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HomePersonal BankingWealth ManagementSmall BusinessCommercialCorporate & InstitutionalAbout BMO

Environmental Program

Our plan of action

We want to be a leader amongst financial institutions in Canada in the area of Environmental Sustainability, specifically in the area of understanding and addressing the environmental impacts of our own operational footprint.

The BMO ECO5 Strategy


ISO 14001 Environmental Management System

In December 2008, BMO achieved ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems certification at our 55 Bloor Street West location in Toronto, Ontario, making us the first financial institution in Canada to achieve certification for an office building under this internationally recognized standard. Learn more...

We are currently in the process of certifying a second site, our Institute for Learning facility in Scarborough, Ontario.

BMO aims to be a leader amongst financial institutions in environmental sustainability, specifically understanding and addressing the environmental impacts of our own operational footprint. We’ve built our environmental sustainability strategy around five key BMO operational activities that have the potential to significantly impact the environment:

  1. Energy reduction and efficiency
  2. Sustainable transport
  3. Sustainable materials
  4. Waste management
  5. Sustainable procurement

These activities are continually revised to achieve greater environmental performance.

The BMO ECO5 Strategy is an organizational framework that helps us:

  • reduce environmental impacts from our operational activities
  • measure and reduce our company-wide greenhouse gas emissions
  • lower costs
  • gather environmental performance data and publicly report on performance; and
  • continuously improve our environmental performance

Energy reduction and efficiency

Energy reduction and efficiency program

“BMO’s purchase of clean, renewable power from Bullfrog is a significant step forward in its efforts to reduce its environmental impact. As one of the largest commercial purchasers of green power in Canada, BMO has demonstrated leadership among Canadian financial institutions.”

Tom Heintzman
Bullfrog Power

BMO aims to maximize energy conservation in our facilities. We continually upgrade infrastructure (such as lighting, HVAC, building envelope and control systems) to increase operating efficiency and employee comfort. Some of the ways we’re reducing energy consumption are highlighted below.

Retail branch energy audits

BMO’s retail branch portfolio makes up about half of our total carbon footprint. To identify energy efficiency opportunities, we have commissioned energy audits for a significant portion of our retail branches in Canada and the U.S. Energy audits target lighting, building envelope, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, controls, signage and plumbing. By improving energy efficiency, we are reducing energy consumption, improving employee and customer comfort and reducing our carbon footprint.

Remote monitoring within retail branches (Canada)

BMO worked with business units of United Technologies Corporation to create a system that allows cooling, heating, lighting, signage and security systems at 12 retail branches across Ontario to be remotely monitored and controlled from a central location. The innovative system is expected to yield reductions of 20% in electricity usage and 15% in natural gas consumption, as well as savings from lower operating costs and longer equipment life cycles.

LEED facilities

Over the past several years, BMO has undertaken a number of projects which are either registered for, or have achieved, LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED certification covers the design, construction and operation of green buildings and considers features such as energy-efficient heating and cooling, including energy recovery from exhaust air.

In Canada, three BMO branches are LEED-certified and one is awaiting certification under the Canadian Green Building Councils’ LEED (New Construction) certification program. In addition, a number of our office floor renovations have been submitted for registration under the LEED Commercial Interiors program.

In the U.S., we have two LEED-certified branches, one which is geothermally powered. A third branch, in the Chicago area, is registered and awaiting certification.

In 2011, BMO occupied a new, state-of-the-art customer contact facility in Mississauga, Ontario. The building is registered for LEED Core & Shell and Commercial Interiors certification. To learn more, read the press release.

IT hardware asset utilization

BMO received the 2008 Green Enterprise IT Award for IT Hardware Asset Utilization from the Uptime Institute for our reduction efforts. By eliminating 409 servers, 40 peripheral devices and two storage subsystems, our computer centre in the Greater Toronto Area reduced its energy consumption by 526 kilowatts – equivalent to the energy 430 average-sized homes would use in a year.

GREEN OFFICE designation

In 2010, our 658,000 square-foot office building in Chicago received GREEN OFFICE designation from leading sustainable real estate firm Hines. To achieve this, we satisfied at least 70 Leaf Credits by taking proactive steps to reduce energy consumption, waste profile and overall impact on the environment.

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Sustainable transport

Sustainable transport program

BMO aims to continually minimize the environmental impacts associated with transportation by personnel for business-related activities. Highlights of our sustainable transport program are listed below.

Reducing air travel

To reduce our fossil fuel consumption from air travel, BMO encourages our employees to use technological alternatives such as video-conferencing and teleconferencing whenever possible. BMO’s Audio Visual Services developed an online tool for BMO employees outlining the available collaboration technologies, which include TelePresence, VideoConference, WebCast and Teleconference.

Hybrid vehicles

We continue to focus on the fuel efficiency of vehicles in our service fleet. In Chicago, our employee motor pool consists of 20 hybrid sedans. In Canada, we have 62 hybrid vehicles, representing over half of our service vehicle fleet. As leases expire for conventional, gas-powered vehicles, we will continue to convert to greener alternatives. Across the enterprise, sixty per cent of our service vehicle fleet is comprised of hybrid vehicles.

Public transit passes

To reduce vehicle emissions, BMO encourages employees to use public transit when travelling to and from our offices. In the Toronto area, BMO has enrolled in the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) VIP Green Metropass Program, which allows companies to manage the purchase and distribution of discounted transit passes for their employees. In Vancouver, BMO participates in a similar program offered by TransLink, the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority.


We’re working to reduce congestion on our roadways. BMO partnered with Smart Commute Mississauga to create a Carpool Zone for employees at our Mississauga Customer Contact Centre. The program allows commuters to easily find people to carpool with, and helps reduce congestion and lower emissions. We hope to expand this program to feasible locations in the future.

BMO also participates in the Emergency Ride Home Program, which provides commuters with easy access to transportation alternatives in the event of a personal emergency.

Greenteam Courier

Greenteam Courier is a Toronto-based company that has eliminated motorized delivery vehicles from its fleet in the downtown core by using bicycle, foot and public transit couriers for pick-ups and deliveries. BMO Nesbitt Burns uses Greenteam for more than half their deliveries.

Right-day delivery

BMO partnered with Grand & Toy in Canada and Office Max in the U.S. to implement a right-day delivery service for office supplies to a number of our facilities. These vendors select particular days for delivery and consolidate our orders, reducing the frequency of trips to our offices and consequently, the number of trucks on the road. We expect the carbon emissions associated with Grand & Toy and Office Max delivery to be cut by 34% as a result of this initiative.

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Sustainable materials

Sustainable materials program

BMO aims to improve our efficiency in the use of materials. Highlights of our sustainable materials program are listed below.

Responsible paper use

We have introduced a number of initiatives to responsibly manage our paper consumption, including:

  • Purchasing 30% recycled-content paper for general office use
  • Setting print devices to duplex printing, and providing employees with helpful tips on reducing paper output
  • Encouraging paperless meetings
  • Offering electronic pay slips for employees with online access
  • Ordering office supplies and processing employee expense claims online
  • Encouraging customers to switch to electronic statements and discontinue delivery of paper-based statements
  • Eliminating or suppressing internal paper reports for retail branches

Building Materials

BMO continues to focus on using more sustainable materials in new construction and renovation projects for our facilities. We aim to:

  • Purchase locally manufactured materials and/or materials comprised of recycled content, to reduce our impact on the environment,
  • Choose materials containing low volatile organic compound (VOC) elements, to protect employee and customer health and comfort
  • Choose materials with a long lifespan, minimizing waste going to landfill.

Cleaning Products

To further protect the environment, we maximize the use of green cleaning products by janitorial services personnel in our facilities.

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Waste management

Waste management program

As an organization, we recognize waste is produced through our operations. Our goal is reduce waste going to landfill and promote recycling. Highlights of our waste management program are listed below:

Technology disposal program

BMO has a well-established technology disposal program designed to safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of our customers and employees, and minimize the environmental impact of disposing unwanted equipment. When possible, we donate equipment, including computers, fax machines and cell phones, to charitable organizations. Non-usable equipment is disposed of using environmentally friendly methods. Please see Environmental Performance for specific data.

Paper shredding and recycling

BMO partners with Iron Mountain®, a leading records and information management service, to provide secure shredding at all BMO facilities in Canada and the U.S. This provides added security for customers and employees. Iron Mountain tallies all paper captured, shredded and recycled, helping us to accurately measure our paper shredding and recycling efforts. Please see Environmental Performance for specific data.

Waste audits

BMO has initiated waste audits at several large, owned office and special-purpose facilities (e.g. processing centres, learning centre) over the past few years. The result of these formal reviews is a waste audit report and waste diversion work plan. We are using this information to better understand our current waste practices and implement improvements. To identify even more opportunities for improvement, we also completed waste audits for a small number of retail branches across Canada.

For leased facilities, we continue to work with landlords to promote awareness of building-specific waste practices, and we encourage our employees to take advantage of waste reduction and recycling opportunities.

Organics composting

We have organics-composting programs in a number of our major office facilities. Kitchen food waste and soiled kitchen/washroom paper towels are diverted from landfill for composting.

Hazardous materials

BMO is committed to ongoing compliance with applicable environmental legal requirements. Examples include:

  • Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) or equivalent programs in place, with building personnel and contractors thoroughly trained
  • Containment and reporting of spills as appropriate
  • Asbestos abatement programs as appropriate
  • Proper disposal of fluorescent tubes from building fixtures

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Sustainable procurement

Sustainable procurement program

BMO is committed to purchasing products and services from socially and environmentally responsible suppliers. We have a comprehensive sustainable procurement practice that includes environmental and social considerations in the process for evaluating and selecting suppliers across the enterprise. View the BMO Sustainable Procurement Questionnaire.

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