Bank of America: Green Bank or Greenwash?

posted by Rainforest Action Network

Or at least that was the question on the mind of Fortune Magazine’s Marc Gunther, in his “Black, White or Green?” blog post yesterday. On the same day as we awarded Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis the Fossil Fool of the Year award for being a lead financier of new coal-fired powerplants and mountaintop removal, he was in NY to accept an award from NRDC for the Bank’s new “green” skyscraper and their $20 billion commitment to renewable energy. The coincidence compelled Gunther to ask: “So is the Bank of America an environmental hero? A villain? Both? Or neither?”

As corporations and financial institutions begin to respond to the demand for action on climate change, it seems we are always in a state of wondering where a company stands on the green line. How can we tell with Bank of America? Well, just as Bank of America measures their bottom-line with ones and zeros, we’re measuring their environmental impact by where their money is. As of 2006, every $1 Bank of America invested in renewable energy was matched by another $100 spent on dirty energy. To use an appropriate cliché, perhaps its time they put their money where their mouth is.