May 19, 2020 / 2:28 PM / 18 days ago

Citigroup launches new ESG investment banking group

FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc (C.N) said on Tuesday that is launching a new business unit within its corporate and investment bank dedicated to environmental sustainability to strengthen its commitment to an area that has grown increasingly important to corporate clients and investors.

The New York-based company said its Sustainability & Corporate Transitions group will be led by Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory (BCMA) Chief Strategy Officer Bridget Fawcett and Keith Tuffley, who has lead the unit’s sustainability efforts so far.

“The current Covid crisis will elevate the importance of ESG to our clients, as they increasingly focus on more sustainable and resilient strategies and on recovery plans that help drive the just transition to a net-zero emissions future,” global BCMA heads Tyler Dickson and Manolo Falcó said in a memo to bankers sent on Tuesday.

Companies have become more focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in recent years as activists and investors put pressure on them and companies that put these considerations at the forefront are rewarded.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said in a February report the ESG Leaders 50 index has for the past two years outperformed the corresponding benchmark index.

“The sustainability revolution is accelerating, and our corporate clients are facing new challenges, risks and opportunities,” Dickson said in a statement.

“With this shift, we see an opportunity and need in BCMA to better deliver insights, trusted advice, innovative financing and holistic solutions to support their strategies in driving towards more sustainable and resilient business models.”

The company said the division will also establish a Global Sustainability Client Council to advise clients on sustainability transitions across coverage areas and a separate advisory group with external subject matter experts.

The new group will also work with other business lines in the institutional clients group and the consumer bank.

Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Will Dunham

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