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Citi Creates Sustainability Chief as CEO Seeks Radical Action

Jenny Surane

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. promoted an executive to the new role of chief sustainability officer as CEO Michael Corbat called on world leaders to take “more radical action” when it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change.

Val Smith will report to Ed Skyler, executive vice president of global public affairs, according to a bank spokeswoman. Corbat, the chief executive officer, said Wednesday at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York that governments should create incentives for companies to adopt sustainable practices rather than relying on punishments like carbon tariffs.

Citigroup has tried to position itself as a leader in the climate-change movement. It was the first major U.S. bank to support United Nations-backed guidelines for responsible banking, and it worked with other firms this year to develop the Poseidon Principles, which integrate climate considerations into lending decisions for the shipping industry. In 2015, the bank also pledged to reduce lending to coal-mining companies.

“It’s the tone from the top and we’re driving it and we’re putting pronouncements and setting markers out there, and the rest of the organization follows us,” Corbat said at the conference on Wednesday. “We don’t know exactly how we’re going to get there but we’re going to figure it out.”

Michael R. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jenny Surane in New York at jsurane4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Dan Reichl, Steve Dickson

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