Bank of America announced on Monday a 10-year, $50-billion goal for financing environmentally friendly energy programs, including $100-million in grants to organizations promoting low-carbon projects, says Reuters.
The move comes as the country’s second-largest bank, which has faced criticism for financial ties to the coal industry, nears early completion of a 10-year, $20-billion clean-energy effort launched in 2007. That program provided loans and other support for solar projects, hybrid cars, and efforts to make poor neighborhoods more energy efficient.
Other major U.S. banks have also recently launched high-profile environmental programs, with Wells Fargo last week committing $100-million to universities and nonprofit groups working on sustainability, conservation, and clean energy.
Cathy Bessant, a Bank of America executive and chairwoman of the firm’s environmental council, said the programs underline the company’s support for sustainability while offering new business opportunities in the renewable-energy market.
But Amanda Starbuck of the Rainforest Action Network criticized the new program, saying it “makes no strong commitments around actually reducing the coal, the climate emissions, the fossil fuels the bank is financing.”