World's greenest banks

There are times when doing right makes for good business.

A great example are the green initiatives we've seen in the banking industry. Many have moved to erect structures that are much more environmentally friendly than previous structures, and at the same time provide a wealth of benefits, such as reduced energy costs and positive PR.

Bloomberg Markets has published its second annual ranking of the world's greenest banks. Set to be published in the May issue, the list "tallies how much banks are investing and lending to support clean energy and how they're managing their own power consumption and carbon footprints."

The results, which cover 48 banks with market values of $10 billion or more each, are based on public documents, company filings and websites. Santander won the top spot again, mainly due to its equity investment in the $1 billion Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant in Nevada. It also helped arrange $210 million in loans for First Wind Holdings's wind farm in Washington. Bank of America came in second.

It "stepped up to finance the effort headed by SolarCity of San Mateo, California. Now, the SolarStrong project is en route to becoming the country's largest residential solar-energy installation. In addition, the bank provided a $1.4 billion loan to San Francisco's Prologis for rooftop solar systems.

The biggest loser was Goldman Sachs, which was hired as an adviser in 2008 to Solyndra and helped raise almost $1 billion for the company. Unfortunately, the company sought bankruptcy court protection last year "after failing to compete with low-cost panel makers in China." 

Goldman Sachs, which came in second last year, fell all the way to No. 18.

For more:
- here's the rankings

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