PNC Bank is committing $20 billion over five years toward environmental finance, the bank announced Wednesday. The pledged funding will go toward green buildings, renewable energy, clean transportation and environmental sustainability-linked bonds and loans, the bank said.
"Launching a sustainable finance practice was a logical step in advancing our environmental, social and governance goals and leveraging our expertise to help our clients meet theirs," Kristi Eberhardt, PNC’s head of sustainable finance, said in a statement.
The Pittsburgh-based bank joins Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citi and Goldman Sachs in announcing multibillion-dollar, multiyear targets for sustainable investments.
PNC’s $20 billion commitment to environmental finance is analogous to the Community Benefits Plan PNC announced in April, which pledged $88 billion "in loans, investments and other financial services to bolster economic opportunity for low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals and communities."
"PNC recognizes that environmental issues, including climate change, are impacting our business, our clients and the communities in which we operate," Richard Bynum, the bank's chief corporate responsibility officer, said in a statement. "We acknowledge that the transition to a low-carbon economy presents both risks and opportunities, and we are committed to balancing financial priorities, responsible risk management and environmental considerations in ways that benefit our varied stakeholders."
Last year, PNC established a "sustainable finance practice" led by Eberhardt, which "works across lines of business at PNC to assist with structuring loans and debt issuances that incorporate preferential pricing" relating to the achievement of key sustainability performance indicators.
PNC also last year published its first Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures report, which spells out the bank’s stance and response regarding climate change.
However, PNC’s $20 billion pledge pales in comparison to some recently made by other major banks. COVID-19 accelerated the pace at which global banks have invested in ESG initiatives, and PNC continues to lag behind some rivals.
Bank of America, in April, for example, more than tripled its environmental financing goal, saying it wants to deploy more than $1 trillion by 2030 to accelerate the transition toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.
Citi, a week later, pledged $1 trillion toward sustainable finance by 2030. In addition to environmental finance, the bank seeks to back other activities that support the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals, including investments in education and affordable housing. The $1 trillion figure builds on a $250 billion, five-year commitment Citi made last year to finance and facilitate low-carbon solutions in renewable energy, clean technology, water quality and conservation, sustainable transportation, green buildings, energy efficiency, and sustainable agriculture and land use.
JPMorgan Chase, on the same day, pledged to finance and facilitate $2.5 trillion by 2030 to address climate change and advance sustainable development. About $1 trillion of that total will be dedicated toward green initiatives that boost renewable energy and clean technologies, the bank said.
Goldman Sachs in late 2019 said it would commit $750 billion over the next decade in loans, underwriting, advisory services and investments toward companies and on projects focused on renewable energy, sustainable transportation, affordable education and other areas. The bank in March said it has put $156 billion toward that target.