketing officer, Bank of America: "The work reflected in the CSR Report is focused on driving business results while creating value across global markets, with a goal to ensure that our lending, investing and giving are having a positive impact. The strong results are an indication of the sustained efforts of our employees who serve our customers and clients worldwide.”
Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net