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Toronto – In a hopeful sign of things to come in corporate Canada, BMO Financial Group recently announced that it has achieved carbon neutrality relative to its energy consumption and transportation emissions across the company, worldwide. This fulfills a commitment made by the bank in September 2008.
“Special thanks go to our employees who’ve made sustainability a priority at BMO,” said Bill Downe, President and Chief Executive Officer. “They have made meaningful contributions to reduce carbon emissions by changing workday habits and routines. Those efforts, combined with the purchase of renewable energy and our investment in high quality carbon offsets got us to today’s announcement. We are proud to be doing our part for a sustainable future for everyone.”
“This represents an important milestone for BMO in our sustainability efforts,” said Jim Johnston, Director, Environmental Sustainability, BMO Financial Group. “The belief that sustainability and success go hand in hand, for us, is fundamental. We remain committed to minimizing the impact of our operations on the environment and to demonstrating leadership by integrating environmental considerations into our wider business practices.”
To achieve carbon neutrality, BMO measured its carbon footprint, engaged an accredited third party to verify it, and focused on three main areas:
Consumption Reduction Measures
BMO has completed and continues to engage in energy audits and mechanical systems and lighting retrofits in a significant number of its branches and offices. The bank has also built four branches in Canada and three in the US that meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards, and improved the efficiency of its service fleet by adding hybrid vehicles.
Purchase of Renewable Energy
BMO purchases nearly 24,000 megawatt hours of 100 per cent renewable energy annually in Canada, for use by 160 facilities across the country. In addition, Harris Bank has a three year agreement for the purchase of over 91,000 megawatt hours of 100 per cent renewable energy – enough to power all of its facilities in the US. As a result, approximately 39 per cent of BMO’s total emissions footprint is mitigated through renewable energy purchases.
BMO purchases high quality carbon offsets to neutralize the remaining emissions. With an initial commitment of $10-million over five years, BMO became one of the founding investors in the Greening Canada Fund, the first voluntary carbon emissions reduction fund exclusively aimed at Canadian corporations. The fund provides direct access to greenhouse gas emission offset credits and helps BMO invest in Canadian-based emission reduction projects.
For more on BMO’s environmental commitment, and efforts to address climate change, visit their website. It provides one of the most complete compilations of corporate performance data among its peers.