TORONTO, Feb. 2, 2021 /CNW/ - BMO Financial Group (TSX:BMO) (NYSE:BMO) today announced it has signed the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) Principles for Responsible Banking.
The Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) provide a framework for a sustainable banking system. By signing, BMO is committing to align its business strategy with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks. This includes conducting an impact analysis to identify priority positive and negative impacts associated with its operations and financing activity, working collaboratively with clients and stakeholders to maximize positive and minimize negative impacts, and demonstrating transparency and accountability through public reporting.
"We've been members of the UNEP-FI since 2010 and are pleased to be an early signatory to the Principles for Responsible Banking in Canada," said Darryl White, CEO, BMO Financial Group. "Banks have a critical role to shape and finance a more sustainable future. The work we do with our clients and stakeholders to understand and mitigate the impact of our operations and financial activity is an important part of how we'll achieve it. By signing the PRB we are strengthening our commitment to advance the SDGs and the transition to a net zero carbon economy."
BMO continues to make significant progress on its Purpose to double the good for a sustainable future. Committed to mobilizing $400 billion in sustainable finance by 2025 -- including lending, underwriting and investing $150 billion in companies pursuing sustainable outcomes, and aligning $250 billion in client investments to sustainable objectives -- the bank has already achieved 71 per cent of its $150 billion target and surpassed its $250 billion target. In developing a world-class Sustainability program, BMO has already built the framework that will enable the bank to meet and exceed its obligations as a signatory to the Principles.
"We are excited that BMO as a longstanding and valued member of UNEP FI is now also becoming a Principle for Responsible Banking Signatory and hope more Canadian peers will follow BMO's leadership," said Eric Usher, Head, UNEP Finance Initiative.
BMO Financial Group's actions on sustainability and towards a sustainable future include:
- In 2019, BMO unveiled its Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, announcing commitments to double the good for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society
- In 2020, BMO launched BMO EMpower, a $5 billion commitment over five years to address key barriers faced by minority businesses, communities, and families in the United States
- In 2019, BMO issued a $500 million USD Sustainability Bond with use of proceeds tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
- In January 2021, BMO joined the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials to support the development of leading methodologies to track and report financed emissions
- In October 2020, BMO reached a key milestone in matching 100 per cent of electricity usage with renewable electricity
- In May 2020, BMO signed the Operating Principles for Impact Investment, a gold standard for impact investment fund management, developed by the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank
- World-class sustainability disclosure, including on climate-related risks and opportunities in line with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards
- First Canadian bank to sign the UN Women's Empowerment Principles in 2019. In 2018, BMO committed to make $3 billion in capital available to women business owners in Canada over three years
BMO's leadership on sustainability has been recognized on numerous rankings, including:
- Ranked 15th on the Wall Street Journal's 2020 list of the 100 Most Sustainably Managed Companies in the World, third overall on Social Capital, only bank in North America
- Top North American bank on Corporate Knights' 2021 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World for the second year in a row
- Ranked in the top 10 per cent of banks globally on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index
- Scored an A- on the 2020 CDP Climate Change Questionnaire
- Ethisphere® Institute's list of the 2020 World's Most Ethical Companies®
- Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (2021) for the sixth year in a row
- Forbes 2020 Best Employers for Diversity (United States)
- Corporate Knights 2020 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada
About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $949 billion as of October 31, 2020, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.
SOURCE BMO Financial Group