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Goldman Sachs Earth Day Impact Report Shows Change Isn’t Easy

Emily Chasan

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is finding that it’s not easy being green.

In its annual sustainability report, released Monday, the Wall Street firm reported that dedicated impact investing and environmental, social and governance assets under management rose to $17 billion at the end of 2018, from $11.3 billion a year earlier. Goldman also became the first bank to publish its report in line with Sustainability Accounting Standards Board metrics sought by investors to highlight material environmental issues in the business.

But the report also showed that making progress is challenging. While Goldman has increased investment in green operations to $1.2 billion in 2018 from $701 million in 2017, it had more trouble gaining energy efficiency and managing carbon emissions. Employees seemed to leave their offices more often or go farther afield, with emissions from business travel rising 37 percent from two years earlier.

With workers moving to new buildings in the U.K. and India, progress on Goldman’s energy-efficiency goal backslid to just a 10 percent reduction from 2015 levels, down from 12 percent in 2017. Water-reduction progress also went backward, and the firm disposed of more e-waste. But with the new properties in London and Bengaluru designed to some of the highest green-building standards, the bank is likely to improve again this year.

Goldman has also been pushing to increase staff diversity. Women represented 38.7 percent of the company’s workforce last year. That was up slightly, from 37.8 percent in 2017. The percentage of female executives, senior officials and managers climbed to 23 percent from 21.6 percent, and black employees rose to 6.2 percent of the total staff from 5.4 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Chasan in New York at echasan1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Janet Paskin at jpaskin@bloomberg.net, Daniel Taub, Josh Friedman

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