Sustainable Business: A Conversation With TD's Chief Environment Officer

Feb 21, 2018 10:00 AM ET
Campaign: Low-Carbon Economy

Each year, the Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit brings together industry leaders to talk about sustainable business and finance. This year, TD's Chief Environment Officer, Karen Clarke-Whistler, participated as a panelist and her perspective was included in the TD-Bloomberg Sustainability Dialogues – a report that captures the insights and learnings from the conference.

We sat down with Clarke-Whistler to get her thoughts on the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Q. What does sustainable business look like in 2030?

When we look nearly 20 years into the future, we see strong successful cities as centres of economic growth, driven by technological innovation and enabled by low-carbon systems and services.

Q: To achieve a low-carbon future, what's the biggest opportunity you see looking forward?

Electrification driven by reliable, low-carbon sources is by far the biggest opportunity. That means expanding our use of electricity to include heating, cooling and fuel where possible.

Q: What energy innovations are you most excited about?

Energy storage will allow us to move away from large, costly and non-resilient energy distribution systems. Think about solar power, for example – on-site storage could enable more homes to install solar panels that could store and provide energy as needed without homes having to rely solely on the energy grid. 

Click this infographic to learn more about TD's major environmental milestones.

Q: What impact do you see green bonds having in the transition to a low-carbon economy?

The low-carbon economy is one in which energy systems, goods and services, and social behaviours are optimized to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the global commitment to mitigate climate change impacts, Canada is transitioning toward a low-carbon economy. Green bonds provide a way for investors to support companies and governments in financing the transition. To date, TD has issued C$1.7 billion through two TD Green Bonds, including a USD $1 billion green bond in 2017 – one of the largest issued by a bank to date.

Q: What environment initiatives at TD are you most proud of from the last year?

Last year, we announced a set of initiatives that include a target of CDN $100 billion in low-carbon lending, financing, asset management and other programs by 2030 to advance the low-carbon economy of the future. In addition, we became one of 16 global banks participating in a banking sector pilot by the UNEP Finance Initiative to study the recommendations set out by the Financial Stability Board's Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures.  And finally, through the #TDCommonGround project, we helped revitalize over 150 green spaces across Canada for people to connect with one another, nature and their communities.

To learn more, visit Bloomberg's The Business of a Low-Carbon Future: Spotlight on Canada.