Union Bank Environmental Sustainability

Invest in the Environment

At Union Bank our commitment to the environment extends to our culture and operations. We believe caring for our environment is not only a civic responsibility but also an essential part of a good business strategy. Our environmental sustainability goal is to protect and preserve the environment within the scope of our business reach.

Operating sustainability

Our buildings

At Union Bank we understand the importance of sustainable buildings in our operations. In our new construction and remodels where possible, we implement sustainability-oriented improvements.

Energy Star

Fifty-two Union Bank retail branches throughout California and Washington were awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ENERGY STAR designation in 2015, the national mark of excellence in energy performance. Union Bank participated in the 2015 Energy Star National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings, a contest that represents excellence in energy performance. The San Clemente Branch earned the great honor of Top Energy Saver Bank Branch for reducing energy usage by the most of any bank branch in the contest nationwide. Eight additional branches were also recognized by the EPA for exceeding the Agency’s 20 percent energy savings goal. 

LEED certification

The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) GOLD certification to our San Francisco and San Diego headquarters buildings. LEED recognizes sustainability in the design, operation, and livability of buildings. LEED certification reflects both environmental and financial benefits, including: lower operating costs, less waste sent to landfills, energy and water conservation, increased health and safety for occupants, and a reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable building operations

We believe in operating our buildings in a sustainable manner. We have upgraded our signage to energy-efficient LEDs and are in the process of other lighting upgrades, such as using energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs and installing motion sensors. We have implemented a company wide "green cleaning" program using nontoxic chemicals. To conserve water, we are implementing various projects, including:

  • Waterless and low-water use urinals
  • Low-flow toilets
  • Sensor-automated faucets
  • Drip irrigation
  • Drought-tolerant landscaping

We are evaluating sustainable operation processes on an organization-wide scale, working hard to continually improve our building operations.

Conserving our valuable resources 

Resource conservation

At Union Bank we are committed to helping to create a healthier world. We actively track our resource consumption and continually look for ways to reduce our use. Here are some of the many ways in which we work to positively impact the environment. 

Energy conservation

Electricity usage accounts for close to 50% of our carbon footprint. As such, we have focused on reducing our electricity usage within the bank by conducting energy audits on our largest buildings and implementing the results that drive the most energy savings including:

  • Installing building management systems
  • Installing more efficient HVAC units
  • Upgrading building chiller units

Water conservation

We conserve water by:

  • Installing ‘smart watering systems’ that reduce the amount of watering required for landscaping
  • Upgrading evaporative cooling towers
  • Assessing landscape requirements

Waste minimization 

We have several initiatives to help mitigate the amount of waste we create including:

  • A comprehensive waste management program to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills
  • An electronic waste program that prioritizes recycling or reusing electronic equipment
  • A document retention and destruction policy to ensure nearly all of the paper used in the course of our business is recycled
  • Giving reusable travel mugs to our employees
  • Reducing internal paper reports and the elimination of mail courier deliveries
  • Adopting paperless document transmission and storage systems
  • Offering our customers electronic statement-only accounts, online banking, online statements, and remote deposit services

Ways to bank green

Union Bank® has a strong commitment to environmental conservation and takes pride in developing programs that encourage our customers and communities to adopt sustainable practices. There are a number of ways to bank green with Union Bank, whether you have a Consumer or Commercial Account. 

Consumer Accounts

Mobile Banking: Do your banking wherever you are, as long as you have a mobile phone with a web browser and internet access.There are so many ways you can bank with just your smart phone: access your accounts on the go, deposit checks directly from your Smart Phone or tablet with Mobile Check Deposit, send money from your mobile device using only your recipient’s email address or phone number with Send Money, and perform various banking tasks with Union Bank Text Banking.

Online Banking and Online Bill Pay: Save time, stamps, and hassle with online banking and bill pay. Enroll instantly with your ATM/debit card and PIN.

Online Statements: Sign up today to receive your statements online and save paper, save trees.

Commercial Accounts

Payroll Direct Deposit: Save paper and deposit payroll directly into your employees' bank accounts without writing checks. Your employees have timely access to funds, and your business benefits from reduced check-related fraud and costs.

Remote Deposit: Save a trip to the bank and deposit checks from your desk. You can reduce your carbon footprint and save paper because you have check images and electronic records for easy sorting and archiving, no more photocopies.

Mobile Banking: Mobile banking services for small business lets you do business on the go with the Mobile Business Center and Mobile Check Deposit.


Green Consumer Loans

If you're thinking about ways to support the planet, Union Bank can help. With our home equity line of credit, FlexEquity®, you can make the energy-efficient upgrades you've always wanted. This financing option can help with large or small eco-friendly home improvements that may include:

  • Solar panels
  • Tankless water heaters
  • HVAC appliances
  • Energy Star® windows and doors
  • Eco-friendly lighting
  • Upgraded insulation

Non-profit environmental grants

In 2017, our charitable investment in our communities totaled $16.8 million in grants, contributions, and sponsorships to help finance the efforts of nonprofit organizations. Of this total over $900,000 was awarded to environmental programs including programs with the following nonprofits: 

World Wildlife fund: Scaling up best management practices among sugar cane farmers in Sao Paolo State, Brazil

Homeboy Industries: Solar panel training installation training and certification program, focusing on those that are formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated

Grid Alternatives: An organization that brings together community partners, volunteers, and job trainees to implement solar power for low income families

The Trust for Public Land: A national organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places

Center for Sustainable Energy: An organization dedicated to creating change for a clean energy future 

California Academy of Sciences: A multifaceted scientific institution committed to leading-edge research, to educational outreach, and to finding new and innovative ways to engage and inspire the public

For more information on the MUFG Union Bank Foundation grant process, see below.

Banking on sustainability

Sustainable bank and finance

At Union Bank, we are committed to the environment and believe that environmentally sustainable projects have a strong future in the growth of our economy. 

We are proud to invest in renewable energy, green technologies and practices, and in our customers who actively engage in waste minimization solutions as a part of our overall environmental initiatives. We believe these investments generate positive returns for our stakeholders while yielding positive benefits to the environment overall.

Renewable energy

Union Bank has been an innovative and consistent leader at the forefront of the renewable energy industry for over a decade. Our Specialized Markets team has a longstanding track record in structuring, leasing and investing in renewable energy projects and providing comprehensive solutions to address each client’s capital needs. Since 2004, Specialized Markets has invested in over 4 gigawatts of renewable generation capacity, delivering enough green power to supply clean energy to approximately 1.2 million homes. 

For additional information on the full spectrum of financing solutions for renewable energy projects, please contact our Specialized Markets team at 1-213-236-6444.


Our agriculture portfolio includes clients who incorporate a sustainable philosophy or "green" technology. Our Community Agribusiness unit lends to suppliers whose work protects the environment with products and solutions including equipment that increases yield, reduces harvest time and fuel costs, minimizes dust, cultivates natural insect predators, and conserves water.The wine industry, for example, is a leader in sustainable practices among agribusinesses, with the use of photovoltaic panels, gray water, reduced-risk pesticides, caves to store wine, and other earth-friendly technologies being commonplace. Our specialized Wine Industry Services office in Santa Rosa, California, serves approximately 25 wine industry clients with a total combined portfolio of $380 million. 

For more information about either of our agriculture financing solutions, contact David Barnes or Elizabeth Karbousky.

Affordable housing

As a leading affordable housing lender, Union Bank has underwritten numerous green affordable housing projects nationwide. Union Bank Community Development Finance focuses on providing financing for green developments, recognizing that housing affordability and environmental sustainability often go hand-in-hand. 

The bank has helped to finance developments with some of the most innovative green features in the marketplace today, including advanced solar-generated electrical systems, geothermal heating, and highly energy-efficient construction.

For more information, visit Corporate Social Responsibility.