The FINANCIAL — Citi on June 10 released its 2014 Global Citizenship Report highlighting efforts underway in the past year to empower people, support economic progress in cities, and catalyze sustainable growth. The report, Progress: Responding to Global Challenges, examines how Citi lends, invests and facilitates growth through core business activities and philanthropic efforts, as well as partnerships and new approaches to address pressing needs.
“Given the pace and scale of global challenges and opportunities, from providing access to basic banking services for the two billion people who lack it to training the workforce of tomorrow, Citi has a unique capacity to support economic progress in the communities where we operate around the world,” said Citi CEO Michael Corbat. “We are living during a period of unprecedented urban growth, and the challenges facing cities and the people living in them cannot be underestimated. Access to financing, innovation and new partnerships are needed now more than ever, and Citi is well positioned to help finance and scale solutions with impact.”
Issues core to Citi’s citizenship efforts include:
Sustainable growth: Citi committed to lend, invest and facilitate $100 billion toward environmental solutions and climate change reduction activities. Citi established 2020 environmental footprint goals, including 35 percent GHG emissions reduction, 30 percent energy and water reductions, 60 percent waste reduction and 33 percent of its real estate portfolio to be LEED certified. In 2014, Citi screened more than 400 client transactions for environmental and social risk.
Youth empowerment: In 2014, the Citi Foundation launched Pathways to Progress, a three-year, $50 million initiative to help 100,000 low-income young people in 10 major U.S. cities prepare for employment. During its first year, the program assisted nearly 25,000 youth.
Financial inclusion: Citi lent $406 million to more than 1.2 million entrepreneurs—97 percent of them women—through 44 microfinance institutions in 25 countries and four continents and in partnership with the U.S. Government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Citi also founded the Better Than Cash Alliance – a coalition of public, private and NGO partners focused on financial inclusion, transparency and accelerating the transition to digital payments globally.
Innovation in cities: The Citi Foundation collaborated with Living Cities to launch the City Accelerator, a $3 million program helping U.S. cities embed innovation into their service delivery to low-income residents. Citi also expanded Cities for Citizenship, a program originally launched with the mayors of Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, that empowers immigrants eligible for citizenship with access to financial and legal assistance in 15 U.S. cities.
Small business and housing: In the U.S., Citi lent $9.2 billion to over 75,000 small businesses and was recognized as #1 affordable housing lender, providing $3.2 billion of financing in 2014.
Volunteerism: More than 70,000 Citi employees, families and friends across nearly 500 cities volunteered over 900,000 hours as part of Citi’s Global Community Day.
Acting with integrity: Citi introduced a more robust Code of Conduct and launched ethics training for all employees worldwide.
“In 2014, we strengthened our focus on the economic needs of urban youth and harnessed the expanding role cities now play to help create economic opportunities in low-income communities around the world,” said Brandee McHale, Director of Corporate Citizenship at Citi and President of the Citi Foundation. “By expanding financial capability, addressing the social and economic costs of youth unemployment, and deepening collaborations across the public and private sectors, we are helping provide a platform for financial success that is both sustainable and impactful.”
“Citi’s strategy for expanding financial inclusion and community development is to partner with creative community organizations and social entrepreneurs and align with key public policy priorities, using research and a data-driven approach,” added Bob Annibale, Global Director of Inclusive Finance and Community Development at Citi. “We leverage the expertise of Citi’s businesses and client relationships, including municipal governments and development agencies, to develop innovative financing, savings and asset-building products, small business services, neighborhood revitalization programs and immigrant integration services to expand access and economic opportunities, particularly for underserved communities.”
Citi’s citizenship efforts are informed by the perspectives of partners and experts, many of whom are highlighted in this report. To learn more about Citi’s citizenship efforts across the globe and to review the 2014 Global Citizenship Report, visit http://citizenship.citigroup.com/citi/about/global_citizenship.html. Citi self-declares a B application level under the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework, a global voluntary standard for corporate environmental, social and governance reporting.