Energy and Carbon Efficiency
We work to reduce the energy use and environmental impacts 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 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change, while helping our businesses address the rising demand for, and cost of, energy.
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 and at our Toronto office. Our energy and carbon efficiency strategy is mainly focused on reducing the energy consumption from our office buildings.
8 per cent reduction in consumption of electricity and natural gas at our head office properties by 2020, using 2011 as a baseline1.* Reference: 2019 CDP/Q.C4.1a/Abs 1 1. Given our limited environmental footprint, we are focusing our efforts on electricity and natural gas consumption at our head office properties, rather than on GHG emissions from these sources.
Achieved a 27 per cent reduction in energy consumption (electricity and natural gas) in 2019.
Reduced our emissions from building sources (electricity and natural gas only) by 61 per cent in 2019.
Steps Taken to Achieve our Objectives
Several upgrades are budgeted and planned every year to continue making progress towards our energy efficiency objectives. For instance, in 2019, projects undertaken by our wholly owned real estate subsidiary included the replacement of exterior building lighting for LEDs, as well as updates to its tenant base building lighting to install LEDs as they renovate.
Highlights from our Group Companies
Great-West Lifeco has a strong commitment to minimizing its environmental footprint, to reporting high-quality emissions data and reducing emissions across its operations. Great-West Lifeco has set a target to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 27.3 per cent at its owner-occupied and investment properties in Canada by 2025, and 50.4 per cent by 2036, using 2013 as a baseline. From 2013 to 2019, Great-West Lifeco achieved a 12.7 per cent reduction in its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions in scope for their targets. Throughout 2019, its property and asset management teams worked to reduce GHGs through realistic and cost-effective projects, such as property retrofits, operational enhancements and through encouraging behaviour changes. In 2019, Great-West Lifeco received an A- (Leadership) score from the CDP, achieving the highest rating among Canadian insurance companies for the fifth consecutive year.
IGM Financial also continued to take action on climate change. The company obtained a score of A (Leadership) for their response to the 2019 CDP questionnaire, earning a spot on the A List for the second consecutive year. IGM Financial is the only Canadian firm to be included in the A List for 2019. IGM Financial has set short- and long-term GHG emission reduction targets using 2013 as a base year. The objective is to achieve a 40 per cent reduction in absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions from energy use at owned assets by 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction by 2036. In 2019, IGM Financial achieved a 64 per cent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions since its baseline year of 2013. IGM Financial has also established the target of 80 per cent of Scope 1 natural gas to be renewable by 2020.
At IGM Financial, employees are also encouraged to consider their business travel requirements carefully and, to the extent possible, the company has transitioned to videoconferencing and online training to reduce travel needs and costs. In 2016, they began purchasing green fuel and carbon offsets, which further reduced the impact of commercial air travel by approximately 65 per cent in 2019.
Pargesa takes an environmentally responsible approach to its business activities, focusing its efforts on energy efficiency, the use of alternative energies, and reducing waste, particularly plastic waste. Pargesa is committed to become a carbon-neutral company in 2020 by reducing its GHG emissions and offsetting any unavoidable emissions, through its involvement with the Gold Standard and CDM carbon-offsetting initiatives, which reward robust environmental strategies. In that perspective, a carbon footprint assessment (Scope 1 and 2 and partial Scope 3) was conducted in 2019 in partnership with two independent institutes, Myclimate and ecoLive. This will enable Pargesa to identify the steps it can take to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and waste, and to determine how best to offset emissions in order to achieve the goal of becoming carbon neutral.
Imerys renewed in 2019 its commitment to the French Business Climate Pledge, through which the group publicly affirms its engagement to contribute to the collective efforts to combat climate change, drawing up a roadmap compatible with the international commitments formulated in the Paris Agreement. Imerys also signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in 2018 and, in the following year, set GHG emissions reduction targets, which were subsequently approved by the SBTi. Imerys pledged to define its Climate Change strategy aligning its emission targets and trajectory to a 2° C scenario through a 36 per cent targeted reduction of Scope 1 and 2 emissions relative to revenue by 2030 (from a baseline year 2018) and for Scope 3 indirect emissions by requiring its suppliers to commit to a low-carbon trajectory. The company is also a member of act4nature and has established a three-year partnership with UMS Patrimoine Naturel for biodiversity.
Great-West Lifeco's subsidiary, GWL Realty Advisors, is contributing to more safe, resilient and sustainable real estate assets. Its goal is to accelerate progress towards meeting the demand for smarter, climate-resilient, more sustainable and healthier buildings for tenants and residents. Through its leadership and expertise, GWL Realty Advisors believes it can have the greatest impact by influencing the development of sustainable cities and communities; encouraging more responsible consumption and production within its managed portfolio; and reducing the energy and carbon footprint of its clients’ portfolios to support the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
Its Sustainability Benchmarking and Conservation Program covers its managed office properties, setting out five-year reduction targets for each of these properties, and using industry benchmarks and regional averages to gauge performance. GWL Realty Advisors reported that since 2013, it reduced its office and residential portfolios GHG emissions by 16 per cent, energy intensity by 9.5 per cent, water intensity by 14.2 per cent and waste to landfill by 4.9 per cent. In the five first years of the program (2013-2018), total reductions led to a cumulative utility cost avoidance of $8.2 million for its tenants and benefitted the environment by reducing GHG emissions by 21.7 per cent. Thanks to the sustained efforts of GWL Realty Advisors’ property and asset management teams, its office properties are now, on average, 18 per cent more energy efficient and 38 per cent more water efficient than the REALPAC-reported national office property averages, while the average waste diversion rate is two per cent better than the national average for BOMA BEST® certified offices. In 2019, new five-year (2018–2023) property-level targets were established for energy, water, waste and GHG emissions.
A majority of the buildings under GWL Realty Advisors’ management also have green building certifications, and a range of sustainability features that are enhancing the health, wellness and environmental performance of buildings for their tenants. To date, 92 per cent of its eligible commercial portfolio by floor area has a green building certification, BOMA BEST® and/or LEED®, representing over 37.8 million square feet of its managed portfolio. In 2019, the company launched the “Going for Gold” challenge, to encourage office properties to achieve a minimum ‘Gold’ BOMA BEST® certification by 2023. And in 2019, Canada Life’s London office received BOMA BEST Platinum certification, making it the first of their buildings to earn this level of certification. In addition, BOMA Québec honoured their Montréal office with The Outstanding Building of the Year Award, which recognizes excellence in building management and all facets of operating, including community involvement and environmental and sustainability management.
In 2019, GWL Realty Advisors was recognized as a leader in sustainability by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), placing among the top 10 per cent of 964 companies globally and the top four per cent in the Global Diversified category, and earning a Green Star ranking for the fifth consecutive year as well as a third consecutive GRESB ‘5 Star’ rating. In addition to being recognized as a leader in the field, its score increased 18 per cent from its first submission in 2015.
Since 2015, IGM Financial has purchased green natural gas to match the annual conventional natural gas used at the IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie Investments head offices. Not only does this investment lower its GHG emissions enough to exceed its 2020 goal, it also supports the development of the renewable energy industry in Canada. A hundred per cent of electricity and natural gas used in IGM Financial’s owned premises is from low-carbon sources.
EMPLOYEE AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
The IGM Financial Green Council is responsible for creating a consistent culture of environmental awareness and practices across its operating companies. The council empowers employee green committees, which are the drivers of many of the company's initiatives to reduce paper, waste and energy consumption – and key to achieving the reduction targets.
IG Wealth Management participates in the Manitoba Race to Reduce initiative both in a leadership advisory role and by actively participating in the race to reduce energy use at the head office building it owns. Race to Reduce is a challenge which began in 2017, 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 per cent over four years.
Great-West Lifeco’s commitment to the environment extends beyond its own operations and into the communities where it lives and works each day, including through the following initiatives. In 2019, Canada Life announced a five-year pledge supporting Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Conservation Volunteers program, allowing them to connect Canadians with nature across the country and provide a meaningful, hands-on educational experience in some of our country’s most precious natural areas. Earth Rangers is a kids’ conservation organization whose free programs aim to instill environmental knowledge, positivity and the confidence to take action. Canada Life’s commitment to the Earth Rangers School Assembly Program helped them visit First Nations communities to inspire students in Grades 1–6 to take conservation action. Developed in partnership with the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, the program incorporates Indigenous traditional knowledge and cooperative, collective teaching styles. The program highlights the important contributions Indigenous people have made, and continue to make, to conservation.
At Imerys, energy workshops are organized to raise awareness and bring ideas related to various energy efficiency topics. Numerous energy-related e-learning modules are also available on IM-Pulse to provide an overview of Imerys energy strategy as well as knowledge and awareness on energy efficiency. Imerys has also conducted eight virtual classes with more than 800 attendees on various specific energy-related topics such as KPIs, loss analysis, motors, rotary dryers, dryers, fluid bed dryers, contract optimization and supplier relationships. A dedicated energy community on the group’s intranet serves as a platform to share knowledge, good practices and events related to energy. Since 2017, an Energy Challenge has been held to promote best practices development and sharing across the operations and energy communities of Imerys.