Doing our part to protect our planet
doing our part to protect our planet
Fifth Third increased its commitment to the environment in ways big and small in 2016.
Fifth Third launched a significant LED lighting retrofit program, commenced implementation of the new OurWorkplace open office standard and made organizational changes that will help accelerate progress in the years ahead. From changes such as the launch of a new Enterprise Workplace Services department and naming the Company's first chief corporate social responsibility and reputation officer, Fifth Third is looking to drive sustainability into its corporate culture, increase employee engagement and create value for the customers and the communities it serves.
ENERGY USE, GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, & CLIMATE CHANGE
As a large owner and operator of facilities, Fifth Third views improving energy efficiency as a tool to reduce costs, energy use and environmental impacts. Early in 2016, Fifth Third's headquarters office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was recognized as the second-most improved office building in the Battle of the Buildings contest run by the U.S. Green Building Council's Western Michigan Chapter. Due to a systematic focus on re-commissioning existing HVAC systems and controls and better using the office space, Fifth Third reduced energy use by 15 percent with limited capital investments.
Fifth Third's energy efficiency efforts also included completing a multi-year HVAC and controls project at its largest headquarters building in Cincinnati. The Company also completed a pilot project focused on LED lighting in January and used that experience to scale up rapidly and launch a $4 million LED lighting retrofit project at more than 100 locations.
As a result of these efforts and other factors, in 2016, electricity consumption at facilities where Fifth Third receives an energy bill was reduced by 18 million kilowatt-hours (10 percent) relative to a baseline year of 2014. These facilities also reduced natural gas consumption by 87,000 British thermal units (29 percent) relative to 2014. Based on average emissions factors for electric power and natural gas in the United States, these energy savings correspond to a reduction in 2016 carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of 13,950 metric tons (13 percent) relative to 2014.
In 2016, Fifth Third again committed to corporate transparency through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). For the fourth year in a row, Fifth Third had its Scope 1, Scope 2 and some components of its Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions independently verified to ensure the integrity of its data collection process and calculations. The verification, along with Fifth Third's written submission, led the Company to receive a 2016 CDP score of "C" under the CDP's new scoring system. With the launch of Fifth Third's Corporate Responsibility and Reputation division, the Company will continue to monitor climate change-related developments and improve its ability to raise awareness and proactively manage the risks and opportunities related to climate change.
Fifth Third supports renewable energy in two distinct ways. First, as a consumer of energy, the Company purchased 65 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy certificates (RECs) in 2016. Equivalent to 30 percent of Fifth Third's projected electricity consumption at owned and leased facilities, the RECs were from the Hereford Wind Project in Deaf Smith County, Texas. This purchase led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recognize Fifth Third Bank as a Green Power Partner and a member of EPA's Green Power Leadership Club. Fifth Third was also ranked as the 25th largest purchaser of green power in the EPA's October 2016 Fortune 500® Partners List. Second, as a bank, Fifth Third is proud to finance renewable energy projects like those developed by Exoplexus Inc.
GREEN BUILDING, WELLNESS, & OURWORKPLACE
Two new Fifth Third financial centers earned the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) recognition in 2016, including the Montgomery financial center in Cincinnati that earned LEED Silver. This project showcased not only a new design for Fifth Third financial centers, but also helped demonstrate that sustainability can be incorporated into all new branches. Fifth Third now operates 28 LEED-certified financial centers.
Fifth Third Finances Solar Photovoltaic Projects
In December 2016, Fifth Third financing helped bring two new solar photovoltaic projects—representing 13 megawatts (MW) of solar power—online in Hertford County, North Carolina. These projects are part of a larger relationship between Fifth Third and Ecoplexus Inc., a San Francisco-based renewable energy project developer. Since 2014, Fifth Third has provided Ecoplexus with construction and/or term debt for 87 MW of solar power projects. Each year, these projects generate electricity equivalent to the energy used by more than 10,000 average North Carolina homes.
Ed Campaniello, vice president of finance for Ecoplexus, said, "We appreciate Fifth Third's commitment to supporting our company's growth as we provide customers with an affordable and reliable source of electricity that has no air pollution, no greenhouse gas emissions and avoids many of the environmental risks associated with other fuel types."
Fifth Third also is developing a new standard for its corporate office space to drive inclusion, collaboration, flexibility and efficiency. Known as OurWorkplace, this standard will increasingly integrate environmental sustainability and wellness as it is developed. In 2016, two new floors were opened that are helping test and improve upon the standard. Green building, sustainability and wellness features included in the new space include access to daylight and views, enhanced recycling infrastructure, flexible workspaces, dual monitors to reduce printing, sit/stand and treadmill desks and amenities that encourage employees to drink filtered water and use reusable glasses and mugs.
WASTE REDUCTION & RECYLING
As part of OurWorkplace, Fifth Third introduced a "Recycling 2.0" model that uses centralized recycling stations. By making employees responsible for recycling their own materials, the Company makes them conscious of their waste and facilitates diversion into recyclable streams. Fifth Third's Madisonville campus in Cincinnati continues to reduce the quantity of waste sent to the landfill each year. The campus' secure shred program, recycling initiatives and compost program diverted 88 percent of its waste from the landfill in 2016.
Fifth Third Completes $4 Million LED Lighting Retrofit Program
In October 2016, Fifth Third and HP Energy—a minority-owned energy efficiency financing, project development and project management firm—announced a $4 million LED lighting retrofit program. The program replaced 90,000 light bulbs at 136 Fifth Third facilities in four states, including five of its largest headquarters facilities in Cincinnati. The upgrades will reduce lighting-related energy use by 50 percent; energy costs by $650,000 per year; and greenhouse gas emissions by 2.7 percent while also providing a better working environment for employees and reducing maintenance expenses. This project was made possible by a successful pilot project in Florida as well as harmonized rebates offered by Duke Energy in the states of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and North Carolina. Steven Hightower, co-founder, chairman and president of HP Energy, said, "Through our direct-to-manufacturer sourcing, we were able to provide Fifth Third with the latest generation of LED lighting technology, including the industry's first 12-watt LED light bulb. We also helped Fifth Third obtain an industry-leading 10-year manufacturer's warranty and acted as its strategic advisor by developing an implementation strategy that would provide the greatest savings."
Fifth Third supports sustainability organizations. As a founding member of the Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council, the Company promotes the sharing of best practices throughout the region. Fifth Third also supports Green Umbrella®, the regional sustainability alliance for Greater Cincinnati, and sponsored its Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit, where entrepreneur and visionary Paul Hawken delivered the keynote. Through its work with these organizations, Fifth Third believes it is enabling communities to better innovate, improve the environment and boost quality of life that benefits all.
Fifth Third's commitment to good citizenship is tangible. It is defined, articulated and communicated in the pages of this report to help hold Fifth Third accountable to the people and communities it serves.
Fifth Third is pleased to have worked so closely, and with so many across the footprint and the nation, to live the commitment to strong corporate citizenship. The $30 billion community development plan announced in 2016 is a prime example of what can be accomplished through this kind of public-private collaboration for the common good. It is what citizenship is all about.