CHARLOTTE – Bank of America says it has achieved “carbon neutrality” – and has done so a year earlier than planned – due to several different initiatives such as solar panels on banks and ATMs.

The Charlotte-based financial giant declared its achievement Tuesday morning. However, it conded that third party certificiation is still needed.

Bank of America’s achievement comes just days after Microsoft announced its own plan to achieve carbon neutrality for emissions and beyond, including its supply chain.

“We are delivering responsible growth by focusing on serving our clients, investing in our teammates, supporting the communities where we operate – AND by addressing important societal priorities,” said Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, in the announcement. “Being carbon neutral is core to our $300 billion, 10-year environmental business initiative that is helping finance the transition to a low-carbon future.”

The bank said it had cut emissions from facilities while purchasing “100 percent” renewable electricity and also purchasing carbon “offsets” for what it describes as “unavoidable emissions.”

The company has reduced both “Scope 1 and 2 emissions” which the EPA defines this way:

  • Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources.
  • Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy

EPA graphic

Bank of America cited specifics of its plan:

  • Reduced emissions by more than 50 percent in its facilities since 2010.
  • Met its 100 percent renewable electricity goal by:Installing on-site solar capability at many of its facilities, including office locations and financial centers, and on ATMs.
  • Completing multiple long-term renewable agreements which will add new wind and solar electricity to the grid.
  • Purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).
  • Purchased a limited amount of carbon offsets from four nonprofit projects located in impoverished areas across the U.S., South America, Africa, and Asia, which are helping to preserve biodiversity and drive reforestation, while furthering economic mobility for the local populations.

Here’s how and why Microsoft aims to be ‘carbon negative’ by 2030 (+ video, charts)