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Environmentally friendly banking

Learn how you can help save the planet by choosing socially responsible banks.

The global concern for the current and future state of our planet continues to grow, with millions of people wondering how they can make a positive impact. We are challenged daily by non-profits, communities and businesses to make eco-friendly choices, but lifestyle changes aren’t the only way to help. Environmental awareness is a huge opportunity for innovation, which is why green banks are becoming increasingly popular.

Banks with an environmentally friendly cause

Sustainability effortsVisit the bank
TD LogoTD Bank's green leaf symbol represents products, services and business-related initiatives that contribute to the environmental goals and commitments of TD Bank Group, which include:

- Contributing to a low carbon economy through reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or reduction of energy usage
- Growing areas of protected critical forest habitat and enhancing urban green space
- Reducing paper usage
- Using paper and wood products derived from sustainably managed forests
- Over 285,000 tress planted through TD tree days since 2010
- Provided $10.8 billion in financing to companies with low carbon operations
- Offers electronic banking, paperless statements, and energy-wise ATMs
TD’s corporate responsibility page
BMO Bank of Montreal symbolThe BMO ECO5 strategy aims to:

- reduce environmental impacts from operational activities
- measure and reduce company-wide greenhouse gas emissions
- manage resources in a sustainable manner
- lower costs
- gather environmental performance data and publicly report on performance
- continuously improve environmental performance
BMO’s environment page
Scotiabank logoScotiabank is committed to mobilize $100 billion by 2025 to reduce the impact of climate change. Their Global Banking and Markets division provided bank financing, totaling $4.7 billion to the renewal energy sector. Their Climate Commitments are:

- ensure robust climate-related governance and transparency in reporting
- enhance integration of climate risk assessments in lending, financing and investing activities
- decarbonize operations and find innovative solutions to reduce the Bank’s impact on the changing climate
- establish a Climate Change Centre of Excellence to mobilize internal and external collaboration, dialogue and information sharing and contribute to the global conversation on climate change
Scotiabank’s environmental policy
RBC LogoRBC's Climate Blueprint plans includes:

- supporting clients in the low-carbon transition
- advancement in capabilities in climate risk management
- achieving net-zero carbon emissions in global operations annually
- speaking up for smart climate solutions
- investing in technology to address complex environmental challenges
RBC’s environmental blueprint
Tangerine logoTangerine serves over 1.9 million clients using a fraction of the resources of traditional banks.

Their promise is to:
- lead the sustainability challenge by example
- continuously work on eliminating their environmental footprint
- share their achievements with their clients
- work with their clients, vendors and employees to look for sustainable lifestyle options and business solutions
Tangerine and the community
HSBC logoHSBC has pledged to provide $100 billion of sustainable financing and investment by 2025 and has achieved $52.4 billion to date (since 2017). They have supported projects in 45 countries and territories, which have included renewable energy, green buildings and electric vehicles. They aim to procure 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.HSBC sustainability page
CIBC LogoCIBC has lent $1.6 billion towards financing renewable projects. Their Corporate Environmental Policy includes commitments to:

- protecting and conserving the environment
- safeguard the interests of CIBC's stakeholders from unacceptable levels of environmental risk
- support the principles of sustainable development
Since 2015, CIBC's internal paper use per full-time equivalent employee has decreased by more than 22%. They continue to do this by offering paperless banking methods such as pre-authorized bill payment, online transfers, direct deposit programs, eDeposits and telephone and online and mobile banking
CIBC’s environmental sustainability page

An example of environmentally friendly banking

The Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid Card offsets 1 pound of CO2 for every $1 you spend through Mogos Amazon Rainforest project.

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What are green banks?

Green banks use innovative business models and financing techniques to encourage private investment into clean and sustainable technology. While these socially-responsible institutions vary in size, approach and impact, they generally share the following characteristics:

  • Aim to facilitate investment in LCR infrastructure and technology
  • Innovative transaction structures and market expertise
  • Independent authority and reach to design and implement strategies
  • A focus on cost-effectiveness and performance

Beyond these operational characteristics, a few common goals of green and socially-responsible banks include:

  • Meeting ambitious emissions targets
  • Mobilizing private capital
  • Lowering the cost of capital
  • Reducing energy costs
  • Developing green technology markets
  • Supporting local community development
  • Creating jobs

How can you be more environmentally aware when going about your banking?

It is important that people adapt to the innovative solutions that banks offer and help companies to reduce the impact on the environment. Below are some basics tips on how you can be more environmentally aware when banking.

woman internet banking on the floor

Use internet banking as much as you can

For most of your current and future life, visiting the bank consistently is something of the past. Unless you are opening a new account, which some banks now also offer through an online application, just about every single thing you would need to use your bank account can be done online. This includes basic transactions, investing, trading and business services.

woman mobile banking

Use a mobile banking app

As with internet banking, a banking app is a powerful platform to almost everything you would have usually done at a physical branch. Banking apps are an extension of what internet banking offers. Compare the top 5 mobile banking apps here.

woman on her laptop on couch

Switch to electronic statements

If you are in the habit of meticulously working through your bank statements every 1 to 3 months, consider receiving them electronically. Paper might feel more natural now, but over time you will start appreciating the accessibility and time-saving power behind eStatements!

Couple with bank employee

Ask whether your local branch is environmentally friendly

Many banks now promote using recycled materials within their branches. This includes marketing materials like brochures and posters.

Why do banks need to offer environmentally friendly banking options?

Banks play a vital role in how we interact with money and it results in banks storing vast amounts of data all around the world. This data can include:

  • Customer profiles that include all contracts and relevant paperwork.
  • Reports of important events and transactions.
  • Reports on important events and decisions that need to be made in the financial sector.

All of these data sets are in paper form and place immense weight on the planet’s ecosystems.

The global demand for resources from the environment is not something that can be ignored. And this doesn’t even touch on the vast impact of producing paper money all around the world. Fortunately, banks are aware of the issue and have made innovative steps in helping customers practice environmentally friendly banking habits.

Bottom line

Beyond lifestyle changes like recycling more, driving less and being more conscious toward the environment, the products and services you use can also make a positive impact. On a larger scale, green banks aim to facilitate investment in clean technology, so choosing to bank with them could encourage others to pursue socially-responsible behavior. And if you’re interested in what else banks are doing to be good stewards, compare accounts with other ethical causes.

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