More than four years after it shuttered its Chinese retail banking operations, Bank of America's charity arm is now funding a conservation program in China.
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation and The Nature Conservancy announced a partnership with the Chinese government and local communities to launch a pilot project for a new approach to land management and conservation in China. Bank of America is providing USD1 million in seed funding to support development of a land trust reserve model of conservation whereby qualified entities can hold long-term contracts to manage forests for the benefit of nature and local communities.
The bank will provide an additional USD1 million to support innovative forest conservation and carbon pricing demonstration projects in Brazil and Indonesia, building on a 20-year relationship between Bank of America Merrill Lynch and The Nature Conservancy.
Support from Bank of America Merrill Lynch to further forest conservation and help drive environmentally sustainable economic development opportunities is reportedly part of the company's 10-year, USD20 billion environmental business initiative to address climate change through lending, investing, products and services, philanthropy and its own operations.
The Conservancy will work with local Chinese partners to explore the possibility of creating land trust reserves that will manage forests in Sichuan Province adjacent to existing nature reserves in cooperation with local governments.
At the beginning of 2006, Bank of America shut its one retail banking branch in China. The bank said at the time that it needs to fulfill its pledge to its then-new partner China Construction Bank not to have competing businesses. In 2005, Bank of America acquired a 9% stake in the China Construction Bank, China's second-largest commercial bank, for USD3 billion.