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We are a fundamentally different bank

We are a local bank with a global outlook, with restrictive finance policies to help protect people and the planet, and we are led by one of the few women CEOs in the industry. We are the bank for a changing world.
arctic drilling

Arctic Drilling

Drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic endangers one of our planet's most pristine wilderness areas, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Harsh, unpredictable weather can lead to catastrophic accidents—especially oil spills—that are impossible to fix. Oil spills located under ice cover, for example, pose a particular risk.

This is why Bank of the West does not finance onshore or offshore oil and gas projects in the Arctic Circle, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Perceived short-term rewards simply do not outweigh the real long-range risks. For more about our stance regarding Arctic drilling, please see the policy document.

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tar

Fracking, Shale, and Tar Sands Mining

There's a sub-sector of fossil fuel extraction that's proven to have particularly harsh ecological effects: unconventional oil and gas projects. Fracking extracts oil and gas from deep within shale and other types of rock, and can poison or pollute water in the areas where it is done. Tar sands mining inflicts immense environmental impact for relatively little reward. Two tons of tar sands must be mined to create enough gasoline to fill the tank of an SUV just one time.

Bank of the West is acting to mitigate these adverse impacts by not doing business with companies whose main activity involves fracking or tar sands mining. Financing in these segments must meet mandatory criteria including the ability to disclose performance on water use, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and land reclamation strategy, among others.

For more about how we restrict our financing of fracking, shale, and tar sands mining, please see the policy document.

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coal plants

Coal-Fired Power Generation

Coal, unfortunately, is the world's largest source of electricity generation. Coal-fired power plants also release tons of carbon emissions and other pollutants into the air we breathe. These emissions contribute to climate change and have been linked to a number of adverse health conditions. Ash from coal-fired power plants, for example, can pollute natural environments, as well as contaminate drinking water.

As part of BNP Paribas, Bank of the West has a policy in place that restricts the financing of coal-fired power generation plants. Since 2017, we have not financed any new coal-fired power plant projects and we also do not finance coal-fired power plants that are not actively involved in the transition to sustainable energy production. Mandatory criteria for financing approval includes, but is not limited to, publication of environmental performance spanning air emissions, water consumption, ash generation, and disposal methods; and publication of safety records, subject to credit approval.

For more about how we restrict our financing of coal-fired power generation, please see the policy document.

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tobacco

Big Tobacco

Cigarettes aren't just bad for cigarette smokers—they are poisoning the environment. About 4.5 trillion cigarette butts litter the planet each year, and those stubs can take many years to decompose.

This helps explain why researchers have found waste from cigarette butts in 70% of seabirds and 30% of sea turtles. Cigarette butts are the most-littered item found on the world's beaches—more than plastic straws, cans and bottles, or grocery bags.

These are some of the reasons Bank of the West does not provide financial products or services to companies or business groups that derive a significant portion of their revenue from tobacco products. This applies to tobacco manufacturers. It also applies to upstream and downstream players in the tobacco manufacturing chain, including farmers, producers, and business-to-business tobacco distributors.

For more about how we restrict tobacco sector financing, please see the policy document.

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turtle underwater

Ocean Health

Functioning as everything from a cradle for biodiversity to a carbon sink, the ocean is absolutely vital to life on Earth. It regulates our climate, absorbs nearly one-third of human Co2 emissions, and helps provide oxygen for us to breathe. It's also essential to the global economy, with 80 percent of global trade being transported by sea at some point.

But human activity has put the ocean under tremendous stress. Pollution, acidification, and rising temperatures are among the many concerns threatening this key component of the global ecosystem.

As part of the BNP Paribas Group, Bank of the West has specific guidelines and practices in place to act as a responsible ocean steward. The BNP Paribas Group works with clients to modernize the world's shipping fleet and make it more sustainable; ensuring that high environmental standards are met in clients' fishing and aquaculture operations; evaluating land-measurements and performance indicators; financing start-ups striving to create a sustainable maritime economy; and supporting research for a better understanding of the ocean.

For more on how we are working to support a healthy ocean, please see the corporate and social responsibility document.

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palm oil production

Palm Oil Production

An edible oil derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree, palm oil is widely used in daily life. While palm oil is cheap to produce, its environmental cost is high.

About 90% of the world's oil palm trees are grown in Indonesia and Malaysia, where some companies clear-cut and burn away tropical forests to create room for oil palm plantations. This fuels climate change by contributing to carbon emissions as well as destroying CO2-absorbing forests. Deforestation also means the loss of natural habitat for vulnerable species such as the orangutan and the pygmy elephant.

Bank of the West only finances palm oil companies that encourage the development of sustainably produced palm oil. Mandatory criteria for financing approval includes: no destruction of high conservation-value forests; no destruction of ecologically or historically significant areas; no use of certain harmful pesticides; and third-party certification of responsible operations.

As part of BNP Paribas, we are also a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. This global organization sets standards for sustainable palm oil production. For more about how we restrict palm oil sector financing, please see the policy document.

palm oil production
deforested mountain

Wood Pulp Production

Wood pulp, the raw material used to create paper products, is a significant revenue source in countries across the globe. Pulp and paper account for over a third of all industrial wood traded worldwide.

But wood pulp production also has a significant environmental impact. Unsustainable operations can devastate forests, fuel climate change, and have negative effects on local communities.

As part of BNP Paribas, Bank of the West has specific policies in place to guide its financing of companies involved in the wood pulp sector. Mandatory criteria for financing approval includes: no use of fire to clear land; no use of ecologically or historically significant lands for new plantations; verification that production processes comply with local and national laws; and the use of safe and effective management plans to control potential water and air pollution.

For more about how we restrict wood pulp sector financing, please see the policy document.

deforested mountain
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WE ARE THE ONLY MAJOR BANK TO BE A MEMBER OF

Sustainable Surf

You can tell a lot from the company we keep

Our policies make us the bank of choice for some of the nation's leading outdoor retail companies, as well as a variety of environmentally and socially sustainable companies and nonprofits.

snowboarder

Purchasing carbon credits to offset the emissions generated in the filming of Burton's 'One World' film.

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urban bees

Urban Bees

Combatting the immense decline of U.S. honeybees by installing beehives on our San Francisco and Los Angeles headquarters rooftops.

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woman with a mask

In collaboration with

Helping small businesses impacted by the pandemic with our 4-part Sustainable Recovery Series.

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Diversity

We are diverse from the top down

We are proud to be led by our CEO, Nandita Bakhshi, who is among just 6% of female bank CEOs globally.

Supporting access and opportunity

In the communities we serve and among our own workforce, we support programs and projects that advance diversity and inclusion.

Community

Workforce

We earned an ‘Outstanding’ FDIC Community Reinvestment Act rating for meeting the credit and community development needs in low- to moderate-income communities. Achieved by fewer than 10% of banks.

We have helped sponsor women entrepreneurs, including many women of color through the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center.

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We are supporting the creation of 12,000 women-run businesses and more than 22,000 jobs through Grameen America.

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We are working with Ulule, the world’s largest impact crowdfunding platform, to help women entrepreneurs and impact makers bring their ideas to life.

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Ignite is an interactive career exploration program, designed to advance diverse talent into more senior roles at the bank.

In response to many women leaving the workforce during COVID-19, we launched our Returnship program with Women Back to Work to encourage women who have gaps in their employment to re-enter the working world.

Community

We earned an ‘Outstanding’ FDIC Community Reinvestment Act rating for meeting the credit and community development needs in low- to moderate-income communities. Achieved by fewer than 10% of banks.

Community

We have helped sponsor women entrepreneurs, including many women of color through the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center.

Learn More

Community

We are supporting the creation of 12,000 women-run businesses and more than 22,000 jobs through Grameen America.

Learn More

Community

We are working with Ulule, the world’s largest impact crowdfunding platform, to help women entrepreneurs and impact makers bring their ideas to life.

Learn More

Workforce

Ignite is an interactive career exploration program, designed to advance diverse talent into more senior roles at the bank.

Workforce

In response to many women leaving the workforce during COVID-19, we launched our Returnship program with Women Back to Workto encourage women who have gaps in their employment to re-enter the working world.

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GLOBAL IMPACT

The bank for a changing world

BNP Paribas

As part of BNP Paribas, the 9th largest bank on the planet, Bank of the West is able to leverage the resources and expertise of professionals in 68 countries. BNP Paribas offers a unique global perspective into shifting markets unlike U.S.-based and U.S.-focused banks.

BNP Paribas has people on the ground handling transactions everywhere it does business, with an international presence far more than just correspondent offices or ATMs. With access to BNP Paribas' global network, Bank of the West's clients can take advantage of BNP Paribas' worldwide expertise.

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We’re at the intersection of money and sustainability

Means & Matters is the destination for conscientious consumers and business leaders interested in how better banking and better business can come together for a better world. We believe what humans finance today will define tomorrow, and that everyone has a role to play in building a truly sustainable society.

4 Groups Financially Empowering Women for the Good of the Planet

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How Climate Change Is Costing Your Company

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