Reducing operational carbon emissions
We’re taking steps to measure and reduce our carbon footprint and to integrate climate change into our planning and decision making. We committed to reducing our buildings-related greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2030 (compared with 2018 levels) and achieving net zero operational carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner. These targets are aligned with those of the Government of Canada and support the objectives of the Paris Agreement. We have also committed to meeting 100 percent of our electricity needs with renewable sources by 2022.
In 2019, we achieved LEED Gold certification for our renovated Ottawa headquarters, a milestone that was several years in the making.
- The renovation itself was done with sustainability in mind, and more than 90 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.
- We reduced electricity use in our head office by 50 percent—the equivalent of removing over 1,300 homes from the electricity grid.
Our other buildings across Canada are being similarly updated. Ongoing energy audits are showing positive results. With our building automation systems, we have optimized the efficiency of lighting, heating and cooling schedules to further reduce our energy consumption.
Addressing our waste and water footprints
We have committed to achieving near-zero waste—producing as little waste as possible from our operations—across our owned buildings and supply chain by 2040 or sooner. This includes diverting 75 percent of operational and plastic waste and 100 percent of construction waste by 2030.
Some of our additional green initiatives are making significant progress:
- The polymer from old bank notes is recycled to create outdoor benches and tables, trash containers and deck boards.
- Waste audits have helped us divert almost half our waste away from landfills. We are also reducing the use of single-use plastics and have expanded our composting program.
- All of our owned buildings, as well as our rented Calgary Operational Site, have fully integrated recycling and composting programs.
- We continue to reduce paper use through our “digital first” strategy, moving to online-only versions of major publications and internal communications.
We’ve also committed to achieving near-zero water—using as little water as possible in our daily work—across our owned buildings by 2035 or sooner. We have invested in water conservation and efficiency technologies and are assessing options for adopting alternative water-management practices. These include rainwater harvesting and green infrastructure to minimize wastewater discharge.
Managing the risks we face from climate change
Climate change can impede our day-to-day work through two channels: our own operations and those of our suppliers.
We assess environmental risks as part of our regular risk management process and business planning. These assessments allow us to both protect the Bank and help the environment.
We are also taking steps toward measuring and disclosing our carbon emissions. Our teams are examining the activities of private financial institutions and other central banks to determine and deploy best practices within the Bank.
The recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) are increasingly becoming the global standard and being adopted by central banks in many countries, as well as by Canadian financial institutions and Crown corporations. Our ongoing efforts to develop a reporting framework for climate-related financial risks will lead to a report in line with TCFD recommendations for fiscal year 2022.
Greening our pension fund
We are working to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into the management of the Bank of Canada Pension Plan.
Our current focus is on developing practical steps to integrate ESG considerations into our investment decisions and reporting. We continue to uphold our fiduciary responsibilities, which require us to act prudently and in the sole interest of Plan members when making investment decisions.
Because best practices are still evolving, this will be a multi-year project. We will continue to work with other pension funds to build our knowledge base and accelerate this integration process.