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RBC pledges $500,000 to complete Tides Canada Foundation's Great Bear Rainforest campaign

VANCOUVER, February 25, 2008 — 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.

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For more information:

RBC
John Groves, 604-668-2651
Jackie Braden, 416-974-2124

Tides Canada
Cristina R. Vélez, 604-647-6611, ext. 250,
cristina@tidescanada.org


 



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02/25/2008 12:09:26