Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Erin Gillis, director, client strategy, works with teams across CIBC to develop sustainable banking solutions for clients.Provided

While the online Climate Centre offered by CIBC encourages clients to share the bank’s commitment to sustainability, it also supports Erin Gillis as she engages with colleagues in developing climate-related ideas.

The site invites visitors to explore “how to transition to low-carbon living while integrating climate action into their everyday life.” They can learn more about the real cost of food waste, for example, and how to save energy with the ‘Canada Greener Homes’ program.

“The site encourages consumer awareness,” says Gillis, CIBC’s director of client strategy, “and brings all our sustainable solutions for individuals and families to one place.”

Since it went live in 2022, Gillis and her team have added a wealth of new information, including a buyer’s guide to home electric vehicle chargers and a primer on sustainable investment choices.

“We’ve pulled in some existing banking solutions and added new ones,” she says. “As CIBC comes out with more solutions incorporating sustainability, we can post them there. The emphasis is on education, engaging with our teams, our clients and our communities, to help them to reduce their carbon footprint.”

At the same time as they edit and refine the site’s content, Gillis and her client strategy team gather climate-related ideas from CIBC employees and work with product developers, digital teams and other groups “to integrate sustainability into our personal and business banking operations,” she says.

Other teams across the bank invite her to make presentations to team members to alert them to CIBC’s climate-change initiatives.

“My role is to bring teams together,” she says, “and to make sure that what they do aligns with the overall strategy of the bank.”

To ensure this alignment, Gillis works closely with Josh Picov, executive vice-president, strategy and transformation, on CIBC’s personal and business banking team. Their team’s current initiatives are presented to the members of the bank’s senior executive environmental, social and governance (ESG) council. The council was established to ensure co-ordination on enterprise-wide ESG initiatives, enhance connectivity among leaders and team members and build awareness and knowledge throughout the bank.

“My job is to consolidate ideas and feedback from industry experts and leaders across the bank,” says Picov. “I share with the council what we’re hearing about climate change in client conversations, and what we’re doing to help them take charge of their own carbon footprint.”

Responsible for ensuring that CIBC’s retail business addresses current consumer trends, Picov works closely with Gillis on her climate-related activities.

“Erin’s spearheading a lot of innovative work across a range of solutions and she’s developing partnerships and educational resources for the Climate Centre,” says Picov. “Building a sustainable future is embedded in how we do business with clients, whether they’re in our retail, wealth management or capital markets business.”

For Gillis, the bank’s collaborative culture helps her to harness employee enthusiasm for sustainability in a way that reinforces CIBC’s environmental strategy.

“Sustainability isn’t a standalone program,” she says. “It’s just a matter of bringing everyone’s ideas all together. When you get that right, you can make a real impact.”

More from Canada’s Greenest Employers


Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

Interact with The Globe