Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environment Officer, TD Bank Group
As I look back through my journal from the last year and a half, I realize how far we’ve come on our TD Forests journey and how this is very much a story of partnership and collaboration, one that involves hundreds of people in both Canada and the U.S. working together to grow and protect North American forests. The following reflections are based on my journal notes.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Just got our latest market research in and there were some interesting insights from our customers. When asked what the number 1 thing we could do for the environment was, our customers overwhelmingly said, “Use less paper.”
A young colleague said, “Now we’re carbon neutral, why don’t we go paper neutral?” Hhhmmm.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
More research and more interesting findings. It tells us that more than 90% of people feel that forests are personally important to them and that protecting forests and ecosystems should be a top priority.
Friday, February 17, 2012
At our team offsite planning meeting at the Toronto Brickworks, the TD Environment team took a long walk through the woodland trails there. We talked about the recent research and the fact that TD had been involved with forests for many years, through the work of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and with clients in the forestry sector.
An idea took hold, an idea for a big program built around “reduce and grow” that would see us help protect critical forests – generally under threat from urbanization – across our entire North American footprint equivalent to the paper we use.
“Reduce” would focus on paper reduction and responsible paper use. The “grow” element would not only focus on forest conservation, but on caring for and growing forest areas and green spaces in our cities and towns. This could bring together our various forest-related programs, such as TD Tree Days and TD Green Streets.
Monday, May 2, 2012
Met with the Nature Conservancy of Canada today – a great organization to work with. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been struggling to figure out how much forest equates to the paper we use and have had some great discussions around how many trees it takes to make a tonne of paper, what constitutes a tree, and how many trees are in a hectare of forest. And would our auditors approve? Profound stuff!
Monday, May 28, 2012
I had to laugh today at our weekly meeting. John Lounds [NCC CEO] announced that NCC staff and volunteers were at work counting trees on our behalf. “How?” I asked. “Oh, they’re out in the forest, counting them one by one,” he said. The blackflies!
John Lounds, CEO Nature Conservancy of Canada, addresses the group at the Backus Woods event
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Four of us from the TD Environment team set off for southwestern Ontario’s Norfolk Country this morning for an event that would celebrate the purchase of an addition to Backus Woods, the last of four Canadian properties TD Forests is helping to secure this year. It was dreary and wet. But when we arrived at the property, the sun came out. What a glorious afternoon we spent in this wonderful piece of Carolinian forest, walking through the woods and meeting the former owner, Paul Smith, who talked so movingly about his family’s history on this land and the decision to make sure it was protected in perpetuity. The value of helping to protect critical forests struck home for all of us. Norfolk County is home to 60 at-risk species, and it’s rewarding to know we’re playing a part in helping to preserve Canada’s Carolinian forest – we’ve lost 85 per cent of it. We all owe NCC a debt of gratitude for the work it’s done these past 50 years to make sure critical land is protected. We’re humbled and glad to be part of its work.
Walking in the forest at Backus Woods: John Lounds (left), Karen Clarke-Whistler and Paul Smith
Monday, April 30, 2013
It’s a new year in the life of TD Forests. Today, one of the first properties we’re helping to protect in 2013 was formally announced at an NCC event. I wish I could have been there and seen the property first-hand –30 hectares of beautiful maritime mixed forest and over 1.5 kilometres of shoreline at la pointe St-Pierre on the Gaspé Peninsula. Several TD people from the branch in Gaspé were able to be there – Marlène Lacasse, the local branch manager, said a few words on our behalf. “I cannot say how proud I was to represent TD at the event,” she wrote to me afterwards.
This is one of five Canadian properties we’re helping to protect this year. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that by the end of the year TD Forests will have helped protect critical forests in seven provinces. We are so lucky! Canada is home to 10 per cent of the world’s forests, including our boreal forest, one of the last large intact forest ecosystems in the world. I’m proud that we can play a part in stewardship of this valuable natural resource.
A proud moment: Marlène Lacasse at the Gaspé event