By Andrea Barack
Global Head, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship
TD Bank Group
Two years ago, we launched our corporate citizenship platform called the TD Ready Commitment. It was an evolution of a long history of social and environmental commitments – a more focused vision of what we believe in: an inclusive and sustainable tomorrow. But the complexities and challenges that society, governments and industries face make predicting the future, and how we will get there, no easy feat.
What we do know is that as a financial institution, we have a role to play. We believe that we are part of something larger than ourselves. We want to help enrich the lives of our customers, colleagues and communities so that they feel more confident about what tomorrow brings. The TD Ready Commitment is one of the ways we hope to do that. By linking our business, philanthropy and people, we want to help drive positive, tangible change so that more people feel as if they can achieve their goals in a changing world.
This past year, we worked to enhance how we support communities through our philanthropy and continued to track our progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And this week, the release of our 2019 environmental, social and governance report, along with our corporate citizenship report, helps us track and measure our path toward our environmental, sustainability, social and governance goals. By attaching metrics to the impact we are trying to drive, we are better positioned to deliver on helping to build more inclusive communities, transition to a low-carbon economy or to stimulate local economies by supporting small businesses, for example.
Upon the release of these reports, a key part of our overall corporate citizenship efforts, the two metrics that really stand apart for me on this journey is our support and investment in a transition to a low-carbon economy, which last year reached over $43 billion, compared to over $30 billion as of 2018. This is good news for our broader target of investing $100 billion, in total, in low-carbon lending, financing, asset management and internal corporate programs by 2030. We believe environmental, sustainability and governance action can go hand-in-hand with economic growth, and in 2019 these reports provide examples of our commitment to leading with purpose and investing in what matters to our colleagues, customers and communities.
Socially and economically, in 2019, TD provided $126 million to support non-profit organizations across North America and the U.K. through the TD Ready Commitment (up from $116 million in 2018). As a leading financial institution, one particular area of focus is financial literacy, for knowing how to manage finances is essential to navigating an increasingly complex world. In 2019, the number of participants in a TD-sponsored financial education program measured over 633,500 (up from over 530,400 in 2018), where participants gained access to the tools and know-how they need to improve their financial knowledge and feel confident about the future.
Our people, and their commitment to helping us achieve our goals is a huge part of this success. At more than 85,000 colleagues strong – we value their passion, expertise and opinions. We launched a new colleague engagement strategy called the TD Ready Commitment Network that provides opportunities for TD employees to develop professionally and personally, while helping contribute to positive change in their communities. You can learn more about this initiative and many more by viewing our reports.
Looking back since the launch of the TD Ready Commitment – I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. I want to thank my colleagues and our customers and community partners who have supported and inspired us along the way.