by Megan Haynes
TD operates under the philosophy that a healthy economy is linked with a healthy environment. It’s green journey began in 1990 with the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, which has invested more than $57 million in over 20,000 grassroots environmental protection initiatives. Since then, as basic resources become increasingly constrained, the company has committed to minimizing its environmental footprint.
TD’s green campaign is led by the EVP environment, community (who also happens to be TD’s CMO) and the chief environment officer – the first in any Canadian bank. The campaign’s strategy includes providing environmentally focused financing; developing green services and products; committing to a comprehensive green technology strategy; and engaging its internal and external stakeholders through discussion, promotions and campaigns.
As part of its mission to be the better bank, after achieving carbon neutrality in 2010, TD has committed to being paper-neutral by the end of 2012.
Externally, TD introduced specialized discounted financing in 2010 for small-scale renewable energy projects for individuals and businesses, and in 2011, it extended this financing and its insurance services for hybrid and electric vehicles. TD also works with Plug’nDrive, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of electric vehicles.
TD has run a number of consumer-facing campaigns promoting the company’s green initiatives and encouraging green behaviour. For example, TD’s “Virtual Tree Planting” activation allowed customers to virtually plant a tree in the community – which TD later planted in real life on their behalf for TD Tree Days.
TD has also implemented green building design standards for all its facilities, including aggressive waste and paper reduction goals, and choosing suppliers that meet strict environmental standards.
To engage staff in these efforts, internally, TD launched Green Nation in 2011, an online community of ambassadors, leaders and role models, which lets employees earn points for “acts of green” pledges with a leaderboard highlighting top earners. The site shows carbon emissions saved by every green act and tracks progress of individuals and groups.
TD also held a first-ever zero garbage event in Canada for employees last year: Greenception. Waste was recycled, food was donated to a shelter, a local artisan and pro-salvager created décor from reclaimed and recycled objects, and an eco-fashion show featured garments made from recycled and reclaimed fabrics. The entirely paper-free event attracted more than 200 TD leaders, employees and community partners and generated discussion about future green opportunities.
In 2011, TD completed North America’s first net-zero energy retrofit bank branch, which creates more energy than it uses, and rolled out 16 LEED-certified building projects with another 61 registered for future development.
Through its TD Energy Fair, Canada’s largest environmental trade show, TD promoted its green initiatives and educated attendees on making sustainable energy choices. By engaging 30,000 conference attendees, TD generated $3 million in potential new business.
Green Nation has members in every province in Canada, who’ve achieved over 14,500 acts of green, and the program will expand to the U.K. and U.S. in 2012. Through TD Tree Days, more than 40,000 trees will be planted at more than 140 locations across North America and in the U.K. this year.
“TD’s initiative had great brand linkage. And I liked the idea of a company actually making real environmental news. Zero emissions and LEED buildings are big things.”
–Marc Stoiber, consultant
“Great example of a brand acting consistently in the way they operate – not merely saying they believe in something. They’re actually acting on those beliefs.”
–Zak Mroueh, Zulu Alpha Kilo