Responsible Banking

We believe that our environmental responsibilities and business objectives are connected, as a healthy environment fosters sustainable economic growth.

photo windmillphoto windmill
CIBC aspires to be a leader in
environmental performance.

Why it’s Important to CIBC

We recognize the importance of environmental issues and the role we can play in sustainable development. CIBC understands that our stakeholders are engaged and impacted by the critical issues related to the environment and that we need to be responsive in addressing their feedback.

Management Approach

Our management approach is to conduct our business activities in an environmentally responsible manner in accordance with our environmental policy. Policy implementation is the responsibility of the Environmental Risk Management (ERM) group. This group engages with the bank's businesses and functional groups to facilitate policy and program implementation and best practices across the firm. This group also maintains an Environmental Management System, which follows an ISO 14001 framework that is used to implement environmental policy requirements. Detailed program requirements are articulated in standards, procedures, and guidelines governing environmental management, including the Environmentally Responsible Procurement Standard and the Environmental Credit Risk Management Standards and Procedures.

Our governance framework reinforces the high standards of ethical and professional conduct we expect from our employees. We apply the same level of commitment and scrutiny to our financial transactions in order to ensure we are managing, investing and lending funds in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

Environmental evaluations are integrated into our credit and investment risk assessment processes, with environmental risk management standards and procedures in place for all sectors. In addition, environmental and social risk assessments in project finance, project-related corporate loans and related bridge loans are required in accordance with our commitment to the Equator Principles, a risk management framework for the financial industry.

For large projects, the ERM group may complete site visits to assess environmental compliance and management.

Our Global Reputation and Legal Risks policy sets standards that help identify potential reputation risks associated with certain financial transactions, and also includes a process for escalating issues that require further scrutiny to senior management, and if appropriate, to CIBC’s Reputation and Legal Risks Committee. CIBC’s lending standards also prohibit lending to companies that manufacture or trade in equipment or material for cluster munitions.

CIBC conducts ongoing research and benchmarking on environmental issues, such as climate change, as they may pertain to responsible lending practices. CIBC participates in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s climate change program, which promotes corporate disclosure to the investment community on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change management.

The ERM group works closely with our main business units and functional and support groups to ensure that high standards of environmental responsibility are applied to the banking services that we provide to our clients, the relationships we have with our stakeholders, and to the way we manage our facilities. An executive-level Environmental Management Committee is in place to provide input on environmental strategy and oversight of CIBC’s environmental initiatives.

2017 Performance

CIBC conducts environmental due diligence as an integral part of our credit review process for financial transactions. The number of transactions requiring detailed review varies from year to year, influenced by our client mix in a given year. In 2017, CIBC’s ERM group reviewed and advised on 1,009 transactions.

For more details on our environmental programs and our environmental performance data, please visit the CIBC and the Environment section on our website.

  • Transactions Reviewed and Advised by ERM2017:1009, 2016: 1012, 2015:827

Across all CIBC businesses we are encouraging our team and our clients to go paperless to reduce our environmental impact:

  • Since 2015, our internal paper use has decreased by more than 22% per full-time equivalent employee;
  • Our 3.2 million mobile banking clients have easily transitioned to paperless through mobile banking, INTERAC e-TRANSFER, eStatement, and CIBC eDeposit options;
  • Team members are encouraged to select electronic tax slip delivery and other paperless options wherever possible; and
  • Shareholders and team members are offered electronic delivery of the CIBC Annual Report.
image CIBC Square image CIBC Square

CIBC Square, our new global headquarters coming to downtown Toronto in 2020, is being built with sustainability in mind, targeting LEED Platinum certification – the highest level under the LEED green building rating system. CIBC Square will connect to all modes of transportation, while a series of pedestrian-friendly pathways will provide access to downtown Toronto's PATH network, businesses and amenities. The site will also feature a one-acre elevated park to serve as an urban outdoor space for CIBC employees, clients and the public.

Over 19,000 pieces of office furniture recycled in 2017.

Employees help to clean up Canadian shorelines to celebrate CIBC’s My Environment Day.

image CIBC Environment Day image CIBC Environment Day

Responsible Finance

CIBC’s Environmental Credit Risk Management Standards and Procedures help employees involved in lending to identify environmental risks pertaining to credit evaluation and financing. The Standards require different levels of environmental due diligence depending on the level of identified risk. Lending opportunities that may pose environmental risks for CIBC are further assessed by our Environmental Risk Management (ERM) group.

The ERM group actively engages with transaction stakeholders and provides training for applicable CIBC employees as required. In addition to protecting the bank from undesired risks, our environmental review process often helps our clients better understand and effectively manage their own risks and liabilities.

CIBC conducts environmental risk assessments of our financial transactions as an integral part of our due diligence process. In 2017, CIBC’s ERM group reviewed and advised on more than 1,000 transactions worth $13.7 billion.

The Equator Principles are a voluntary financial industry benchmark for assessing and managing environmental and social risk in project financing. They have been incorporated into CIBC’s environmental due diligence requirements since 2007. The ERM group conducts regular training across the bank to ensure lending and risk adjudication groups are current with the requirements of Equator Principles.

All Equator Principles-applicable transactions are reviewed by the ERM group. In fiscal 2017, we financed six projects for which the Equator Principles were applicable and reached financial close.

As part of our environmental strategy, CIBC provides innovative financial solutions to our clients in environment-related sectors. Our Capital Markets team is at the forefront of financing new and innovative projects that contribute to cleaner, alternative or renewable energy supplies, including biogas, biomass, district energy systems, hydroelectric, solar and wind. In the last five years, CIBC lent $1.6 billion, including $380 million in 2017, towards financing renewable power projects.

photo Gemini turbine photo Gemini turbine

“CIBC continues to support Northland Power in the growth of our renewables franchise in the North Sea. Through the Gemini Wind Farm project starting in 2014 and the more recent Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm, CIBC has been a key lender that helped us raise sufficient capital for these multi-billion dollar renewable power generation projects.”

John Brace, CEO, Northland Power

CIBC Capital Markets is a member of the Green Bond Principles initiative. These voluntary guidelines are designed to promote integrity in the green bond market where capital is raised to fund projects with environmental benefits.

Responsible Investing

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues can affect investment performance, and CIBC Asset Management (CAM) considers these factors as part of our regular investment research process.

CAM has a rigorous Canadian equity research process that includes an evaluation of the general environmental and social policies of a company to assess their possible impact on stock performance. We also consider the quality and governance practices of corporate boards. To support our process, CAM subscribes to and uses the research provided by Sustainalytics, an independent firm that assesses the ESG performance of global companies. Attention to these issues is central to our broader client investment objectives, not just the objectives of clients specifically interested in responsible investments.

The CAM Proxy Voting Guidelines applied to all equity accounts are consistent with the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. We take our responsibility as shareholders seriously and many votes, including all controversial votes, are subjected to close scrutiny by the CAM equity investment team. As part of our due diligence, a company’s management team, board members and others may be consulted before a vote is cast.

CAM manages a family of equity and fixed income portfolios with specific Responsible Investment (RI) mandates. These RI portfolios do not hold securities of any company where the primary business is the sale of tobacco, alcohol or weaponry, or that has major operations in countries that disregard human rights.

CIBC’s RI holdings include mutual funds as well as institutional mandates managed on behalf of our clients. As of October 31, 2017:

  • CIBC Wood Gundy held $62.2 million, and CIBC Investor Services Inc. held $22.9 million in RI retail mutual fund assets representing both Responsible Investment Association member and non-member-promoted funds;
  • CIBC Asset Management had $367.9 million in RIs on behalf of clients managed on a segregated account basis; and
  • Our US Region Commercial Banking and Wealth Management business held US$597.5 million.

In 2017, CAM became a signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, a global network of asset owners, investment managers and service providers who are committed to integrating ESG factors into their investment practices, analyses and decision-making processes.

“Becoming a part of this important global initiative reinforces and furthers our dedication to responsible investing and the application of ESG principles to our everyday investing decisions. CIBC stands by and supports these principles, and we are pleased to advance our commitment.”

David Scandiffio, President and CEO, CIBC Asset Management

Supply Chain

We have a fair, transparent and disciplined sourcing and procurement process to evaluate, contract with and govern our suppliers.

Procedures are in place to assess supplier risk and to govern our contracted supplier relationships. Our Supplier Governance Program, Enterprise Supplier Governance Office and Executive-level Enterprise Sourcing Committee govern our bank’s sourcing activities across a broad range of suppliers. Each of our contracted suppliers is evaluated on comprehensive criteria, including their social and environmental initiatives.

Ethical Sourcing and Supplier Labour Practices

To ensure alignment and compliance with our standards, policies and expectations, our contracted suppliers must abide by our global Supplier Code of Conduct, commit to living up to our core values and meet the highest standards of ethical and professional behaviour.

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In addition, to comply with the U.K. Modern Slavery Act, CIBC’s statement sets out the steps taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking in our business and supply chains.

Our Supplier Diversity program helps us to identify and build on the current diversity within our supply chain to ensure our suppliers represent the clients and communities we serve.

CIBC is proud to be a member of the following organizations that support our intentions to use and develop diverse suppliers.

  • Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) – an organization that certifies firms that are at least 51% owned and operated by aboriginals and visible minorities;
  • Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Canada – an organization that certifies firms that are at least 51% owned and operated by women; and
  • Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) – an organization that certifies firms that are at least 51% LGBT owned and operated.

Environmentally Responsible Procurement

CIBC is committed to working with suppliers who share our level of respect for the environment and who provide a safe and respectful workplace for their employees. CIBC’s Environmentally Responsible Procurement Standard describes the requirements for the procurement of goods and services that may be associated with significant adverse environmental impacts.

Alongside standard request for proposal and request for information criteria, environmental criteria are considered during the supplier selection process. CIBC continues to monitor supplier environmental performance as part of our overall supplier management process, including an ongoing requirement for suppliers to complete a questionnaire at least every two years.

Through the supplier questionnaire, CIBC gathers and reviews supplier information pertaining to: environmental management systems; environmental initiatives and performance; environmental violations; product stewardship; forestry practices; and third-party certifications.

CIBC procures paper from sources that are environmentally and socially responsible, with a preference for FSC-certified stock. In 2017 more than 98% of CIBC’s total paper consumption was FSC-certified.

When purchasing technology goods and services, CIBC incorporates environmental considerations through the use of a Technical Performance Assessment. We consider many factors including the space needed to house the equipment, service life, recyclability, and energy efficiency.

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