Enhance our operations and capabilities to meet customer and community needs in the transition to a low-carbon future.

One of the most important ways we can back our colleagues, customers, and communities is to contribute to a sustainable future and act to protect the environment on which all life depends. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, and we are committed to net zero emissions by 2035.

Advance Climate Solutions Goals:

  • Commit to net-zero emissions by 2035 in alignment with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
  • Enhance the management of climate-related risks and opportunities across our business
  • Pilot low-carbon product innovations, including carbon tracking and offset solutions, by the end of 2022
  • Provide at least $10 million to support initiatives, partnerships, and programs that address the adverse effects of climate change and pollution on communities from 2021 through 2025
  • Engage our colleagues in sustainability initiatives through the Green2Gether program
  1. CarbonNeutral® certification is granted to businesses or organizations that have reduced their carbon emissions to net zero in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol.

2020-2021 Highlights

  • Committed to net-zero emissions by 2035 in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and joined the Business Ambition for 1.5oC and UN Race to Zero Campaign
  • Maintained carbon neutral operations and powered by 100% renewable electricity since 2018 1
  • Sourced 95% of direct marketing, customer communications, and office paper from certified responsibly managed forests.
  • Became a formal TCFD Supporter and conducted a climate risk scenario analysis based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations on physical and transition risks related to climate change.

Progress on Our 2025 Operational Environmental Goals

In 2019, we set environmental goals for 2025 that cover energy and water use, waste generation, green building certifications, phaseout of single-use plastics, and sourcing paper responsibly.

Energy & Emissions
Remain carbon neutral for our operations 1
Continue to power our operations with 100% renewable electricity
Target: 100%
Reduce energy use by 35% across our managed facilities compared to 2011. 2
Target: 35%
Reduce waste generated from our managed facilities by 10% per colleague compared to 2019. 2
Target: 10%
Divert 60% of office waste generated from our managed facilities away from landfills. 2
On Track
Target: 60%
Achieve zero waste certification for our U.S. headquarters
On Track
  • Diverted 41% of waste generated from landfills
Reduce water use from our managed facilities by 10% per colleague compared to 2019. 2
Target: 10%
Eliminate single-use plastics across our operations

To ensure we followed best practices to support health and safety during the pandemic, we temporarily suspended tracking performance against our single-use plastic goal across our operations.

Source 100% of our direct marketing, customer communications and office paper from certified sustainably managed forests
On Track
Target: 100%
Green Building
Achieve Green Building certifications for 60% of our operations 3
On Track
Target: 60%
  1. Achieved carbon neutral operations for Scope 1 (direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by American Express), Scope 2 (indirect location-based and market-based emissions), and Scope 3 (waste and employee business travel, including third-party air, rail, and rental cars) emissions through renewable energy credits, carbon offsets, and reduced GHG emissions. Operations include all our managed facilities, field sites, and data centers. Managed facilities are individual properties operationally managed by our global real estate team and housing critical business functions. Field sites are individual properties that are not operationally managed by our global real estate team but directly by our business units. They are typically smaller sites, less than 30,000 square feet (including airport lounges, foreign exchange kiosks, and sales offices) that are owned or leased by American Express.
  2. Measurement is based only on managed facilities where metered and/or measured data is available; per colleague goals based on number of employees assigned in such managed facilities. Reduction in energy, water, and waste usage is partially due to reduced overall demand related to COVID-19 work-from-home arrangements.
  3. Green building certified percentage is represented by the total square footage of leased or owned facilities actively occupied by American Express (excluding parking lot square footage) certified under a global or locally recognized third-party environmental building rating system as meeting their performance criteria (LEED, BREEAM, NABERS,and GreenMark).

Low-Carbon Product Innovations

In 2021, we announced a goal to pilot low-carbon product innovations, including new carbon tracking and offset solutions by the end of 2022.

  • In 2019, we launched the first American Express Card manufactured from reclaimed marine plastics collected from oceans and coasts.
  • American Express gives new life to old Cards by enabling US Card Members to return Cards for recycling. Since 2019, we’ve recycled more than 1.3 million cards. 1
  1. The total amount of Cards recycled included returned expired or non-working Cards, and Cards sent back by non-delivered mail through 2021.
For more information on our Advance Climate Solutions goals and initiatives, refer to our 2021-2022 ESG Report.