RBC Pledges $500,000 to Complete Tides Canada Foundation's Great Bear Rainforest Campaign



    VANCOUVER, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) today announced it
has pledged half a million dollars to ensure a healthy future for British
Columbia's North and Central Coast called The Great Bear Rainforest. The
donation will fund conservation management and sustainable economic
development in First Nations communities in the region.
    This commitment is part of the RBC Blue Water Project, and completes
Tides Canada Foundation's $4 million Canadian fundraising campaign for one of
the largest and most ambitious conservation projects in North America. The
contribution also completes the $60 million financing package pledged by
Canadian and international private philanthropic organizations for the Great
Bear Rainforest.
    Covering 6.4 million hectares, (21 million acres) the Great Bear
Rainforest represents 25 per cent of the earth's remaining ancient coastal
temperate rainforest. A vast ecosystem with over 100 unlogged pristine
watersheds, it sustains tremendous biodiversity including rare white Spirit
Bears, grizzly bears, and rare and unusual plants. It is one of the planet's
great environmental treasures and a vital cultural and economic resource for
British Columbia's First Nations and coastal communities.
    "RBC has a long history of commitment to First Nations communities and to
the environment, and we are thrilled to seal the deal on this campaign," said
Graham MacLachlan, Regional President, RBC, British Columbia. "With its 100
watersheds sustaining 20 per cent of the world's wild salmon population, the
Great Bear conservation initiative was a natural fit under our Blue Water
Project. The bonus here is that this innovative model for conservation will
also create sustainable economic development in First Nations communities."
    Until recently, the Great Bear Rainforest was a threatened wilderness.
But on February 8, 2006, after over a decade of hard work, an unprecedented
alliance among environmental groups, First Nations, logging companies and
governments marked a landmark event in modern conservation. The Province of
British Columbia announced long-awaited land use agreements that protect at
least 5 million acres of the rainforest from logging and places more than
18 million acres under strict land management guidelines. Donations to Tides
Canada's Great Bear Rainforest Campaign will support the implementation of
these land use agreements.
    "Protecting the environment while enabling communities to prosper
requires the commitment and investment of visionary partners like RBC. We
celebrate RBC's support for this pioneering model for long-term sustainability
and the successful completion of our campaign," said Ross McMillan, President
of Tides Canada Foundation, and one of the principal architects of the
$120 million conservation financing program that helped protect the Great Bear
Rainforest.
    U.S. and Canadian funders, including The William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the David and Lucile
Packard Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Tides
Canada Foundation and The Nature Conservancy contributed more than
CAD$60 million. These funds, combined with CAD$60 million previously committed
by the government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada, create two
public-private funds totaling $120 CAD million for work in the Great Bear
Rainforest.
    RBC is one of Canada's largest corporate donors, and contributed more
than $82.8 million to community causes worldwide in 2007, through donations of
more than $47.7 million, and an additional $35.1 million in sponsorship of
community events and national organizations. The company recently released the
RBC Environmental Blueprint, a formal roadmap outlining the company's
environmental priorities and objectives, and the RBC Blue Water Project, a
10-year philanthropic program to support projects dedicated to water
conservation, watershed protection, access to clean drinking water, and other
water-related issues in Canada and around the world. In 2007, RBC was named
Canada's top corporate citizen, and in 2008, was named one of top 100
sustainable companies in the world.
    As Canada's first and only national public foundation focused on the
environment and social justice, Tides Canada works with forward-looking donors
to amplify the impact of their giving.

    Since start-up in December 2001, Tides Canada has granted more than
$45 million to hundreds of charities and will continue to support the work of
conservation organizations and First Nations as they implement the landmark
land use agreements. For more information about Tides Canada Foundation and
The Great Bear Rainforest Campaign please visit
http://tidescanadafoundation.org/greatbear/.





For further information:

For further information: RBC: John Groves, (604) 668-2651 or Jackie
Braden, (416) 974-2124; Tides Canada: Cristina R. Vélez, (604) 647-6611, ext.
250, cristina@tidescanada.org


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