Take Accountability—Taking Care of the Planet
In 2018, we achieved our first goal—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent—and took a giant stride toward accomplishing our 100 percent renewable energy goal three years ahead of schedule.
Specifically, we made measurable progress or took steps that will lead to significant progress on the remaining goals:
- Energy: through lighting upgrades, improved energy management, new corporate standards and other factors, we reduced our energy use 14 percent.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions: due to the noted energy reduction strategies and declining greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity grid, we reduced our emissions by 28 percent, achieving our goal.
- Landfill Waste: we have been transitioning to a new vendor and data system and expect to begin measurable reductions in 2019.
- Water: installing smart irrigation systems along with other best practices helped us reduce water consumption 17 percent.
- Green Power: even as we focus on advancing our power purchase agreement (PPA) to achieve our 100 percent renewable goal in 2019, we supported renewable energy generation by purchasing 30 percent green power from the Crosswinds Wind project in Oklahoma.
Fifth Third's Bold Goals by 2022
GHG 28.0% reduction
— not available
Water 17.9% reduction
30.0%GREEN POWER toward 100% goal
In March 2018, Fifth Third became the first Fortune 500 company to sign a contract to purchase 100 percent renewable power through solar power and through a single project. Our executives rang the Nasdaq opening bell in New York to announce our signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy all of the power from a new 80 megawatt solar project to be built within our Consumer Bank footprint in North Carolina. The contract put us on track to achieve our goal of achieving 100 percent renewable power three years ahead of schedule.
“We applaud Fifth Third for becoming the first RE100 member company to contract for 100 percent solar power,” said Amy Davidsen, North America executive director, The Climate Group, which leads the RE100 initiative. “By striving to achieve its 100 percent renewable energy goal three years early, Fifth Third is demonstrating that there is a strong business case for solar, that corporate leadership on renewables is accelerating, and that faster greenhouse gas emissions cuts are possible. This will inspire more companies to follow suit.”
RE100 is a collaborative initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100 percent renewable power. To emphasize our commitment to renewable energy, we joined both RE100, a corporate leadership initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with the Carbon Disclosure Project, and the Business Renewables Center in 2018.
The Aulander Holloman Solar Facility, an 80 megawatt solar project in Hertford County, North Carolina, will enable Fifth Third Bank to meet its 100 percent renewable power goal when it comes online in 2019.
The innovation and collaboration required to evaluate, sign and implement the PPA led to an industry first achievement, as well as many inquiries about how we assembled a team and the expertise needed to make the decision. We were pleased to share our experiences and lessons learned at various renewable energy conferences in 2018. We hope other companies can follow in our footsteps and make a cost effective, positive and long-lasting impact on our environment.
We were honored to receive the 2018 Business Leadership in Clean Energy Award from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). This award recognized our “lasting positive impact” on North Carolina’s clean energy economy due to our role in financing solar projects as well as for signing a Power Purchase Agreement for a major new solar project in North Carolina.
“NCSEA is grateful for Fifth Third and its Renewable Energy Finance Group for their bold leadership and commitment to the communities they serve. When Fifth Third announced their PPA to purchase 100% solar power from a project in North Carolina, they demonstrated their unwavering commitment to building a clean energy economy that benefits all North Carolinians. We are honored to have Fifth Third as an NCSEA member, and we look forward to our continued partnership to keep North Carolina the #2 solar market in the United States.”
—Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director
North Carolina Sustainable Association
When it comes to environmental sustainability, as in life, small acts can lead to big change. In addition to setting bold goals and innovating with projects like the power purchase agreement, we are focused on the small steps we can take within our Company, in our community and within industry circles to collectively drive actions that improve the health and vitality of our planet and the environment for all.
With a growing number of renovation projects across our portfolio, our new construction and demolition waste diversion initiative is moving us toward our ambitious 20 percent waste reduction goal. Construction and demolition waste accounts for some of the largest and heaviest items we use, including metal, wiring, insulation, wood and concrete. In 2018, this initiative helped to divert more than 70,000 pounds of construction materials from landfills. Our Enterprise Workplace Services group also launched a new office supply donations program to help put unused supplies to new use and reduce the waste we generate.
The past year also saw two innovative new solutions to water management. We launched a smart irrigation program to manage and control landscaping water use, giving us remote visibility into irrigation schedules and irrigation control functionality. The system also monitors real-time weather data—when rain is set to overlap with our watering schedule, the system makes a real-time correction, reducing the water used. Separately, we helped reduce interior water usage by replacing faucets with high-efficiency aerators. By being smarter and more conscious of our water use, we support communities and help protect water as an important local resource.
Energy efficiency has long offered a golden opportunity to reduce our environmental impact while reducing expenses and improving operations. We were again recognized for our excellence in energy efficiency by the U.S. Green Building Council of Western Michigan. The annual Michigan Battle of the Buildings competition pits building owners against one another in an effort to see who can most reduce their energy consumption. Fifth Third was awarded first and second place in the financial institutions category for energy savings at the Westland Banking Center (10.96% reduction) and the Plymouth Banking Center (8.40% reduction).
Our employees demonstrated a keen interest in supporting our sustainability initiatives last year. The Corporate Culture and Enterprise Workplace Services teams hosted our first employee tree planting event in Cincinnati. Employees planted ten new trees around our Madisonville campus, an action that will foster cleaner air, cleaner water and a more beautiful environment for years to come.
We also held another Electronics Waste (E-Waste) Recycling day, and the 2018 event saw nearly twice the amount of recycled content from 2017. Made possible through a partnership with Getronics and Cohen Recycling, the event enables employees to safely and responsibly recycle old electronics from home. They recycled more than 8,700 pounds of electronics waste, from laptops to cell phones to batteries as well as 88 televisions.
We participated in Earth Hour again in 2018, an international day of recognition on climate issues. We turned off exterior or non-safety lights at 19 sites and more than two million square feet of space. We also continued our leadership roles with several local sustainability organizations, including Green Umbrella and the Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council.
New in 2018, we became a founding member of the Cincinnati 2030 District. 2030 Districts are a national model for urban sustainability. Each 2030 District is made up of property owners who make a voluntary commitment to reduce their building’s energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions in an effort to achieve a set of bold community sustainability goals. We joined the newly formed Cincinnati 2030 District, designating Fifth Third Center in Cincinnati as a member building.
Climate Related Disclosure
In 2018, based on our review of recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), we included more detail about our governance approach, risk management framework and our identification of climate-related risks and opportunities in our 2018 submission to the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). Based on our submission, we received a CDP score of “C.” We are continuing to drive further changes, including examining ways to increase transparency, enhance our environmental risk management framework, and review our portfolio for exposure to carbon-intensive and renewable sectors. One example of our efforts to expand disclosure is that we are introducing a new, Climate-related Disclosure document, which provides additional detail using the TCFD’s reporting structure. This document will be available later this year at 53.com/sustainability.
“As a Founding Member of the Cincinnati 2030 District, Fifth Third Bank is continuing its leadership in advocating for and adopting best practices in sustainability. Fifth Third’s commitment will not only result in tangible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, but also contribute to the enhanced resiliency, competitiveness, and vibrancy of the Greater Cincinnati region.”
—Tremaine L. Phillips, Director
Cincinnati 2030 District
2018 Corporate Responsibility Report
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