Citizens Financial Group Pioneers Sustainable Banking with Robust ESG Strategy: A Blueprint for Responsible Finance and Community Impact

by Jan/Feb 2024


Citizens Financial Group’s commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles is deeply ingrained in its corporate ethos. The company aims to build a more diverse and sustainable future by aligning its values and purpose. This commitment is reflected in its robust corporate governance, responsible citizenship and actions that prioritize the long-term interests of all stakeholders.

Leading with Robust Corporate Governance
Citizens maintains a strong enterprise-wide corporate governance framework that goes beyond mere compliance. The focus is on creating an ethical culture that promotes the long-term interests of stakeholders. This commitment ensures that decision-making processes are aligned with ESG principles.

Driving Positive Climate Impact
Citizens actively supports clients in navigating the transition to a lower-carbon economy. The bank provides advice, products and solutions to help others adopt sustainable practices. Citizens is committed to reducing its operational emissions and building capabilities to support clients in emerging growth sectors critical to a lower-carbon economy.

Building the Workforce of the Future
Recognizing the importance of a skilled and diverse workforce, Citizens focuses on developing the leaders of the future. To do this, the bank expands the pipeline for diverse talent, providing opportunities for growth and leadership, and invests in organizations that offer upskilling and reskilling services.

Fostering Strong Communities
Citizens works to strengthen communities by promoting supplier diversity, creating innovative products, improving access to capital and supporting affordable housing initiatives. The bank’s commitment to this development reflects its belief that thriving communities contribute to overall economic development.

ESG Advice for the Industry
Equipment finance has a unique position when it comes to leading ESG goals. The ability to support the real on-the-ground implementation of ESG initiatives, such as fuel switching, equipment upgrades and deployment of sustainable technologies, makes equipment finance a crucial component of the bank’s overall ESG strategy.

Addressing the importance of ESG initiatives for equipment finance companies, Citizens emphasizes the challenges and opportunities presented by the transition to a lower-carbon economy. The company views equipment finance as a key element in managing climate-related risks and supporting clients in adopting sustainable technologies.

For equipment finance companies seeking to create and implement ESG initiatives, Citizens suggests engaging clients in high-emitting sectors on climate-related topics, upskilling frontline bankers on climate-related issues and continuous education on emerging technologies and incentives. Citizens believes client engagement is crucial in understanding stakeholder pressures and identifying opportunities to support sustainability.

Citizens is committed to supporting existing clients in high-emitting sectors. The bank believes in being expansive in supporting equipment and financings that contribute to client transitions and advance the green economy.

Citizens emphasizes the importance of strong corporate governance in upholding ESG commitments. The bank has frameworks and policies in place to embed risk management and assess climate risk exposure. The
development of sector-specific climate risk questionnaires enhances the credit process, ensuring that ESG considerations are integral to business decisions.

Role of Equipment Finance in Lowering Global Emissions
As global emissions are projected to peak, Citizens sees equipment finance playing a pivotal role in supporting the energy transition. By delivering clear and objective advice, developing innovative products and financing technologies aligned with lower-carbon solutions, equipment finance can contribute to driving innovation and accelerating the transition to a sustainable economy.

Citizens Financial Group’s ESG strategy is comprehensive and action-oriented, providing a blueprint for other companies in the financial sector. The emphasis on corporate governance, climate impact, workforce development, community support and proactive client engagement positions Citizens as a leader in sustainable finance. The lessons learned from the company’s initiatives offer valuable insights for other organizations looking to integrate ESG principles into their business strategies. •

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