Green Finance, The Quarterly Review

The Quarterly Review: How Citizens’ Head of Sustainability balances action and transparency in the bid to meet a $50 billion Sustainable Finance target

  • Rachel Mattes Greenberg, Senior Vice President, Head of Sustainability at Citizens dives into how she and her team will be focusing on meeting the goals Citizens set as part of the company’s $50 billion Sustainable Finance target.
  • Greenberg details how her team balances the dual act of achieving sustainability goals and the way they ensure the firm remains transparent about its progress in its communication. 
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The Quarterly Review: How Citizens’ Head of Sustainability balances action and transparency in the bid to meet a $50 billion Sustainable Finance target

Notes from the desk: Welcome to this month’s Quarterly Review, where I dive into what executives from some of the best brands in financial services are focusing on in this quarter, as well as how they are planning to achieve their goals. It’s a chance for the industry to learn about what goes on behind an FI’s four walls and how leadership manages their priorities.

But that’s not all: a review implies no mandates, a check in. So stay tuned next quarter to learn whether the executive achieves her plans and goals and turns theory to reality.


In this edition we focus on
Rachel Mattes Greenberg, Senior Vice President, Head of Sustainability at Citizens.

At Citizens, Greenberg leads the Sustainability team which sits at the center of the bank’s overall approach to environmental, social, and governance topics. In this quarter, she and her team will be focusing on meeting the goals Citizens set as part of the company’s $50 billion Sustainable Finance target. Greenberg dives into how her team balances the dual act of achieving sustainability goals and the way they ensure the firm remains transparent about its progress in its communication. 

The focus: Reporting on and meeting sustainability goals

Greenberg: At our company, this body of work is an extension of our Credo – uniting our values and purpose to build a more sustainable future for all those we serve. Over the past several years, my team and I have worked across the organization to define where we as a regional bank want to focus our efforts to have an outsized impact. The focus areas that resulted from that work form the basis of our enterprise-wide strategy on sustainability and impact.

We are focused on four pillars: 

  1. Leading with robust governance
  2. Driving positive climate impact
  3. Building the workforce of the future
  4. Fostering strong communities

Goals and KPIs: Last year, we announced a $50 billion Sustainable Finance target including $5 billion in green financing, by 2030. One of the distinctive parts of that announcement was our commitment to engage with corporate clients in high-emitting sectors on climate-related topics, starting with 100% of our Oil & Gas clients by the end of 2024. To enable successful engagement, we launched training to ensure our colleagues are prepared to talk about climate-related topics. We are off to a great start and making positive progress with this engagement effort. Throughout the rest of this year, our commercial colleagues will be working on the remaining conversations and rounding out the training so that we can move the engagement work forward. 

My team is also gearing up to issue our next voluntary report dedicated to environmental, social and governance topics. In it, we’ll report on progress on our overall strategy across the four pillars as well as the targets included in the sustainability announcement. We will also be issuing our third dedicated climate report, which will detail efforts underway at Citizens to address both the risks and opportunities related to climate change.

This body of work continues to generate a lot of attention, and my team works to ensure our approach keeps pace and aligns with expectations. So far, we’ve received positive feedback. It was designed around our business and continues to resonate with our colleagues, customers and communities.

To be credible, we know we need to provide transparency on our progress. This is something that’s top-of-mind for us at Citizens and it keeps us accountable for our actions.

In our upcoming environmental, social and governance report and our climate report, we’ll share progress toward our public commitments and broader strategy. Our reporting aligns with industry best practices and frameworks.

In addition to our annual reports, we have made available on our website we also make the following resources available: 

  1. Our Approach to Sustainable Finance, which details how we will define and track business activity that counts toward our Sustainable Finance Target
  2. Environmental & Social Risk Management Statement, which provides insight into how Citizens manages environmental and social risks that may arise.

Plan of action

  1. Identify objectives and keep track of progress: When we launched this strategy, we established enterprise-wide objectives and key results (OKRs) and aligned them with business opportunities and imperatives. With these specific and measurable goals, we can see progress and clearly communicate against it.
  2. Communicate progress: We partner closely with Corporate Communications to ensure that we are telling our story effectively within the company to our colleague base and externally with customers, clients, communities, and shareholders.
  3. Engage leadership and strategize: To support our goals, we have a number of forums to help to ensure that we’re moving in the right direction. We have an ESG Executive Steering Council, which includes our Chairman & CEO and several members of the bank’s Executive Committee. 

Additionally, we have an ESG Leadership Group which is made up of senior leaders responsible for work across the four pillars of our strategy. We use these meetings as opportunities to share progress, make adjustments to our strategy, and discuss pressing topics or trends. 



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