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By Bharat Masrani
• Mar. 4, 2021
Group President and Chief Executive Officer
TD Bank Group

Read TD's 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance Report: Adapting with Purpose

At TD, we believe that banking serves a higher purpose. Throughout 2020, our purpose guided our work to support our customers, communities and colleagues during a time of unprecedented disruption and hardship.

We continue to face the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our daily lives. We know that all crises end, and we are optimistic about the future. However, we also understand that the road to recovery may be long, with many challenges ahead.

As we rebuild together, TD recognizes that the commitment we make and the actions we take in support of our Environmental, Social and Governance Framework are critical in achieving a more inclusive and sustainable future for all. This Framework will continue to guide our contribution to recovery efforts and ongoing work to create the conditions for everyone to have the opportunity to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Early action and lasting impact

To address the growing impacts of COVID-19, TD launched new programs and initiatives to support those we serve and employ and to strengthen the communities in which we operate.

Customer support—As the health crisis led to economic hardship, we provided direct financial assistance to our customers and supported programs to extend much-needed government aid to enable thousands of households and businesses to navigate a challenging period. The investments we have made in technology and operations enabled us to work closely with governments to deploy billions in direct payments and stimulus through multiple programs across Canada and the United States.

Community resilience— COVID-19 touched everyone’s lives. However, many already vulnerable communities were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and experienced deeper economic and health impacts. We took early action and allocated $25 million through the newly established TD Community Resilience Initiative to help these communities and help promote a stronger recovery. We are focused on continuing to build, fund and support new programs to help those most impacted by the pandemic.

Combatting anti-Black racism—The past year has further shined a spotlight on racism and discrimination and their insidious impact on all facets of society. In 2020, we engaged in challenging conversations on racism, opening the door for meaningful change and inspiring us to take additional action. TD encouraged open dialogue, delivered new training initiatives across the enterprise and we challenged ourselves to do more. For example, we funded and formed deeper relationships with organizations that support diverse talent and economic inclusion in the community and established new targets for minority executive representation across the Bank, with a clear focus on Black and Indigenous communities.

Colleague commitment—Throughout the year, we remained committed to our colleagues. To help alleviate doubt during a stressful time, we committed to no job losses in 2020 for TD colleagues as a result of COVID-19. We took immediate steps to protect those who worked at TD locations, branches and stores and invested in technology to keep us connected with each other and with those we serve. At the height of the pandemic, we supported the redeployment of more than 5,000 colleagues to new areas of the Bank. We recognized our colleagues’ efforts with special payments to front-line teams and Bank-wide non-executive recognition awards and invested in their future with training and new skill development.

Climate change is a critical business and environmental imperative

TD has a long history of environmental leadership – we were the first major North American bank to become carbon neutral in 2010. We have also helped drive growth in the green, social and sustainability bond market, made significant progress on low-carbon lending, financing, asset management and internal corporate programs, and deployed millions in research and technological innovation.

In 2020, we built on these strong foundations and announced an ambitious Climate Action Plan, which includes a target to reach net-zero emissions across our operations and financing activities by 2050, aligned to the associated principles of the Paris Agreement. We were the first Canadian bank to set this target, and among only a handful across our footprint. We advanced our environmental commitments by publicly announcing that we will not provide new project-specific financial services for activities that are directly related to the exploration, development or production of oil and gas in the Arctic Circle.

We are focused on developing and promoting measurement and tracking methodologies, alongside national, industry and global organizations, to help measure our progress toward our 2050 targets. The Bank will continue to work with clients, including the energy sector, to deliver advice, financing and support as they build their transition strategies for a low-carbon future.

At TD, we take a balanced approach. We strongly support the transition to a low-carbon economy and are committed to our bold Climate Action Plan. At the same time, while this transition is taking place, we believe it is important to support responsible energy development to meet the needs of the economies in which we all live and work.

A culture of accountability

I am particularly proud that, for the seventh consecutive year, TD was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the only North American bank included in the ranking. ESG progress is the result of sustained, enterprise-wide effort to serve all our stakeholders.

We know we will only be fully successful when ESG informs how we run the Bank, the types of products, funds and services we offer our customers, the advice and financing we deliver to clients, and the way we manage risk. Through enhanced disclosures and clear metrics, we aim to measure what we target and report on our progress. From our Board to our most senior leaders and all across the front lines of the Bank, we are focused on embedding ESG principles into both our strategy and our operations. TD has linked senior executive compensation with the Bank’s ESG performance, further reinforcing the importance of ESG as a core component of TD’s business globally.

Investing in a more inclusive future

We have always invested in a more inclusive future within the Bank and across the communities we serve. Through the TD Ready Commitment, we continue to promote and contribute to better outcomes across our communities. In 2020 alone we invested more than $130 million in programs and the Bank will continue to advance a more inclusive future through our refreshed ESG Framework and the broader programs established in 2020.

The road to recovery

TD will meet the biggest challenges of our generation with determination and purpose. We will invest in what matters, further align societal progress with business performance, deploy our resources and leverage the talent of our 90,000 colleagues around the world to help build the Better Bank.

I want to thank all our stakeholders for your trust and support, and our colleagues for their tremendous efforts in a challenging year. I am confident that, together, we will overcome this period of disruption and emerge even stronger.

To learn more about our stories of impact in the communities we serve, explore our 2020 TD Ready Commitment Report, and find out how we are embedding climate-related considerations into our business in our 2020 Managing Climate-Related Risks and Opportunities Report.

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