American Express (NYSE: AXP) today released its 2021-2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report. The report highlights the company’s progress on its ESG strategy and roadmap announced last year to advance its goals across three core pillars: Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I); Advance Climate Solutions; and Build Financial Confidence.
“Since announcing our ESG framework in 2020, we have solidified our strategy by developing a clear roadmap to translate our objectives into action and have been rapidly executing on our priorities,” said Stephen J. Squeri, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “I am exceptionally proud of what we have achieved to date on our ESG strategy, thanks to the dedication of our colleagues around the world who bring our company’s purpose to life. We will continue to build on our momentum to back our colleagues, customers and communities and make a positive impact in people’s lives.”
Key milestones detailed in the report include:
Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Expanding the DE&I Action Plan: American Express exceeded $1 billion in spending toward its DE&I Action Plan announced in October 2020, including increased supplier spending with underrepresented-owned suppliers, expanding access to capital and financial education and partnering with non-profit organizations focused on promoting equality, among other DE&I initiatives. To build on this momentum, the company has established a new goal to invest an additional $3 billion toward DE&I initiatives globally through 2025, bringing its total projected investment to $4 billion. The company’s cumulative spend with underrepresented-owned suppliers through 2025 is expected to comprise a significant portion of the projected investment.
- Maintaining 100% Pay Equity & Providing Transparency: For the second consecutive year, American Express maintained 100% pay equity across genders globally, and across races and ethnicities in the U.S., and published comprehensive disclosures on the diversity representation among its global colleague base. The disclosures in this year’s report include new details about the hiring, promotion and retention of colleagues in the U.S. broken down by race and ethnicity.
- Advancing Equal Opportunity in Communities: The company increased participation of members of underrepresented groups in its Leadership Academy for nonprofit leaders in the U.S. and provided more than $14 million since late 2020 in grants to nonprofit organizations, with a new Backing Equal Futures grant category.
Advancing Climate Solutions
- Moving to Net Zero: Building on its standing as a CarbonNeutral® company powered by 100% renewable electricity across its global operations1, and its commitment to net-zero emissions by 2035 in alignment with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)2, the company announced that it has spent more than $150 million since 2019 on the development of facilities that have received green building certification.
- Enhancing Climate-Related Disclosures and Risk Management: To help manage climate-related risks, American Express became a formal supporter of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and incorporated ESG risk into the company’s Enterprise Risk Management framework.
- Developing Low-Carbon Solutions: During Earth Month 2022, American Express announced its goal to have the vast majority of plastic cards issued by American Express be made of at least 70% recycled or reclaimed plastic by the end of 2024 and introduced new digital tools to help corporate clients better understand and manage their carbon footprint.
- Backing Low Carbon Communities: The company pledged more than $3 million in grants toward its $10 million philanthropic goal to back low-carbon communities by 2025 in partnership with American Forests, C40 Cities, Earthwatch Institute, National Park Foundation, and Save the Children U.K.
Building Financial Confidence
- Supporting Small Business Worldwide: In 2021, American Express held its 12th annual Small Business Saturday event, which generated an all-time high of $23.3 billion in estimated consumer spending at small businesses in the U.S.3, and an estimated £598 million in the U.K.4, both contributing toward the company’s goal to drive $100 billion in consumer spending at small businesses through 2025.
- “Backing Small”: American Express launched a new community giving category, “Backing Small,” bringing together its grant programs to build financial confidence and support small businesses. The company has already pledged $17 million through 2024 to these programs that support economically vulnerable or underrepresented small business owners, such as the Coalition to Back Black Businesses, Backing Historic Small Restaurants, and Inclusive Backing in partnership with Main Street America. It also expanded its partnership with youth development organization JA Worldwide to bring financial literacy to young people in 11 countries worldwide.
- Investing in Communities: Through the company’s Center for Community Development (CCD), American Express has underwritten $265 million in community development loans and investments in 2021 that supported small business needs, job creation and retention, and the development of more than 1,900 units of affordable housing in the U.S.
Sustainable Financing and ESG Reporting Frameworks
In May 2022, American Express issued its inaugural $1 billion ESG bond. American Express intends that an amount equivalent to the net proceeds of the ESG Bond will be allocated toward new and existing Green and Social projects over the next two years.
American Express’ ESG Report is mapped to the following voluntary reporting standards and frameworks: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards Core Option, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
To view the 2021-2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report and learn more about American Express’ ESG strategy, visit https://go.amex/esg.
ABOUT AMERICAN EXPRESS
American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with on facebook.com/americanexpress, instagram.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.
Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: personal cards, business cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, Accertify, Kabbage, Resy, corporate card, business travel, diversity and inclusion, corporate sustainability, and Environmental, Social, and Governance reports.
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This release includes forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contain words such as “expect,” “goal,” “commit,” “plan,” “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “likely,” and similar expressions. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including those described in the 2021-2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report and American Express’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. American Express undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.
Source: American Express Company
1 Achieved carbon neutral operations for Scope 1 (direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by American Express), Scope 2 (indirect 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. For more detailed data on our consumption of electricity, renewable energy, and Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, please see the Environmental Performance Data Summary and Third-Party Verification Statement in the Supporting Data: Our Commitment to Transparency section of the ESG Report.
2 American Express is following the methodology of the SBTi for our commitment to net zero emissions by 2035, which covers all Scope 1 and 2 emissions and a minimum of two-thirds of total Scope 3 emissions in conformance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard.
3 The American Express 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey was conducted by Teneo on behalf of American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The study is a nationally representative sample of 2,426 U.S. adults 18 years of age or older. The sample was collected using an email invitation and an online survey. The study gathered self-reported data and does not reflect actual receipts or sales. It was conducted anonymously on November 28, 2021. The survey has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.0%, at the 95% level of confidence. Projections are based on the current U.S. Census estimates of the U.S. adult population, age 18 years and over.
4 Estimated spend based on data collected from 4000 UK adults polled by Opinium between 5pm on Saturday 4 December 2021 and 10pm on Sunday 5 December 2021. The £598 million figure for national spending calculated using ONS estimation of the UK adult population based on self-reported shopper estimates of spend and does not reflect actual receipts or sales.
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Leah M. Gerstner, Leah.M.Gerstner@aexp.com, +1.212.640.3174