BMO Financial Group has achieved carbon neutrality relative to its energy consumption and transportation emissions across the company, meeting its commitment set by the bank in 2008, thanks to changes in employee habits and routines that have reduced carbon emissions, together with the purchase of renewable energy and carbon offsets.
To meet its goal, BMO focused on these three key areas: consumption reduction measures, purchase of renewable energy and carbon offsets.
BMO has completed and continues to conduct energy audits and mechanical systems and lighting retrofits in a significant number of its branches and offices. As an example, the company has built four branches in Canada and three in the U.S. that meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards. The company also improved the efficiency of its service fleet by adding hybrid vehicles.
BMO purchases nearly 24,000 megawatt hours of 100 percent renewable energy annually in Canada for use by 160 facilities across the country. In addition, the Harris Bank has a three-year agreement for the purchase of over 91,000 megawatt hours of 100 percent renewable energy, which is enough to power all of its facilities in the U.S. As a result, approximately 39 percent of BMO’s total emissions footprint is mitigated through renewable energy purchases.
BMO also purchases 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 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.
BMO’s carbon footprint was verified by an accredited third party.
Another financial institution that recently touted its carbon neutrality is TD Bank.