Environmental and social risk management

To us, responsible lending is about mitigating risk while creating the conditions that drive a more sustainable future. We know finance is a powerful tool that can support the economy as well as social change.

Responsible lending

BMO integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into decision-making and activities relating to financing and lending. We have sector-specific financing guidelines to help us identify environmental and social issues in higher risk sectors, which require enhanced due diligence, escalations and exception processes. Restrictions are in place for lending to companies involved in:

  • the sale of firearms, ammunition and weapons banned by existing international arms control treaties;
  • the international transfer of military or civilian equipment for military or internal security purposes;
  • business activity affecting UNESCO World Heritage Sites or High Conservation Value Forests; and
  • it is the Bank’s intention to avoid direct financing for any project or transaction that involves exploration or development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Capturing opportunities

The overall impact of a financial institution of our size can be significant. This is an important issue for BMO, especially as we consider how we can best support the transition to a lower-carbon economy while acknowledging the ongoing importance of Canada’s energy sector and supporting our clients in that sector.

We also support investments in innovation. In 2019, BMO Capital Markets participated in C$7.9 billion in renewable energy and debt financing and provided C$4.2 billion of loan commitments to renewable entities and projects.

Equator principles reporting

BMO has been a signatory to the Equator Principles, a risk management framework for identifying, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in transactions that fall within their scope, since 2005. BMO recommitted to the principles in 2006 and 2012.

See our Equator Principles reporting for 2020. For 2011-2019 reporting, please see the Archived Reports section on the Reports page.

Environmental stewardship

Operational sustainability

Carbon neutral since 2010, BMO is dedicated to finding innovative ways to minimize the environmental impacts of our operations.

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