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Green is more than the color of currency

May 19, 2007

Since “Who Killed the Electric Car” and “The Inconvenient Truth” green
has been top of mind; so it’s not surprising to see a recent trend of
corporations following the money and jumping onto the green band wagon.

Recent commitments to green
initiatives by the financial sector are creating talk that energy will
be a bigger business revolution than the Internet.  It’s easy to
understand why with the kind of money we’ve recently seen flowing from
big banks.  MSNBC reported
that Citibank pledged $50 billion to curb emissions and plans to invest
$31 billion in clean energy and alternative energy over the next 10
years. This announcement was followed by a $20 billion commitment to
support growth in environmentally friendly activities to reduce global
warming by Bank of America.  Clinton recently spoke
about supporting initiatives with a plan for 5 major banks to fund
green initiatives by creating financing solutions that will facilitate
the construction of green buildings.

European initiatives include a recent commitment of 378 million Euros by a group of banks for the financing of the first ever offshore wind farm that will power 125,000 homes. These are the kind of projects that banks will start investing in in the future. 

These programs are step one of a two-part initiative which also
requires the weening off of dirty energy.  What this means for
financial institutions as well as investors is a careful balancing act
that would eventually mean less financing of coal-fired power plants
and other emissions emitting energy sources.

Financial institutions are looking to adopt new green programs that are
becoming increasingly attractive to their consumers.  Wells Fargo just
added eco-friendly choices for it’s reward card holders
and BAC and Citi plan to follow.  This will let consumers accumulate
green points that can be used to benefit clean energy projects.

These initiatives are important to consumers, a LOHAS poll revealed that:
    – 68% state that knowing a company is mindful of its impact on the
environment and society makes them more likely to buy their products
and services,
    – 52% state that it makes them more likely to buy stock.

Corporate boardrooms are taking note and the implications will be far reaching.

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