We live in a rapidly changing world

Climate change has the potential to undermine human health, damage infrastructure, limit the availability of water, alter our coastlines and boost costs in industries from farming, to fisheries and energy production. Many of the impacts—including more frequent and more powerful storms, droughts, and flooding—are already being felt by individuals, communities, and businesses.

In fact, rising global temperatures due to climate change have the potential to curtail the pace of U.S. economic growth by as much as one-third by 2100.

If we are serious about protecting our environment and creating a more equitable society, then “business as usual” is not good enough.  

That’s why Bank of the West believes in redefining banking for a better future. Along with our parent BNP Paribas, we have made the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals a core part of our strategies. They help shape how we do business, because we believe banks play a pivotal role in society and we take our responsibility as leaders seriously.

 Increasingly, we hear from our customers and clients that they want to work with a bank that’s taking action to protect the planet and promote diversity not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s good for business. They want to work with a company that understands how to avoid risk, seize opportunity, and invest in sustainability. 

“When a person or organization chooses a bank, they are also choosing a bank’s financing policies. Your money in the bank doesn’t just have value; it has values. That’s why we have made decisions on what we finance and what we don’t to help our planet,” says CEO Nandita Bakhshi.

Sustainable growth in the age of climate change

Climate change has the potential to do serious long-term damage to our economy, our infrastructure, our health, and our quality of life. In fact, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment, climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.

“Consumers and businesses across industry sectors are becoming increasingly aware of the risks. They are realizing that in order for companies to truly create long-term value and build both profitable and sustainable enterprises, they must understand the current and future ecological, social, and economic environment,” says Chief Economist Scott Anderson.

 Bank of the West is committed to ensuring greater access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy. We want to help mitigate climate risks, while also ensuring we have the energy resources needed to power the U.S. and global economy in the centuries ahead. In line with this vision, Bank of the West committed $1 billion in 2018 to financing renewable and clean energy.

Diversity, equity, and innovation

Current gender inequality in corporate America reflects the fact that, historically, women have not been provided with the same opportunities as men.

Bank of the West believes that diverse perspectives lead to better and more innovative solutions – whether that be the next mobile payment product, investing strategy, or financing solution.

 “At Bank of the West, we’ve taken meaningful steps to create an equality of opportunity and to promote women and diversity both inside of our organization and in the wider world. Today, women represent nearly 40% of the bank’s executive team. Our CEO, Nandita Bakhshi, is one of just 2% of CEOs at financial institutions globally who are women. The bank has also earned a top score for LGBTQ workplace equality from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation,” says Head of CSR Jenny Flores.

BNP Paribas is a supporter of the UN’s HeForShe movement with a mission of promoting the importance of gender diversity around the world.

 In addition, the Bank actively supports (through investments and grants) leading organizations such as Grameen America, Working Solutions and Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap, which provide resources to female entrepreneurs, women of color and those from low-income backgrounds.

Sustainable growth in the age of climate change

We believe the need to respond to climate change is urgent, and that consumers expect banks to be part of the solution and to help shape a positive future. At the same time, many businesses want to work with a bank that helps them navigate a world in which climate change is profoundly changing risks and opportunities.

 “We’re all in this together and driving positive change for our planet and for society is up to everyone. At Bank of the West we’re putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to sustainable finance and gender equality. We’re making a real impact and we are committed to doing much more,” says CEO Nandita Bakhshi.