Greening the Bank of Canada

We are taking steps to reduce our environmental footprint and our own operational risks related to climate change.

Renewing the way we do business

We have been making changes to our day-to-day operations to lessen our impact on the environment and reduce the risks to the Bank from a changing climate. We’ve made a lot of progress over the years and continually look for ways to improve further. We aren’t doing it alone—we are talking to our peers, consulting outside experts and supporting employee-led initiatives.

Along the way, we will provide regular updates through our website and annual report.

Our strategy

Our strategy has five pillars.

Creating more energy-efficient work spaces

In 2019, the Bank achieved LEED Gold certification for our renovated Ottawa headquarters, a milestone several years in the making.

  • The renovation itself was done with sustainability in mind, with more than 90 percent of construction waste diverted from landfills.
  • We reduced our electricity use in our head office by 50 percent, the equivalent of removing over 1,300 homes from the electricity grid.

We’re also updating our other buildings across Canada. Ongoing energy audits are showing positive results. With our building automation systems, we have optimized the efficiency of lighting, heating and cooling schedules to further reduce our energy consumption.

Cutting waste

We are making a lot of progress through various green initiatives:

  • The polymer from old bank notes is recycled to create outdoor benches and tables, trash containers and deck boards. In 2018 we recycled 53,590 kilograms of bank notes, up from 34,668 kilograms in 2016.
  • Waste audits have helped us divert almost half our waste away from landfills.
  • All of our owned buildings, as well as our rented Calgary Operational Site, have fully integrated recycling and compost programs.
  • We are reducing paper use through our “digital first” strategy, moving to online-only versions of major publications and internal communications.

We are planning to do more. Here are some examples:

  • reducing the use of single-use plastics and water bottles in our cafeteria and food services
  • expanding our existing composting programs

Managing our carbon footprint

We are taking steps toward measuring and disclosing our carbon emissions. 

To accomplish this, we are learning from the carbon disclosure plans of others and investigating best practices at private financial institutions and other central banks.

The Bank will need to consider practical challenges, such as how to measure the emissions of our various activities. We will then set targets, which will be our goals for reducing our carbon footprint.

Managing the risks to the Bank from climate change

Climate change is already leading to more frequent severe weather events, and scientists predict these events will become even worse as global temperatures continue to rise.

This severe weather could impede our day-to-day work through two channels—our own operations and those of our suppliers.

We are assessing environmental risks as part of our regular risk management process and business planning. These assessments allow us to both protect the Bank and help the environment.

Greening our pension fund

The Bank is working to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into the management of the Bank of Canada Pension Plan. 

Our current focus is the development of practical steps to integrate ESG considerations into our investment decisions and reporting.  In doing so we will bear in mind our fiduciary responsibilities, which require us to act prudently and in the sole interest of Plan members when making investment decisions. 

This will be a multi-year project as best practices are evolving; we will work with other pension funds to build our knowledge base and speed the process.

We’ll keep you posted

Visit our website for the latest information on how the Bank is addressing climate change.



Content Type(s): Background materials
Topic(s): Climate change