TD Bank Group (TD-T) bolstered its sustainability efforts in 2020, with its annual environmental, social, and governance report (ESG) underlining a variety of business, philanthropy and employee investments including plans to link senior executive compensation with ESG performance.
The launch of a global Climate Action Plan underscored the Canadian bank’s commitment to achieving several future environmental targets, such as net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operations and financing activities by 2050, the establishment of a GHG emissions baseline across its business and financing portfolio, and creating a Sustainable Finance and Corporate Transitions Group within TD Securities.
“TD’s purpose to enrich the lives of our customers, colleagues, and communities is the foundation of all we do,” said Norie Campbell, group head and general counsel, TD Bank Group, in a release accompanying the report. “The challenges that came with 2020 have further strengthened our resolve to build a more sustainable and inclusive future. Through our strong commitment to ESG, the actions we are taking will support long-term prosperity and growth, creating opportunity for all to succeed in a rapidly changing world.”
In addition to its Climate Action Plan, TD’s ESG report – Adapting with Purpose – pointed to additional 2020 achievements, including the creation of its initial Sustainable Bonds Framework, issuing the first TD Sustainability Bond, and releasing two new mutual funds focused on sustainable investing.
The bond supports environmental and social initiatives and expands on the bank’s previous green bonds. Proceeds from the three-year $500 million issuance will finance or refinance loans, investments, and internal or external projects that meet the Sustainability Bonds Framework criteria for being considered environmentally or socially responsible. Such projects can include green buildings, clean transportation, access to healthcare, and affordable housing.
TD has been included on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for seven consecutive years, the only North American bank listed on the World Index.
$56B in low-carbon initiatives
In its 2020 report, TD identifies what it calls the four interconnected drivers of change – financial security, connected communities, better health, and a vibrant planet, which works toward a low-carbon economy and the expansion of green spaces.
TD has invested more than $56 billion into low-carbon initiatives in Canada and the U.S. as part of its overall $100 billion target.
It supports the Venture for Canada and the TD Clean Prosperity Honorary Awards, aiming to empower the next generation of cleantech entrepreneurs.
Last year also saw TD commit $1.25 million to the Institute of Sustainable Finance, the first collaborative hub in Canada that brings together academia, the private sector, and government to help shape innovations in sustainable finance.
With the help of more than 150,000 donors, over $3.47 million has been donated to 479 Canadian projects through the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
Expanding green spaces is also at the forefront of TD’s ESG goals.
In Canada, TD has looked at ways to increase access to parks, working with Park People to develop the annual TD Park People Grants program. The effort provided 163 groups with $1,000 grants to host 326 nature-based activities that promote environmental education, sustainability, and stewardship across the country.
TD Green Space Grants were another way the company showed its support for green infrastructure and forestry projects in Canadian and U.S. cities. Together with the Arbor Day Foundation, TD awarded a total of $400,000 to 20 North American communities in 2020 to help expand green spaces, increase tree planting, manage forests, and develop green infrastructure.
In total, TD supports 61 initiatives helping to create a more vibrant planet in both Canada and the U.S.
“Being able to help our customers, colleagues, and communities feel ready for what’s ahead in these times,” Campbell said in the release, “is a business imperative that has never had greater meaning.”
TD Bank’s investments in people
TD invested more than $130 million into non-profit organizations in 2020 as well through its TD Ready Commitment, which aims to contribute $1 billion in philanthropy by 2030.
Part of this investment included the launch of the TD Community Resilience Initiative that provides $25 million to support non-profits and healthcare providers across the company’s footprint in the wake of COVID-19.
Challenging racism through an open dialogue and training initiatives was another accomplishment during the past year. And, as of Oct. 1, 2020, 38 per cent of all TD directors were women, with 31 per cent self-identifying as a visible minority, Indigenous, Aboriginal, LGBTQ2+, or a person with a disability.
As a business, TD has a commitment to doubling the number of Black executives at the bank by the end of 2022, as well as increasing minority executive representation by 50 per cent by 2025.