BMO Financial Group announced today 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. BMO has also built four branches in Canada and three in the U.S. to 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 U.S. As a result, approximately 39 per cent of BMO's total emissions footprint is mitigated through renewable energy purchases.
Carbon Offsets: BMO purchases high quality carbon offsets to neutralize the remaining emissions. With an initial commitment of US$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.
BMO is a long-time signatory and respondent to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP); it is also one of the highest scoring companies in the world and the only Canadian bank in the CDP's Global 500 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index for 2009. Additionally, CDP's Canadian partner, The Conference Board of Canada, has recognized BMO as a 2009 Canada 200 Climate Disclosure Leader.
BMO is listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Series Index. BMO is also included on the 2010 Jantzi/Maclean's list of the 50 Most Responsible Corporations in Canada, for the second year in a row.
In the U.S., BMO's subsidiary, Harris will be listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 'Green Power' Web site as a corporate member of the 'Green Power Leadership Club'. In addition, Harris Bank's Chicago office has been designated as a GREEN OFFICE by leading sustainable real estate firm Hines.