Citigroup Reduces Environmental Impact of Its Paper Practices

Citigroup Reduces Environmental Impact of Its Paper Practices

Citigroup has announced that all of its Citibank, Global Corporate and Investment Bank, and Global Investment Management locations in the U.S. have committed to purchasing copy paper with 30% post-consumer recycled content. The new paper will cost the same or less than the virgin paper the company had been using.

The move comes in the wake of criticism from conservation groups such as the Rainforest Action Network, which claim that some of the company’s financial dealings have promoted projects that threaten endangered forests and increase global warming. RAN recently launched a series of TV ads geared toward pressuring Citigroup to establish more progressive environmental and social policies.

"We are hopeful that our work with Environmental Defense sets an example for other companies looking to incorporate more environmental practices into their paper purchasing," said Iris Gold, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Citigroup.

“Switching to recycled copy paper may seem like a simple step, but the environmental benefits are real," said Jackie Cefola, project manager at Environmental Defense. "Citigroup is the world's largest financial services firm and at its rate of annual paper use, this change alone will result in potential savings of 6,700 tons of wood each year, enough to build 500 average single family homes in the U.S. Environmental Defense and Citigroup now call on other financial service firms to reduce the environmental impacts of their paper use."

Virgin copy paper is currently the norm in the paper-heavy financial services industry. By working with Environmental Defense to improve purchasing practices, Citigroup successfully increased the recycled content in the copy paper it uses and secured recycled paper at price parity to virgin paper from two paper suppliers. Environmental Defense also consulted with Citigroup to develop an annual evaluation for paper suppliers that addresses manufacturing impacts, forest management practices, environmental management, and regulatory compliance. The two organizations are now cooperating together to reduce overall copy paper use.

Citigroup and Environmental Defense estimate their combined efforts will generate annual savings of 1,000 tons of solid waste, 19 million gallons of wastewater pollution, and 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.