How IT Helped Citi Become 'America's Greenest Bank'

By the end of the year, every Citigroup worker will have a standardized energy-sipping desktop computer, while all new servers must be 85 percent PSU energy efficient.

Over the last five years, the company has consolidated 52 data centers to 24, three of which are LEED-certified. A massive virtualization drive saved the company 73 percent in server power and cooling requirements, trimming its carbon footprint by more than 300 tons of carbon dioxide.

All of these moves combined to propel Citi to the top of "America's Greenest Banks," a new list compiled for the first time by Bank Technology News (BTN). With help from RiskMetrics, BTN scored banks on the sustainability initiatives implemented by their technology and operations divisions with quantifiable results. "The aim is to give due recognition to the banks that are pace-setters in their peer group when it comes to environmentally responsible technology and operations initiatives," BTN wrote in its April issue.

Bank of America, Johnson Financial Group, First National Bank of Omaha, New Resource Bank and Third Federal Bank also landed on BTN's short list.

The move to upgrade more than 300,000 PCs and laptops in use globally at Citi was part of the company's desktop standardization initiative (DSI), which replaced all hardware at 1,000 branches in 15 states between August 2009 and January.

Citi's telepresence centers located throughout the globe helped the bank reduce its air travel emissions by nearly a third between 2008 and 2009. Employees can recycle their used Blackberrys and cell phones, while the company only works with e-waste vendors with zero landfill policies.

DSI will likely yield a 3 percent reduction in emissions for Citi, half from hardware-related efficiencies and the remaining savings from operational enhancements related to the new desktop infrastructure, according to BTN.

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