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MetLife Invests $500 Million In Sustainability

Photo Courtesy Science in HD

Add MetLife to the list of corporate heavyweights looking to make a big, positive impact on the environment and society.

In June, the New York-based insurance and financial giant said it will originate $500 million in new impact investments by 2030, with one-quarter of the money earmarked towards initiatives that will benefit the environment. MetLife will also focus heavily on improving the financial lives of marginalized and underserved people by promoting racial and gender equity in low-income and ethnically diverse communities.

The company advanced 11 new environmental goals as part of the initiative. It committed to reducing its location-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an additional 30 percent between 2019 and 2030. It also plans to originate $20 billion in new sustainability investments by 2030, which will likely include renewable energy, LEED-certified buildings, and green bonds.

The latest developments continue a years-long effort by MetLife to operate more sustainably. Its operations have been carbon neutral since 2016, and it has invested about $29 billion in projects like energy-efficient real estate and renewable energy.

Photo Courtesy American Public Power Association

Globally, 28 percent of MetLife’s corporate offices — which represent more than 4.2 million square feet of space — are now certified by the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program. Ten of these offices have achieved LEED Platinum certification, which is the highest level of distinction awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“We believe sustainability must be central to our business strategy and a guiding force behind every aspect of our operations,” said MetLife Chief Sustainability Officer Jon Richter.

The company’s new milestones and initiatives were unveiled in its latest Sustainability Report, released on June 22. In addition to addressing MetLife’s sustainability program, the report highlights its commitment to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace and society.

Last year MetLife became the first U.S.-based insurer to sign the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, which align with the company’s plans to close gender gaps in the areas of leadership, workplace, marketplace, and community.

Photo Courtesy Christina @ wocintechchat.com

“As a global insurer and purpose-driven company, we strive to create a more confident and sustainable future for all of our stakeholders,” said MetLife President and CEO Michel Khalaf. “We are strengthening our commitments to the environment and climate, equity and inclusivity, health and well-being, and economic growth for disadvantaged communities.”

The following are some of the 2020 milestones MetLife highlights in its Sustainability Report:

  • It dedicated $74 billion of its portfolio to responsible investments that generate positive social and environmental impacts and set 11 new environmental goals to meaningfully reduce its footprint by 2030.
  • To advance gender and racial equity, MetLife now has its Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer report directly to the CEO.
  • At the end of 2020, women represented 52 percent of MetLife’s workforce, 33 percent of its Board of Directors, 30 percent of its Executive Group, and 42 percent of managers. The company has an estimated fair value of $100 million in impact investments that support diverse communities and racial equity.
  • The MetLife Foundation is closing in on $1 billion in grants since its founding in 1976, including $25 million to help communities respond to and recover from COVID-19. Its employee base volunteered 60,000 hours in 2020.
  • In 2020 it became the first U.S.-based insurer to join the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), which is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.
  • Through premium credits and contributions, MetLife and its Foundation provided more than $250 million of relief to help people around the world cope with the impact of the COVID19 pandemic.
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