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Amalgamated is America's socially responsible bank. For the last 97 years, it has empowered organizations and individuals to advance positive social change. Founded in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, Amalgamated is headquartered in New York and is the largest B Corporation bank. In recent years, Amalgamated has partnered with Invesco, enabling the bank to launch a suite of socially responsible products to provide clients with purposeful, distinct, and efficient investment ESG options to grow and advance their mission. These products address social equity, gender equity, global transition solutions, and more. On the heels of recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, Amalgamated announced that it will cover travel expenses for “employees and their dependents who need to travel out of state to access reproductive health care.” In this interview, SVP Director of ESG Investments at Amalgamated Cynthia Dalagelis discusses her vision for ESG at the bank and the wider financial sector.

1. Why do you believe in championing ESG?

I truly believe that in the near future, ESG will be the new measuring stick by which companies are judged during due diligence. There are a host of factors that affect the profitability of a company and ESG actually takes all of those factors into consideration. The shift here is that we are now looking at environmental and social factors to determine the resilience of a business in the same way we would look at its bottom line. These extended factors affect final outcomes; the work of ESG is to tie all of these factors together.

2. What specific ESG practices do you promote at Amalgamated Bank?

We have a diverse set of programs internally at Amalgamated that are targeted to improve our ESG outcomes and approach. We host a set of ESG and sustainable institutional investment products that are targeted to invest in impactful businesses, these products help non-profits, foundations, UHNW and pension funds allocate capital towards strategies that promote capital preservation and growth in a values-driven way. We also have a strong ESG forward-lending practice that favors solar projects, renewables and affordable housing among high-impact efforts. We also have internal employee working groups that focus on LGBTQ, community development and financial literacy in the communities we serve. We prioritize diversity and inclusion across the bank. Amalgamated Bank is proud to be a B Corp and publicly-traded bank led by a woman, a fact that’s critical to highlight.

3. Do you believe ESG is tied with banks' bottom line?

Absolutely. This is a transition that is happening as we speak and I believe that soon the two will be deeply intertwined. We see how Europe has already led the way in prioritizing the relationship between ESG integration and the financial system. We know that ESG analysis from a risk perspective is already a strong indicator of resilience in various climate and environmental scenarios.

4. How do you envision the role of ESG changing in banking over the next few years?

I believe that ESG practices and policies will soon become deeply embedded in our financial system, including banks. ESG has real potential to alter our system and how we prioritize all aspects of our operations. Amalgamated Bank deeply considers who we partner with, who we lend to, and what type of investments we will or will not support. For example, we do not support, lend to, or invest in fossil fuel companies, private prisons, weapons manufacturers, or European businesses that aren’t compliant with the UN Global Compact. In addition, we just released our 2021 CRS report that shows a great deal of transparency around all of our efforts towards being America's most socially responsible bank.

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