The World Sustains Us All – Here’s How We’re Sustaining It

We know that one of the most significant ways we can serve you — our customers and stakeholders — is to do our part to protect and sustain the planet we share. This includes not only helping to preserve natural resources for future generations, but limiting the environmental impact of our business operations.

 

 

 

 

 

We focus on three main action areas: building a clean, efficient enterprise; creating responsible products; and encouraging our colleagues to get involved.

Building a clean efficient enterprise 

We aim to minimize the effects our operations have on the physical environment and our climate. To that end, we have had a long-standing focus on increasing energy efficiency, promoting renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year, we committed to achieving science-based targets for absolute, aggregate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. These have been set by using a science-based target-setting method recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to avoid the most significant effects of climate change. 

American Express Environmental Targets

Green Building Certification

  • 40% of our global real estate portfolio to be certified under a green building standard by 2018. (Surpassed: more than 45% as of 2017)

GHG Emissions 

  • 100% of our employee business travel to be carbon neutral by 2020. (Achieved)
  • 31% reduction of GHG emissions for scope 1 & 2 from 2011 baseline by 2021. (Achieved)
  • 85% reduction of GHG emissions for scope 1 & 2 from 2011 baseline by 2040. (50% as of 2017)

Renewable Energy

  • 100% of electricity procured from renewable energy sources for our U.S. data centers and our global headquarters by 2021. (Achieved)
  • 100% of electricity procured from renewable energy sources for our U.S. operations by 2040. (88% as of 2017)

Energy Efficiency

  • 25% increase in energy efficiency for our facilities from 2011 to 2018. (Surpassed: 27% as of 2017)

The role of clean power and green data centers

Data centers are crucial to our ability to deliver the products and services our customers rely on. As our business services expand, so do our needs for data storage—but that takes energy. To maintain the environmental milestones we’ve already achieved and reach our new goals, we’re constantly investing in ways to make more efficient use of energy through renewable sources, offsets, and smarter buildings. As a result:

 

  • Our U.S. data centers offset 100% of their electricity consumption through the purchase of renewable energy.
  • Our newest Information Processing Center in North Carolina is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certified; it incorporates both solar and thermal energy.
  • Our Information Processing Center in Arizona is EPA Energy Star certified, consuming 35 percent less energy and generating 35 percent fewer carbon emissions than similar buildings in the U.S.


a safe, healthy and efficient workplace

We make sure our workplaces are sustainable, too. We use environmentally responsible and resource-efficient processes and materials in our buildings. If we need to renovate or undertake new construction, we aim to meet LEED or other green building certifications. In fact, over 50 percent of our global square footage is green building certified.

Our flexible workplace program, BlueWork, provides colleagues with the tools to work from home more and travel less, and reduces our carbon footprint through the use of sustainable furniture and construction materials.

We also make it a priority to supply our offices with environmentally-friendly paper, electronics and other commodities. 

Creating responsible products

We recognize that many of our customers want to reduce their own environmental impact. We make it easier for them to do so by providing online alternatives to paper-based account information and documents. We also encourage the use of paperless statements and electronic payments. Today 47 percent of Card Member statements are paperless, and 88 percent of Card Member payments are electronic.

Engaging our colleagues

Our colleagues play a crucial role in our sustainability efforts. Through our Green2Gether Teams, thousands get involved every day, designing and leading environmental initiatives tailored to their workplaces and all of our communities.

In 2017 more than 20,000 colleagues participated in our Green2Gether activities during Earth Month—resulting in, among other things, the planting of over 18,000 trees.

To learn more about our sustainability efforts, download our environmental data table, CSR report and CDP report 

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