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HomePersonal BankingWealth ManagementSmall BusinessCommercialCorporate & InstitutionalAbout BMO

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How is Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability managed at BMO?

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Our Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Group is responsible for identifying and understanding the wide-ranging implications of sustainability issues that impact our business, and collaborating with various areas of the bank to address them. Business-related sustainability issues are managed within the relevant area of the bank.

Learn more about BMO ’s Corporate Responsibility Governance.

Does BMO have a board-level Sustainability Committee?

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Issues related to sustainability are covered in the mandates of our various committees, and are forwarded to the board for further consideration as required. BMO’s board committee structure is designed to help Board of Directors fulfill their oversight and governance responsibilities across the range of issues that a complex financial services company faces. Learn more about BMO’s Corporate Responsibility Governance.

How does BMO ensure employees conduct themselves ethically?

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Our Code of Conduct is called FirstPrinciples. It is our code of business conduct and ethics and reflects our commitment to doing what is fair, legal and right. Learn more about our Code of Conduct.

What is BMO’s approach to Stakeholder Engagement?

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We are continually seeking out opportunities to engage those stakeholders that are impacted by our activities. Our stakeholders include customers, shareholders, employees, communities, working groups and non-government organizations (NGOs). Learn more about engaging with stakeholders.

What is BMO’s philosophy on Diversity?

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Diversity is often thought of in terms of equitable opportunity regardless of gender, race, age, ethnicity, ability and sexual orientation. Yet diversity is also about the uniqueness of each individual – our personal stories, experiences, ideas, hopes and dreams. At BMO, our goal is to be a truly diverse organization – one that celebrates diversity in all its forms. Learn more...

How does BMO create a supportive work environment?

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BMO has an accessible website designed to assist employees in making informed decisions about their personal well-being, while also providing information on BMO’s principles, practices and supportive policies. Understanding that convenience is of the utmost importance to employees who are balancing work/life commitments, this website allows employees to also have access to information on our policies, programs, tools, and resources from the privacy and convenience of their own homes.

Learn more about the policies and practices that support BMO’s supportive work environment in BMO’s Employment Equity Narrative Report (PDF).

Does BMO have a human rights policy?

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BMO is committed to protecting and upholding established human rights. In 2008, we reviewed and benchmarked current BMO policies and processes concerning the rights of our employees and customers against best practices. Our examination confirmed that respect for human rights is deeply embedded in our corporate culture and all of our policies. BMO has multiple employee-related policies and best-practice processes that ensure that human rights legislation in any jurisdiction in which BMO operates are both honoured and protected.

Does BMO have an existing investment policy related to the arms industry or cluster munitions producers?

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When making a financing decision, in addition to regular credit criteria, BMO takes into consideration ethical, political, social and economic factors. BMO is not prepared to extend loans for transactions that are outside the national defense policies or international treaty obligations (such as NATO) of Canada and the U.S. and which have as their objective the international transfer of military equipment or civilian equipment for military or internal security purposes. Additionally, BMO will not finance companies that manufacture weapons banned by existing international arms control treaties of which Canada and/or the U.S. are signatories.

How is BMO engaging employees with respect to environmental issues?

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Encouraging our employees to participate in our environmental programs, and bring ideas to us has been a key priority. To facilitate this, we have an environmental email address where employees can send their questions, comments and suggestions. We also have an Employee Environment Site on the BMO intranet, which we launched on Earth Day in 2009. The Environmental Sustainability Office is supported by environmental ambassadors in raising employee awareness with environmental initiatives. Learn more...

Does BMO have an Environmental Policy?

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BMO has had an Environmental Policy since 1991. On April 30, 2008, we released our public environmental commitment entitled “Walking the Talk: Putting Commitment into Action.” The document sets out our approach to ensure we honour our commitment to minimizing the impacts of our operations on the environment and to demonstrating leadership by integrating environmental considerations into our business practices. Learn more about our Environmental Policy (PDF).

What does climate change mean to BMO?

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We acknowledge that our activities have an impact on the environment, both directly in terms of our own operations, and indirectly through our procurement practices and the products and services we provide to our customers. We are particularly concerned by the enormity of the problems posed by climate change. We agree with the conclusions of Sir Nicholas Stern in his review, The Economics of Climate Change that "climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world" while also having "serious impacts on growth and development."

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What is BMO doing to address its impact on climate change?

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We are committed to minimizing the impact of our global operations. We introduced the BMO ECO5 Strategy which provided us with an organizing framework to assist us with reducing the environmental impacts flowing from our operational activities. Learn more about our initiatives.

Do BMO’s risk, lending and investment policies and tools cover environment-related aspects?

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BMO's lines of business have issued detailed guidelines with respect to the criteria for the methodology employed in the assessment of environmental risk. The guidelines identify over fifty industries that are considered environmentally sensitive and which may require a heightened level of assessment. Additionally, our lending officers are provided with training on how to recognize environmental risks as part of their credit risk skills development program. We recently enhanced our corporate lending due diligence questions to account for credit risk associated with climate change. In addition, we have lending criteria on forest biodiversity, covering forest certification and activity in protected regions.

How is BMO’s environmental management system verified/audited/certified?

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Lending activities (such as compliance to lending directives for commercial/corporate customers, where credit support is directly or indirectly dependent on real estate assets, or the counterparty operates in an environmentally sensitive industry) are audited periodically by BMO Financial Group’s Corporate Audit Group. In December 2008, BMO was the first Canadian bank to achieve ISO 14001 environmental management systems certification at our 55 Bloor Street West location in Toronto, Ontario.

Does BMO participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)?

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Yes, BMO has been first a respondent and subsequently, a signatory investor in this annual disclosure exercise. As a signatory investor, we agree to put our name on the CDP information request

How do I get a copy of BMO’s current response to the CDP?

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BMO’s current response, as well as our previous responses, can be found at the following link: BMO Carbon Disclosure Project.

How do I order a printed copy of BMO’s Corporate Responsibility Report/Public Accountability Statement?

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If I still have questions, whom should I contact?

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For more information regarding corporate responsibility at BMO, please contact: corporate.responsibility@bmo.com.

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Glossary :

Biodiversity

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The total diversity of all organisms and ecosystems at various spatial scales (from genes to entire biomes).

Carbon footprint

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The total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, event, organization (or) product expressed as CO2 equivalent (CO2e).

Carbon neutral

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Refers to the achievement of net zero carbon emissions. BMO’s approach to going carbon neutral involves creating an inventory of our organization’s emissions (relative to travel for business purposes by employees and energy consumption in facilities), reducing these emissions wherever possible and purchasing renewable energy and high quality voluntary carbon offsets to mitigate any emissions that remain.

Carbon credit (offset)

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A credit for greenhouse gas reductions achieved by one party that can be purchased and used to compensate for (offset) the emissions of another party. Carbon offsets are typically measured in tonnes of CO2-equivalents (tCO2e) and are bought and sold through international brokers, online retailers and trading platforms.

(Source: Suzuki Foundation)

Climate change

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A long-term change of climate that can be attributed directly or indirectly to human activity, which alters the composition of the global atmosphere and exceeds natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

Corporate Social Responsibility

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While CSR does not have a universal definition, many see it as the private sector’s way of integrating the economic, social and environmental imperatives of their activities. As such, CSR closely resembles the business pursuit of sustainable development and the triple bottom line. In addition to integration into corporate structures and processes, CSR also frequently involves creating innovative and proactive solutions to societal and environmental challenges, as well as collaborating with both internal and external stakeholders to improve CSR performance.

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Founded in 1988 by the Government of Canada but now recognized worldwide, EcoLogo is a North American environmental standard and certification mark. EcoLogo provides customers – public, corporate and consumer – with assurance that the products and services bearing its logo meet stringent standards of environmental leadership. EcoLogo certifies environmental leaders in over 120 product and service categories, helping customers find the world’s most sustainable products.

Energy Star

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The international symbol of energy efficiency. The Energy Star symbol helps consumers quickly and easily identify home appliances and energy-using equipment that save energy. The symbol identifies products as high-efficiency performers in their category.

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Environmental Management System (EMS)

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A set of interrelated elements used to establish an organization's environmental policy and objectives. A properly functioning EMS allows an organization to document and implement the procedures needed to attain these objectives. It ensures that an organization is aware of the environmental impact of its activities, is taking steps to mitigate that impact, is able to determine the effectiveness of those steps and strives to continually improve its environmental performance.

Equivalent CO2 (carbon dioxide)

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CO2 equivalent (CO2e) is the universal unit of measurement used to indicate the global warming potential (GWP) of each of the six greenhouse gases, expressed in terms of the GWP of one unit of carbon dioxide. It is used to evaluate releasing (or avoiding releasing) different greenhouse gases against a common basis.

(Source: GHG Protocol).

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification

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FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. Forests are certified against a set of strict environmental and social standards, and fibre from certified forests is tracked all the way to the consumer through the chain of custody certification system.

FSC-certified papers may contain a combination of fibre from FSC-certified forests, post-consumer waste/recycled/reclaimed fibre or fibre whose source has been controlled. The FSC trains, accredits and monitors third-party certifiers around the world and establishes environmental and social standards against which forests are audited.

Greenhouse gas

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Gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere and clouds. This property causes the greenhouse effect. Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and ozone (O3) are the primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. There are a number of entirely human-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as the halocarbons and other chlorine- and bromine-containing substances.

Hazardous waste

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Discarded materials that require special disposal techniques to avoid creating health hazards, nuisances or environmental pollution. Hazardous waste can be solid, liquid, semi-solid or gaseous.

High Conservation Value Forests

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Forests that have one or more of the following attributes:

  • forest areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant: concentrations of biodiversity values (e.g. endemism, endangered species, refugia) and/or large landscape level forests, contained within, or containing the management unit, where viable populations of most if not all naturally occurring species exist in natural patterns of distribution and abundance
  • forest areas that are in or contain rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems
  • forest areas that provide basic services of nature in critical situations (e.g. watershed protection, erosion control)
  • forest areas fundamental to meeting basic needs of local communities (e.g. subsistence, health) and/or critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity (areas of cultural, ecological, economic or religious significance identified in cooperation with such local communities)

Human Rights

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Basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, language or other status. These include the rights of the individual to cultural, social, economic and educational opportunities as provided by society, such as the right to work, right to education and right to social security.

Indigenous peoples

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Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

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The tripartite United Nations agency that brings together governments, employers and workers of its member states in common action to promote international labour standards. Currently, a BMO representative acts as spokesperson with the ILO.

International labour standards

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A comprehensive system of instruments aimed at promoting opportunities for all people to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

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The world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries - one member per country - coordinated by a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO is a non-governmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. Some of its member institutes are part of the governmental structure of their countries, or are mandated by their government. Other members have their roots in the private sector, having been set up by national partnerships of industry associations. ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society.

ISO 14001:2004

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The requirements for an environmental management system, which enable an organization to develop and implement a policy and objectives that take into account legal requirements (and other requirements to which the organization subscribes) and information about significant environmental aspects. ISO 14001:2004 applies to environmental aspects that an organization identifies as those it can control and influence. It does not state specific environmental performance criteria.

BMO was the first Canadian Financial Institution to achieve ISO 14001 Certification for an office building. Learn more...

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

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Private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services or undertake community development (Source: The World Bank).

Post-consumer reclaimed material

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Wood and/or wood fibre that is reclaimed from a product after that product has been used for its intended end-use purpose, and has reached the end of its useful life for that end-use.

Project finance

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A method of funding in which the lender looks primarily to the revenues generated by a single project, both as the source of repayment and as security for the exposure. This type of financing is usually for large, complex and expensive installations that might include, for example, power plants, chemical processing plants, mines, transportation infrastructure, environment and telecommunications infrastructure.

Public Accountability Statement

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Banks and federally incorporated or registered trust and insurance firms with more than $1 billion in equity are required to publish information in the form of yearly Public Accountability Statements, describing their contribution to the Canadian economy and society.

Recycling

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Any activity that prevents the disposal of a material (or components of a material).

(Source: Environment Canada)

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)

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Making investments with an eye towards social, environmental and financial returns. Investors and funds screen companies that violate environmental, social or other values (across a wide variety of issues such as worker's rights, child labour, minority hiring practices, gender equality, environmental practices, animal rights, foreign investment and charitable giving) and refuse to invest in companies whose behaviours don’t pass the screens. There can be as many interpretations and prioritizations of issue screens as there are individuals.

Sustainable development

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Environmental, economic and social well-being for today and tomorrow. Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It consists of two key concepts:

  • the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

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UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)

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A unique global partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the private financial sector. UNEP FI works closely with over 160 financial institutions that are signatories to the UNEP FI Statements and a range of partners’ organizations to develop and promote linkages between the environment, sustainability and financial performance.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected. This common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations is comprised of 30 articles, which BMO publicly supports and applies.

Virgin wood

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Wood, whether in the form of roundwood, sawnwood or industrial co-products or by-products, which is traceable to non-recycled sources. Virgin wood fibre is fibre from virgin wood.

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Symbols

SymbolDescription
CO2carbon dioxide
CO2ecarbon dioxide equivalent
GJgigajoule
GWhgigawatt hour
kgkilogram
kmkilometre
kt/ykilotonne per year or thousand tonnes per year
kWkilowatt
kWhkilowatt hour
m3cubic metre
Mt/ymegatonne per year or million tonnes per year
MWmegawatt
ttonne
t/ytonnes per year