New York’s Ponce Financial Group has established an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) committee to oversee and improve the company’s responsible investment initiatives.
Its first act has been to adopt an ESG charter and policy to inform and direct the organization’s approach to ESG issues, starting with its energy usage.
In a statement, the company said it would assess its energy infrastructure “to develop greener and greater results while optimizing cost-saving measures”. In addition, Ponce will undertake an “energy audit” to address any gaps in its approach.
The new ESG committee is made up of executive management team members and reports to Ponce’s board of directors. It is led by Frank Perez, chief investor relations officer.
The committee is currently conducting an ESG “materiality assessment” to assess how the group can adapt its strategy to meet its ESG priorities.
Carlos Naudon, president and CEO, said the new approach to ESG would benefit Ponce’s strategy, and risk management, as well as improving “stakeholder loyalty”.
“We firmly believe that the ESG initiative will enhance our ability to evaluate opportunities and risks over the short and long term,” he said. “We are keenly aware that the populations we serve – underbanked and underserved – are increasingly adversely impacted by climate change and social economic developments.”
Perez added that the work of the committee would “generate meaningful goals for our company and all of its employees”.
Separately, New Jersey-based Valley National Bank has partnered with the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) to offer up to a $100 million in loans supporting ESG initiatives such as lower carbon emissions and green building practices.
The partnership’s first loan was finalized on August 9, lending $1.9 million to finance a 12-unit apartment block in Geneva, New York.
Christopher Coiley, head of Valley Bank’s Commercial Real Estate Lending Group, said CPC was “the perfect partner” to ensure the bank can support its communities sustainably.
“We’ll continue to work with aspiring and innovative entrepreneurs who are making a positive impact on the local community and helping us create a more sustainable future for everyone,” Coiley added.
CPC president Sadie McKeown added: “With such a prevalent influence over the economics and condition of our housing stock, the lending industry has a tremendous opportunity to take the lead in advancing practices and policies that improve the financial and physical quality and sustainability of the buildings and communities in which we live and work.”