By Melissa J. Anderson

Recently TD Bank released its 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report which highlights the Bank’s focus on sustainability. According to FastCompany, TD Bank has been a leader in the green space for many years. Ariel Schwartz wrote:

“It’s not easy to quantify sustainability, but it’s pretty safe to say that TD Bank is now one of the greenest banks in the U.S. The company recently announced that it is the largest U.S.-based bank to achieve carbon neutrality. That means all of the bank’s energy use is offset by various energy-saving practices.”

Among other efforts, the report explains that TD is now the largest US Bank to go “carbon neutral,” offsetting carbon emissions with investments in renewable energy sources, greener buildings, and energy efficiency.

Bharat Masrani, president and CEO of TD Bank, said, “Developing green stores isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense too.” He continued, “To us, being environmentally responsible is fundamental to being the better bank.”

But what’s really interesting about TD’s commitment to sustainability is that it’s based in large part around employee enthusiasm.

Employee Support for Sustainability

Part of TD’s commitment to sustainability is based on community interest. As Elizabeth K. Warn, President of the TD Charitable Foundation and Executive Vice President of Community Relations at TD Bank, said, “Having the opportunity to positively impact the communities where we do business is both a privilege and a responsibility.” She continued, “For us, making an impact means contributing to the social and economic development of our communities throughout the TD Bank footprint.”

But according to Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environment Officer at TD Bank Group, TD’s employees are a driving force behind its green commitment. In a recent video interview with the Network for Business Sustainability, she explained that the bank’s workforce is composed of “our biggest environmental and sustainability advocates.”

She continued:

“We have a very engaged group of employees people are very proud to work at TD and certainly part of that pride rests in the fact that TD has always had very strong policies and actions around the environment, around community, around diversity – so we have an engaged group of people.”

In fact, last year Maclean’s Magazine performed a survey of Canada’s top companies measuring their commitment to sustainability, and TD bank came out ahead of the game. According to the survey:

  • 80% of TD employees said TD “…helped me gain a good understanding of efforts to become more socially and environmentally responsible,” compared with 74% of employees within the other companies.
  • 81% agreed with “This organization effectively communicates the actions we are taking to minimize our impact on the environment,” compared to just 67% of the other companies.

Sustainability and Stakeholder Interest

And what exactly have those enthusiastic employees advocated for? Shwartz explained:

“Those practices include investments in wind, solar, and low-impact hydro power (including a block of wind energy that is large enough to power the bank’s 2,600 ATMs) and 31,000 metric tons in carbon offset credits. TD Bank also plans to open up a LEED Platinum prototype bank later this spring in Queens Village, New York. The 3,800-foot bank will cut energy consumption by 50% compared to standard TD Bank designs thanks to on-site solar panels, solar drive-thru canopies, insulated glass, and water-efficient plumbing fixtures. If all goes well with the Queens Village prototype, TD Bank expects to open five to 10 green prototype stores by the end of 2010.”

TD Bank is thinking ahead regarding its customer desires, as well as its employees’ concerns. By taking an action on stakeholder interests, TD is building an employer brand as the Bank to work for if you’re a passionate about sustainability and you want to work with other progressive-minded folks.