Energy and Carbon Efficiency

We work to reduce the energy use and carbon emissions associated with our activities, and collaborate with our group companies in their efforts to likewise reduce their impact. Finding ways to reduce energy consumption is essential to operating an efficient business. It enables the reduction of GHG emissions that contribute to climate change, while helping our businesses address the rising demand for, and cost of, energy.

Our Strategy

The majority of our business activities are undertaken at our location in Montréal, Québec. Our limited energy and carbon footprint is mostly tied to business travel and the use of electricity and natural gas at our Montréal head office. Our energy and carbon efficiency strategy is mainly focused on reducing the energy consumption and emissions from our office buildings.

Our Objective

2011-2020 OBJECTIVE*

8% reduction in consumption of electricity and natural gas at our head office properties by 2020, using 2011 as a baseline1.

* Reference: 2017 CDP/Q.CC3.1a/Abs 1 
1. Given our limited environmental footprint, going forward, we will be focusing our efforts on electricity and natural gas consumption at our head office properties, rather than on GHG emissions from these sources.

Decreased our consumption of natural gas and electricity at our head office properties by 12.6%, using 2011 as a baseline.

Steps Taken to Achieve our Objectives

Our corporate head office, which represents the majority of our operational footprint, has maintained its BOMA BEST® certification in 2016.

In 2016, with our subsidiary Square Victoria Real Estate, we also undertook the process to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification (EB 2009) of our Montréal office buildings.

Highlights from our Group Companies

Carbon performance

Great-West Lifeco has a strong commitment to minimizing its environmental impact. Participating in the annual CDP Climate Change program for a fourth consecutive year, Great-West Lifeco has earned a position on CDP’s 2016 Climate A List, placing it in the top 10% of companies globally, the only Canadian financial services company to do so.

IGM Financial is committed to transparency and accountability on climate issues, which is reflected in the many initiatives underway. These initiatives contributed to a 72% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions from 2013 to 2016. 2016 was the fourth year that IGM Financial has participated in the CDP survey, obtaining a score of A- and ranking in the top five financial services companies in Canada for the third year in a row.

Sustainable Buildings

GWL Realty Advisors is committed to improving the performance and sustainability of new and existing buildings within its managed portfolio. Between 2013 and 2016, the company achieved a 10% reduction in GHG emissions in its managed real estate portfolio. In 2016, all of Great-West Lifeco’s Canadian corporate head offices were certified BOMA BEST® Gold with the exception of one property currently at Silver. In 2016, a total of 22 awards were presented to properties managed by GWL Realty Advisors, including BOMA Canada’s prestigious National Earth Award, which was presented to the London Life RAM Centre. 

In 2016, GWL Realty Advisors has achieved a “Green Star” ranking from the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) survey for a second consecutive year. GWL Realty Advisors improved its position from the top 15% of 707 global participants in 2015 to the top 10% of 759 global participants in 2016, placing second overall in Canada among private real estate management firms. The company also scored well above the global average and the average for its North American peer group in each of the assessed categories. 

At the end of 2016, 10.9 million square feet of GWL Realty Advisors’ managed portfolio was LEED-certified, and, to date, 96% of the company’s eligible portfolio was either BOMA BEST® certified or actively pursuing certification.

In 2015, as part of their commitment to increasing their use of low-carbon, renewable energy and their objective of finding a sustainable way to heat Investors Group and Mackenzie Investments primary corporate offices with renewable natural gas, they entered into an agreement with Bullfrog Power, Canada’s leading green energy provider. This commitment resulted in annual savings of approximately 900 tonnes of CO2 equivalent at Investors Group and of over 200 tonnes of Scope 3 GHG emissions at Mackenzie in 2016.

In 2016, IGM Financial began purchasing green fuel and carbon offsets, reducing the impact of commercial air travel by 25%. It is also worth noting that 94% of IGM Financial’s corporate office space is in green-certified buildings.

In 2016, Investment Planning Counsel moved its head office to a LEED® Gold office complex with state-of-the-art energy and water efficiency, organic composting and recycling and employee collaboration and fitness facilities. The office was built with a focus on environmentally sustainable construction materials.

High Efficiency Data Centre

IGM Financial and Great-West Lifeco’s state-of-the-art data processing facility in Winnipeg integrates industry best practices to limit its environmental footprint while maintaining stringent data security and availability requirements. The data centre has significant environmental features and high-efficiency systems that reduce power consumption and GHG emissions.


Launched in 2015, Investors Group’s Green Committee is an employee-led committee which aims to promote initiatives in four key areas: waste management and recycling, paper reduction, travel and commuting, and energy conservation. Annual events include Winnipeg’s Earth Day clean-up, the city’s Commuter Challenge, and Bike Week. The four sub-committees also meet regularly to motivate constant improvements in these areas. An example of the employees’ impact on the company’s footprint is the savings of over 700 tonnes of CO2 generated by using company-supported public transit options, compared to driving their cars to work. 

In 2016, Investors Group also supported organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Green Action Centre, Green Kids, Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Fort Whyte Alive, Earth Day Canada and GoManitoba. It also took a leadership role in Manitoba Race to Reduce, a challenge where commercial building landlords and tenants publicly commit to work together to reduce the total collective energy use in participating buildings by at least 10% over four years.

A Corporate Properties Sustainability Working Group was also established at Great-West Life to help direct sustainability initiatives with a particular focus on GHG reductions through various building retrofits at its multiple locations, but also best practices sharing and employee engagement events.

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