Canada's big five banks rated on their climate change performance

    TD and RBC lead the pack while BMO lags, in Ethical Funds executive brief

    VANCOUVER, March 12 /CNW/ - Canada's big five banks have all acknowledged
the significance of global climate change, but all are moving at different
rates to actually implement their environmental policies into concrete action
plans, according to a new executive brief from The Ethical Funds Company.
    Credit Risk, Biodiversity, and Climate Change concludes that all five of
Canada's leading banking institutions are starting to take action on climate
change but asks the crucial question: How are they doing so far?
    "As a pillar of the Canadian economy, Canada's major banks have both a
financial and social responsibility to take action on climate change," said
Robert Walker, Vice President of Sustainability for Ethical Funds. "Our report
clearly shows that all five banks have at least begun to rise to the challenge
of climate change, but much more still needs to be done."
    This latest executive research paper from Ethical Funds draws upon 25
climate-specific indicators found in its Corporate Sustainability Scorecard -
a proprietary objective method of assessing corporations' environmental,
social and governance performance. The research methodology also had a unique
Canadian twist by focusing not just on carbon emissions management but also on
efforts to preserve biodiversity generally and Canada's boreal forest
specifically. This methodology allowed Ethical Funds to examine Canada's
leading banks for:

    -   Carbon management and biodiversity policies
    -   Board oversight and management capacity
    -   Performance
    -   Transparency

    "The responses to climate change from our major banks are evolving
rapidly but, so far, almost all action has been at the level of policy
development," said Walker. "While these are important first steps, many of the
statements made by the banks on climate change are aspirational only and some
include a disturbing amount of qualifying language. A failure to take action
will only lead to charges of green-washing."
    The report ends with a set of practical next steps each of the big five
banks can take to avoid such allegations and to successfully move more
aggressively on tackling climate change. Ethical Funds' executive research
paper on the climate change performance of Canada's big five banks can be read
in full at:

    The results show:

    (1) TD Bank Financial Group: From Worst to First
        Once viewed as a laggard on environmental risk assessment, TD Bank
        now occupies a leading position, tied with Royal Bank of Canada.

    (1) The Royal Bank of Canada: An Established Leader
        RBC has led Canada's banking sector on environmental issues for more
        than a decade and continues to do so.

    (3) Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: Climbing Up the Ladder
        CIBC lags behind TD and RBC but, with steadily increasing policy
        development and disclosure, is moving up the ladder.

    (4) The Bank of Nova Scotia: More Disclosure Required
        While headway is being made at Scotiabank, it lags the top three when
        it comes to formalizing and disclosing lending procedures addressing
        climate risk.

    (5) The Bank of Montreal: Falling Behind
        While BMO has acknowledged the science of climate change, there is
        little evidence that it is considering the risk from climate change
        in its lending portfolio.

    About Ethical Funds

    Launched in 1992, Ethical Funds is Canada's leading manager of socially
responsible mutual funds, delivering a successful track-record of combining
financial performance with making good companies better. Ethical Funds has
multiple award-winning funds and Canada's largest team of sustainability
analysts. Ethical Funds is a division of Northwest & Ethical Investments LP.

For further information:

For further information: Jane Mitchell, Public Relations, Ethical Funds,
Tel: (604) 714-3843,

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