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Making a Difference in Our Operations

Our environmental footprint is the sum of the environmental impacts of our operations, comprising of energy use, paper consumption, employee travel, water use and waste generation.

The RBC Environmental Blueprint includes 20 specific, long-term footprint reduction targets and commitments for greenhouse gas emissions, energy, paper, water, waste, green buildings and responsible procurement. We monitor and report progress against these commitments and provide details on our programs and performance in our annual Corporate Responsibility Report.

Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse Gases and Energy

We emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) when we burn oil and natural gas in our heating systems; however, the majority of our greenhouse gas emissions are indirect, such as through our use of purchased electricity, employee travel, and delivery of supplies to our properties. We use energy to heat and cool buildings, run our technology infrastructure and lighting systems, and for other purposes.

We are committed to reducing GHG emissions and improving energy efficiency in our operations, and have set a target to reduce GHG emission intensity by 20% in our properties by 2018.

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The use of renewable energy is widely seen as an effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RBC’s commitment to renewable energy in our properties dates back to 2005, when we were the first major financial institution in Canada to purchase clean renewable energy from Bullfrog Power. This partnership continues today, making RBC one of the largest purchasers of renewable energy in Canada.

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Paper

Paper

As a large financial services institution, we use a great deal of paper in our offices and in client materials. We continue to do our part to conserve forest resources and support sustainable forest management by reducing paper use and by purchasing certified sustainably sourced paper.

We’ve commitment to reducing office paper use per employee by 20% by 2018 and ensuring, where available, our paper is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or equivalent, indicating that it has been harvested from sustainably managed forests.

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Electronic Waste

Electronic Waste

Electronic waste or “e-waste” is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. Electronic devices are rich in precious metals, such as copper, gold, platinum and palladium that can be recovered and reused. Many electronic devices also contain toxic and hazardous materials like lead, cadmium and mercury.

If e-waste is simply disposed of in landfills, hazardous materials could contaminate soil, water and air and create potential health and ecosystem impacts. We also recognize our ethical responsibility to ensure e-waste is not shipped to other countries with limited environmental and health and safety standards.

We’ve committed to sending zero electronic waste to landfill by 2018, globally.

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Responsible Procurement

Responsible Procurement

RBC’s supplier management policy includes requirements in the procurement process to review environmental and social issues that can impact our business, our supplier’s business and communities. The review process requires that RBC gather information on eight key areas of supplier operations, which include:

  • Environmental management systems
  • Environmental action plans
  • Health and safety management systems
  • Third-party certifications
  • History of regulatory compliance
  • NGO relationships and evidence of any activism campaigns
  • Impacts on indigenous communities and the degree to which the principles of free, prior and informed consultation are applied
  • Labour standards

Any significant issues identified in the supplier due diligence process are incorporated into our standard procurement review process, making environmental and social risks part of our routine supplier review.

RBC’s supplier management policy and the RBC Supplier Code of Conduct reinforces our commitment to work with our suppliers to manage environmental and social issues and take a responsible approach to procurement activities.

Green Buildings

Green Buildings

With our operations spread over 20 million square feet of real estate, we are constantly looking for ways to reduce water and energy use. From occupying LEED buildings to implementing an energy management plan, we have a number of initiatives in place to reduce the impact of our real estate.

We’ve committed to double the amount of LEED certified space we occupy, to 350,000 m2 by 2018.

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To better understand what makes a building "green," the business case for building green, and an overview of green building standards, download the RBC white paper: Green Buildings and LEED. For information on our LEED certified properties, click here.