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Where Canada's Big Five banks' stand on climate pledges

Scotiabank is hinging its climate plans on achieving net-zero for its lending by 2050. (Courtesy Scotiabank)

Canada’s five largest banks, known collectively as the Big Five, have summarized their latest greenhouse gas emissions targets and goals for sustainable finance in their sustainability reports and updates.

The largest of the Big Five by total assets is Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), followed by Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank), Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

SustainableBiz has synthesized the high-level targets and plans from those sustainability reports, and presents them here for ease of comparison.

The banks’ climate targets

  • In its 2022 ESG Report, RBC states its target of net-zero lending in its portfolio is by 2050 or sooner.
  • TD Bank says it intends to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its operations and financing activities by 2050 in its 2022 ESG Report.
  • Scotiabank’s aim as stated in its 2022 ESG Report is net-zero emissions in its operations and financed emissions by 2050 or sooner.
  • BMO targets net-zero financed emissions in its lending by 2050 with intermediate targets for financed emissions reductions in its 2022 Sustainability Report and Public Accountability Statement.
  • CIBC plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its operational and financing activities by 2050, as stated in its Sustainability Report 2022.

The banks’ sustainable finance targets

  • RBC has committed to providing $500 billion of sustainable financing by 2025, according to its 2022 ESG Report. In 2022, RBC committed $84.8 billion toward this goal. It has cumulatively spent $282 billion since 2019 to meet this target.
  • TD Bank updated its sustainable finance target to $500 billion by 2030 after exceeding its previous goal of $100 billion by 2030, according to its 2022 ESG Report. It reached $107.8 billion in total sustainable financing in 2022. The new target focuses on “supporting environmental, decarbonization and social activities through lending, financing, underwriting, advisory services, insurance and the Bank’s own investments,” the report states.
  • By 2030, Scotiabank plans to "mobilize" $350 billion in climate-related finance, raising its initial target for $100 billion in climate-related finance by 2025. As of 2022, Scotiabank mobilized a cumulative $96 billion for this goal as stated in its 2022 ESG Report, with $38 billion being mobilized in 2022 alone.
  • BMO pledges $300 billion for sustainable finance by 2025 via: sustainable bond underwriting; sustainable equity and debt financing; sustainable financing; and ESG advisory service, loans for sustainable clients and an energy transition group. In its 2022 Sustainability Report and Public Accountability Statement, BMO said it mobilized $90.92 billion in 2022 to reach a total of $267 billion in capital since 2019.
  • CIBC says it will "mobilize" $300 billion to sustainable finance activities between 2018 and 2030 in its Sustainability Report 2022. The bank mobilized $35.9 billion in 2022, having mobilized $112.9 billion to date since 2018.

The sustainability reports were published from February to March in accordance to the banks' reporting schedules.

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