•  Reduce the intensity of our environmental footprint  
•  Promote environmentally responsible business activities  
•  Offer environmental products and services  
2008 Highlights  
  •  Converted all office paper purchased in Canada and the United States to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources and converted all office paper in the British Isles to either FSC, Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification or 100% recycled content  
  •  Launched our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trading desk with capabilities to transact on exchanges in Canada, the U.S. and the European Union  
  •  Performed detailed environmental credit risk assessments on 650 transactions in Canada and the United States  
  •  Convened a panel of experts to advise RBC on the RBC Blue Water Project™, and committed almost $11.8 million in grants to 39 organizations globally to support watershed protection and access to clean drinking water  
  •  Named to the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index 2008 under the Carbon Disclosure Project. Among financial institutions, RBC was ranked number one in Canada, and tied for second place globally  
  •  Trained RBC Capital Markets and Risk Management staff on climate change and carbon markets  

  RBC is committed to environmental sustainability, as outlined in the RBC Environmental Blueprint™. We continue to develop and implement the necessary programs, procedures and guidelines to support this commitment. We believe that fulfilling our environmental goals will lead to short- and long-term benefits for clients, shareholders, employees and the communities in which we live and conduct business.


The RBC Environmental Policy was developed in 1991 and substantially revised in 2004 and 2007 to reflect the changing environmental priorities of our company and our stakeholders. The policy addresses environmental matters pertaining to operations, business activities, products and services, employees, compliance, reporting transparency and partnerships.

Progress on our priorities
Reduce the intensity of our environmental footprint
RBC is committed to reducing our energy use, GHG emissions, paper consumption and water use. We are also committed to reducing the negative environmental impacts associated with the waste we generate and our procurement activities. We know that improving our operational efficiency, reducing our consumption of energy and natural resources, and decreasing GHG emissions associated with our business activities can lead to positive environmental and economic results.

  Among other highlights in 2008, we:
•  Developed a global Responsible Procurement Policy that will increase the acquisition of environmentally and socially preferable products and services and reduce the negative impacts associated with our supply chain
•  Updated the electrical, mechanical and architectural standards for our Canadian branch network to eliminate excess capacity and to improve energy efficiency
•  Opened 36 new green-powered branches in Canada. At the end of October 2008, we had 76 Canadian branches powered by certified “green” emission-free power.
Promote environmentally responsible business activities
At RBC, we work with our clients and the companies in which we invest in to identify and mitigate environmental risks and support environmentally responsible business models. Comprehensive environmental risk management policies and procedures facilitate the environmental review of transactions, and we regularly update these policies and procedures to address regulatory changes, emerging issues and international best practices. In our lending activities, policies require that certain transactions be reviewed by internal or third-party environmental specialists to ensure that we are appropriately identifying and addressing environmental risks.
  Among other highlights in 2008, we:
•  Analyzed the exposure of borrowers in our loan and investment portfolio to climate change risks and regulations
•  Conducted research on water issues, including an analysis of water scarcity and the impacts on certain industrial sectors and geographical regions in the U.S. and Canada
•  Updated RBC policies regarding environmental risk management for business and commercial markets.
Offer environmental products and services
RBC seeks to offer an expanding array of products and services that provide environmental benefits and empower clients to reduce their environmental footprint at little or no additional cost.
  Among other highlights in 2008, we:
•  Since January 2006, over 3.2 million RBC accounts have been switched from paper statements to electronic statements. The resulting paper savings amount to approximately 112.5 million sheets or 511 metric tonnes of paper. Using the Environmental Defense Fund Paper Calculator, these paper savings are equivalent to approximately 13,500 trees.
•  Launched the RBC Energy Saver Mortgage in Canada which offers a $300 rebate on a home energy audit. A home energy audit is a report generated by a licensed professional who is specially trained to examine electrical, mechanical and architectural aspects of residential homes. The audit provides recommendations to help improve a home’s energy efficiency and lower energy costs.
•  Commissioned a report to review sustainability indices and disclosure initiatives in North America and Europe in collaboration with several U.S. and Canadian banks and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative.
Key environmental issues

When developing the RBC Environmental Blueprint, we prioritized our key environmental issues by assessing our potential exposure to, and influence over, the issue, as well as its importance to our complete array of stakeholders. Our key environmental issues are climate change, biodiversity and water.

Climate change
Climate change presents environmental, social and financial challenges to the global economy, human health and our own businesses and operations. We believe that it is of vital importance that we all contribute to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and effectively adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, refers to the variety of different species, the genetic variability of each species and the variety of different ecosystems that they form. Environmental degradation resulting from human activity and the forces of climate change is disrupting the natural biodiversity of habitats and ecosystems. RBC also recognizes that the identity, cultural beliefs and economies of some indigenous peoples are intrinsically tied to their region’s history, biodiversity and natural landscapes. Critical natural systems and the abundant biodiversity they support must be preserved in order to maintain healthy communities, cultural values and shareholder value.

Water is the most important natural resource on earth, and without it, all life would cease. Access to clean fresh water, the preservation and management of watersheds and water conservation are becoming increasingly urgent environmental concerns, both globally and in many of the regions in which we operate. Climate change, pollution and inefficient water usage are factors contributing to a growing water crisis.

Sustaining the RBC Environmental Blueprint
Keeping the RBC Environmental Blueprint on course requires an open and proactive dialogue with our stakeholders and peers, independent and co-operative research to identify and better understand emerging environmental issues and transparent and relevant reporting of our initiatives and progress. We also recognize the importance of philanthropy to help communities meet their environmental objectives. We refer to these activities as “Sustaining the RBC Environmental Blueprint.”
  Among other highlights in 2008, we:
•  Proactively collaborated with non-governmental organizations including Rainforest Action Network, Forest Ethics, Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Canadian Boreal Initiative, Zerofootprint, Flick Off, and the Durrell Wildlife Preservation Trust
•  Responded to inquiries from sustainability indices, socially responsible investment companies and analysts including the Ethical Funds Company, Jantzi Research, the Carbon Disclosure Project, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors
•  Researched and authored a number of reports on water-related issues including opportunities to support safe drinking water in First Nations communities; water supply issues in the Caribbean; impact of water scarcity on industrial sectors and geographic regions in the U.S. and Canada; and the impact golf courses have on the environment.

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