Innovation Where it is Least Expected

Climate First Bank

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

Climate First Bank is much like everyone's normal community bank, they hold money, invest, and give out loans. The thing that makes them different from almost every other bank is that they recognize everyone has to play a part in limiting the impact of global warming. They conduct their business in a way to improve the Earth's atmospheric conditions, and create a community that believes in these ideals as much as they do.

Author

Hudson Calfee

Hudson Calfee

School

University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee

Professor

Emily Landry

Emily Landry

Innovation

Climate First Bank has committed itself to improve the environment in a multitude of ways. Whether it be their pledge to have zero net emissions from the day they opened, or their pledge to only invest their time and money into organizations that are doing good by the environment.

Climate First not only has a pledge to have zero emissions, but they also help people and companies improve their net emissions. They have created personalized loan plans for people intending to build solar power or other sustainable projects. For business, they also have similar personalized plans, but along side this they advise them throughout their business life in how to maintain a eco-friendly business model. The bank has also committed to give 1% of gross sales to combat climate change.

Alongside these plans and mentorship, they are joining and helping establish groups committed to sustainable development in the state of Florida as well as the world. These communities focus on sustainable development and growing the international knowledge of climate change and sustainability. The leaders of the bank thought who better to learn and draw inspiration on how to handle money that is sustainably responsible than a bank, which handles the majority of money in the world.

Innovation Where it is Least Expected

Inspiration

The leaders at Climate First Bank drew a ton of inspiration from the book Drawdown by Paul Hawken. Holly Bridwell, the Marketing Director of Climate First even goes as far to say they used the initiatives in the book to "to develop banking programs around [them]" These initiatives are directly related to the state of Florida, and what people can do to reduce green house gas effects.

Holly Bridwell may not have been one of the founders of the community, but she still is a leader in the organization. As the Marketing Director, she is a huge part of what happens at Climate First Bank. Holly is not the typical bank worker. Holly joined the bank after gaining her masters from the University of Florida. she joined Climate First Bank because of the unique opportunities that banking could provide to inform people about sustainability. Banking has allowed her and her colleagues to reach many people because "everyone needs a place to keep their money and loans for houses, cars and things like that." These were unique i banking which is really what inspired Holy to join the company. Holly is very passionate in protecting the environment and climate change, so accepting a job from Climate First Bank was almost a no brainer.

Overall impact

The innovation overall helps improve the environment with an emphasis on the environment of Florida. The major idea is developing sustainable energy sources around the area. They do this by investing in people and companies who are wanting to be more sustainable. By helping people become more sustainable, they are creating a community of sustainable businesses and individuals. This is evidenced by the vast number of organizations and non-profits that seek help and knowledge from Climate First Bank. Climate First Bank is doing something very special by creating a society of individuals who sincerely care about the environment.

The hope is that this could spark a change in the banking world in the log run. Not only does Climate First Bank hope to spark a change in the banking world, but they are hoping that many other types of organizations begin to see the necessity of protecting the environment. They have the idea that everyone needs to participate in righting the wrongs done to the environment for hundreds of years. One person or one company can not make all of the difference. They are beginning to see companies and people invest in more sustainable techniques thanks to their financial plans, but it still has not been enough. The climate is still worsening and many people will still suffer from the floods fires, and extreme heat until everyone buys into the system like Climate First Bank and do their part to protect our lovely ecosystem.

Business benefit

The ideas of Climate First Bank don't just affect the environment and associates of the bank, it directly affects the lives of the employees. It has allowed the bank to choose who and what they stand for. They can refuse to fund someone because they don't align with their values. This has allowed for them to truly make an impact on the lives of people that believe the Earth needs help and that is the responsibility of all her residents. This is what truly sets Climate First apart from just every other bank. It is standing true to their values. They mainly can do this because of the special plans they have to promote sustainability. Almost everything this bank does ties back to sustainability which is truly incredible.

The trust and drive has also helped in gaining new business. People see the passion and drive that Climate First has towards the environment, and it inspires people to do the same. The bank has helped many people build sustainable and efficient developments. Whether it be energy or even building more sustainable houses, Climate First plants ideas into a multitude of different areas. Thanks to this, Climate First's client base continues to grow as more people hear the energy and cost efficient solutions they have come up with.

Social and environmental benefit

The ideas of the bank directly affect individuals who want to live their lives more sustainably. The plans they have developed make being more sustainable easier and more cost effective. With Climate First Bank, people don't have to use the fact that being sustainable is too expensive as an excuse. Thanks to this bank, sustainability is becoming much easier for many people within the southeast.

These innovations also directly affect the environment. Since more people are able to attain sustainable energy, the overall carbon emissions in their area will go down. The goal is to have enough sustainable energy sources to have a positive impact on climate change. Climate is a major focal point within this company, they even go as far to name part of their bank after climate. They understand that climate is taking a downward spiral and every person and business is to blame. They are attempting to reverse hundreds of years of climate change within their area. Finance is generally seen as a necessity not really a gear for good. Well, now thanks to Climate First Bank, we may begin to see more sustainable banks pop up all over the country and world.

Interview

Holly Bridwell, Marketing Director

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Climate First Bank

Climate First Bank

Saint Petersburg, FL, US

Business Website: https://www.climatefirstbank.com/

Year Founded: 2020

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Climate First Bank is a bank that functions almost entirely like a normal bank, there is one major difference between them and other private banking corporations. The thing that sets them apart is their commitment to protecting the environment. This means that they don't just excel at handling money, but they also do their very best to keep Florida and the people of Florida in better living conditions for years to come.