For a Conscious Capitalism discussion regarding climate change, Eastern Bank executives came prepared with actions and measurements by individuals and organizations to help reduce the impact on climate change.
“Eastern has always been environmentally conscious,” says Tom Dunn, Eastern Bank’s director of general services. “When we’ve undertaken capital projects, we’ve always tried to do them responsibly.”
Beyond big projects, Eastern focuses on practical everyday steps, people can take – from the office to their own homes. Keeping track of waste reduction, sustainable food choices and other options – including purchases that were avoided or earth-friendly actions. Every decision to reuse rather than ‘buy new’ can help, Dunn adds, the key thing is to get started.
A few examples he cited at the corporate level are a $10 million commitment to finance solar energy projects in Massachusetts. The bank is also participating in a statewide program to provides loans for residential energy efficiency projects and to help low-income households to afford heating oil and gas bills.
Eastern Bank uses 100% renewable energy at offices and branches through the use of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates that support, and create incentives for, solar power.
Other efforts – large and small – add up to help the company’s customers and the bottom-line of their bank. Eastern Bank is the largest, and oldest, mutually owned bank, meaning that accountholders are its shareholders, so savings go right to the bottom-line, not paid out as profits to investors.
Dunn identified a series of other sustainability initiatives:
In 2017, Eastern retained CERES, a Boston-based non-profit that provides business advisory services in the area of sustainability. It amplified efforts by Wainwright Bank, which Eastern acquired five years earlier, in the areas of sustainable and socially conscious operations. Those community efforts have grown with the company.
Eastern Bank has about $11 billion in assets and more than 120 offices in eastern Massachusetts, coastal Rhode Island and New Hampshire as of year-end 2019.