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Addressing our Environmental Challenge

Protecting the environment is an increasingly urgent imperative for all of us. As individuals and corporate citizens, we all have a responsibility to combat climate change and work toward a more sustainable world, and BMO has committed to doing so as part of our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life.

BMO distinguishes itself as an organization with a bold climate ambition—to be our clients’ lead partner in the transition to a net-zero world—as a leader in sustainable finance, and as an organization that’s been carbon neutral since 2010. We are also becoming a significant voice on climate issues, as well as a driver of solutions through the BMO Climate Institute. We also help to promote a sustainable future through financial support for organizations that advance sustainability and environmental responsibility.

This year, we are introducing to BMO Harris Mastercard holders the opportunity to donate 500 of their accumulated points to Conservation International, to help restore the Earth’s forests through the Mastercard Priceless Planet Coalition. We are also celebrating the second inaugural Trees from Trades trading day in Capital Markets, benefitting Priceless Planet Coalition, veritree and Tree Canada.

In addition to those partners, our Community Giving team donates to a variety of entities in both the non-profit and education sectors, focusing on initiatives that promote environmental awareness and engage in practical steps towards sustainability.

Advancing thought leadership

As the energy capital of Canada, Calgary has a central role to play in the transition to net zero, and we have made thought leadership in Calgary’s energy sector a priority of our climate ambition. That strategy underlies a donation we made to the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business to fund a new BMO Sustainable and Transition Finance Professorship. The professorship will examine practical applications for oil and gas companies, the investment sector, policymakers and bankers to implement in decarbonizing our energy supply.

The same intention underpins our support for the Institute for Sustainable Finance at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. The Institute is the first of its kind in Canada, a collaborative hub that brings the private and public sectors together with the academy in the drive to a common goal: achieving sustainable finance. Our gift will support the Institute’s initiatives in education, professional training, research and collaboration around market-based approaches to transitioning our economy to net zero.

While we recognize that environmental sustainability depends on new approaches to finance, we also know that it requires action on many other fronts as well. That is the impetus behind our creation of the BMO Financial Group Graduate Scholarship in Agriculture at Dalhousie University. Climate change will put increasing pressure on our food supply and will require us to adapt agricultural practices to new growing conditions. By supporting Dalhousie’s agriculture program, we are contributing to the growth of theoretical and practical knowledge in agriculture that will benefit us all.

A similar impulse underlies a donation we made to Yukon University’s Research Centre. Our contribution will support the establishment of a Permafrost Institute at the University. The funding will facilitate the expansion of field research capabilities, including those of a mobile unit that allows geoscientists, hydrologists and engineers to study permafrost in remote locations.

Supporting frontline environmental advocates

In the United States we became a Gold Legacy Sponsor of Ducks Unlimited through the donation of almost 900 prints of artworks by legendary Wisconsin artist Owen Gromme. Ducks Unlimited is one of the leading environmental organizations in North America, and it used the prints for fundraising in support of its efforts to conserve wetlands that are vital to the health of our ecosystems.

We are also a strong supporter of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). NCC is Canada’s leading not-for-profit private land conservation organization. It has a rich legacy of protecting habitat and biodiversity through land purchases, donations and land conservation agreements.

Thinking globally, acting locally

Finally, we are mindful of the need to promote environmental causes at the local level, in addition to those with wider scope. We have a longstanding partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden, a cultural destination and centre for plant collections, research, and education. This year marks the Garden’s 50th Anniversary, which we are helping to commemorate by sponsoring Flourish, its newest exhibition. Flourish will celebrate the anniversary by expanding visitors’ engagement with Garden spaces, nature, and the power of plants, as well as showcasing custom-designed and -built art installations.

Another local Chicago project that we are proud to support is the Sears Sunken Garden in North Lawndale. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, it is now being revitalized by the Trust for Public Land, which is actively engaging local residents in planning efforts as part of its drive to restore the site.

BMO’s support for organizations shaping the response to our growing environmental challenges reflects a dedication to sustainability in everything we do. By advancing research, promoting sustainable finance and helping to conserve natural habitats, we are putting our Purpose to work for all.

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