TD is proud to employ more than 85,000 individuals across North America and around the world, many of them in unique roles that aren't often associated with financial institutions.
In our latest 'Meet TD' series, we introduce you to some of the people at the bank who come in every day to make our business more environmentally sustainable, and to address climate change in the communities we serve.
Not everyone's job can be described as continuously looking for opportunities.
But for Nicole Vadori, a routine day as associate vice president and head of environment at TD, means creating new relationships with leading global environmental organizations and working with various business lines at the bank to help build more sustainable products, strategies and initiatives.
"My team is always exploring ways to lead as a brand with purpose. It's about connecting our colleagues with stakeholders that will help us deliver something truly beneficial for our business, our communities, and for our planet," said Vadori. "There are endless opportunities to further embed sustainability into our business and demonstrate our leadership in the transition to the low-carbon economy. We want to create an outward ripple effect of change."
For instance, in October 2018, the bank announced a CAD $1 million contribution toward the development of the TD Sustainable Future Lab in Waterloo—the region's first cleantech accelerator designed to offer support and mentorship to startups that are working to develop sustainable solutions for a low-carbon economy.
The accelerator (which opened in December 2018), will support 40 cleantech startups over the next five years.
"Our focus on cleantech will position homegrown companies in the industry to compete and win in the global market. At the same time, cleantech presents one of the greatest opportunities to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy," she said.
Another point of pride for Vadori are historical milestones for the bank. In 2010, TD became the first carbon-neutral North American-based bank. And in 2014, the organization was the first Canadian bank to issue green bonds.
A fire that sparked a career
Because the decisions that Vadori and her team influence each day help to combat climate change and create a better quality of life, she says her role is deeply fulfilling.
"I never thought I would work at a big bank and yet here I am," said Vadori, whose interest in environmental conservation was sparked in grade school after watching a tire warehouse fire.
"There were huge clouds of smoke going into the air and you knew there was going to be a downstream impact in terms of contamination of water, land and air," she said. "I was devastated and kept asking myself: 'how could this happen?' "
Vadori eventually became a chemical engineer, working in an environmental engineering firm and then joined TD six years ago in the Graduate Leadership Program. After working in different areas of the bank, she eventually found herself on the Enterprise Real Estate environment team where she gained deeper insight into TD's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint through energy-saving branch design and operation strategies.
But Vadori's goal is to create change beyond TD. To do this, Vadori and her team broker opportunities that balance environmental sustainability with the need to finance initiatives that support economic growth.
Helping to design the bank's global corporate citizenship platform (known as The Ready Commitment), is how that balance comes to life. As part of the platform, TD is growing and enhancing green spaces to help create liveable, resilient communities and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. This includes a target of CDN $100 billion by 2030 through its lending, financing, asset management and other programs.
Since announcing the target in 2017, the bank has contributed CAD$30 billion to low-carbon initiatives which helped cut greenhouse gas emissions by 611,000 tonnes—offsetting the annual energy consumption of nearly 70,000 North American households.
Building consensus for global change
To affect real change, Vadori believes everyone has a part to play in environmental sustainability. A "huge" perk of Vadori's job is building consensus between colleagues eager to improve their businesses, to organizations influencing policy and sustainable business practices, to community groups out in the field creating green spaces.
Vadori said she is next looking forward to working closely with ALUS Canada, a not-for-profit organization the bank has recently sponsored helping farmers and ranchers conserve acres of land that will help clean the air, filter our water, create habitat for wildlife and provide other ecosystem services in communities across Canada. The organization does this by funding the restoration of farmland and wetlands, managing sustainable drainage systems, supporting reforestation programs, and establishing other ecologically beneficial projects on their properties.
"We are helping farmers and agriculture communities increase revenue from underutilized land, while building a stronger connection with these communities as we help to purify our air, water, and to rejuvenate the soil," said Vadori.
"It's being part of that ground level change beyond the bank walls that inspires me to come into work every day."