Environmental Sustainability

Together, we can reduce the harmful effects of climate change and support the adaptation and resilience strategies needed for future generations to live and thrive on our planet. Part of our collective solution is to move quickly toward renewable energy.

DATA AT A GLANCE

* as of Dec 31, 2019

  • $103

    million

    in outstanding loans in the environmental sustainability sector

  • $42

    million

    in loans to renewable energy projects

  • 627

    million

    kWh of renewable energy produced to date

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT

Global climate change beginning with the Industrial Revolution has led to rising temperatures, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, and extreme weather events.

Power generation is a leading cause of air pollution and the single largest source of U.S. global warming emissions. Coal is the worst offender, a dirty energy source that produces less than half our electricity but nearly 80 percent of all power plant carbon emissions,… and (natural gas) is a fossil fuel that generates substantial global warming emissions, and has other health, environmental, and economic risks.

~ Union of Concerned Scientists

Evidence shows that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, the largest contributor to industrially-driven warming, has increased by about 90% since 1970, with emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributing about 78% of the increase in total greenhouse gas emissions from 1970 to 2011 (US EPA). This astronomical rise in greenhouse gas emissions has increased the planet’s average surface temperature by about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, with most of the warming occurring in the past 35 years and with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010 (NASA). 

This rise in greenhouse gases and temperature is affecting people all around the world, but especially those most vulnerable such the poor and people living in natural disaster-prone areas. In many parts of the world, climate change has resulted in decreased air quality, agriculture and food scarcity, diminishing water supply, extreme wildfires, and more. If we do not act now to save our home, the impacts of global climate change will only intensify.

OUR APPROACH AND IMPACT

At Beneficial State, we believe that banks and investors collectively have immense power to guide our resource use. Thus, we choose to only fund clean, renewable energy and refuse to fund extractive and dirty energy sources like coal, oil, and gas. 

As of December 31, 2019, we have committed $42.3 million to renewable energy projects in California, Washington, and Oregon. These projects have produced over 600 mWh of energy, offsetting 432,324 mT of carbon! Our energy lending is comprised of companies that create clean energy from four renewable sources: sun, wind, water, and waste. Within this clean portfolio, we are intentional in how we select sources and projects — supporting only small scale hydro, funding appropriate biogas digester facilities, and ensuring local community input, benefits, and ownership where possible.

In addition to directly funding renewable energy production projects, as of December 31, 2019, we have over $108 million in outstanding loans in the environmental sustainability sector more broadly. These clients include environmental advocates, eco friendly producers, conservation groups, environmental education programs, and others. 

Our Earth Services team at Beneficial State Bank works to organize and grow the Bank’s desired impact through financial products offered to entities addressing critical environmental issues. Phase I of this team’s work is to actively pursue banking relationships, community partnerships, and collaborations in five sectors: solar projects, environmental remediation firms, environmentally focused nonprofits, sustainability focused building, and stormwater management systems.

In addition to our energy lending, we are part of a greater movement, working with allies, grassroots organizations, and communities to stop banks from financing extractive projects that threaten our planet and communities. We saw and supported the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as they defend the environment upon which we all depend and fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. We listened to the growing call and launched a Move Your Money campaign encouraging everyone to take back the power of their deposits. As the bank divestment movement continues to grow, we want to help people move money out of banks that fund fossil fuel development and oil pipelines.

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Whether you are an individual or an institution, where you put your money matters. Build the world you want to see by placing your deposits in a bank that values people and planet before profit.