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Huma Pabani, senior manager, environment and national issues, at TD Bank.Provided

When Huma Pabani went camping as a Girl Guide, she was taught to leave campsites the way she found them so everyone could enjoy the beautiful natural space. This environmental-stewardship lesson shaped her thinking as an adult – and she feels fortunate to put her passion for sustainability to work at Toronto-based TD Bank Group.

At TD, the environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy reflects the Bank’s commitments in this space, and shows in the actions it takes to drive progress. “We know climate change is posing a risk to our planet, and we need to act urgently,” says Pabani, senior manager, environment and national issues, at TD Insurance. “It’s wonderful to work on ESG at a leading Canadian bank, where there’s a real desire to do meaningful, impactful work.”

In 2020, TD released its Climate Action Plan and became the first major bank in Canada to announce a target to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 across its operations and financing, in alignment with the principles of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. “While it’s a daunting goal, it’s very exciting to be part of the work to achieve this,” says Pabani. “We’re looking at our operations, supply chain and customer interactions to identify and address opportunities to reduce emissions.”

Since 1990, the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation has driven forward the Bank’s commitment to achieve growth while protecting the planet by providing over $100-million to more than 28,000 local environmental projects. This commitment is present in the TD culture, where colleagues are encouraged to participate in activities such as TD Tree Days, an initiative that has resulted in more than 435,000 trees being planted since 2010.

In 2019, Pabani attended training in Minneapolis as part of former U.S. vice-president Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, which trains people to become change-makers working toward climate solutions. “This work is a learning process,” she says. “It can be overwhelming at times, but we believe in the work, and there are many achievements we can celebrate along the way.”

Noah Brito, associate vice-president of enterprise decarbonization strategy, is helping TD continuously evolve and implement its Climate Action Plan. “Our stakeholders have been asking for accountability around carbon emissions in the finance industry,” he says. “TD has always done a lot of good in this space, but there’s an increased focus now, so we created a Climate Action Plan roadmap and an entire team to do this work.”

The 2050 net-zero goal is challenging, and TD must first account for both its operational and finance emissions. “It’s a multi-year journey that requires overcoming data challenges, along with internal and external collaboration, such as working with bodies like the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials and the Net Zero Banking Alliance,” says Brito. “We’re looking at science to tell us how to get to net zero so we can figure out where to focus our efforts.”

Brito has led the first 2030 financed emissions targets at TD. “Setting these targets is one of the first steps forward and achieving them will give me a great sense of accomplishment. But the work doesn’t stop there – we all need to keep moving forward one step at a time.” “In 2050, I’ll be 61 and I hope to see us achieve our net-zero target by then because that will mean the economy has moved in the right direction to fight climate change.”

Starting in April, Huma, Noah and TD employees across Canada will celebrate Earth Day, Earth Month and other initiatives that contribute to a more vibrant planet and greener tomorrow for all.

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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.

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