Who we are
As Canada’s largest communications company, we strive to lead in creating an environmentally sustainable future through responsible management of the environment and mitigating the effects of climate change. Our stakeholders expect that our environmental leadershipfootnote 1 be defined by bold action, so we are making meaningful progress toward optimal resource use, reducing our GHG footprint, effective waste reduction and proven circular economy practices.
To deliver on our strategic imperative to engage and invest in our people and create a sustainable future, we endeavour to limit our environmental impact throughout our operations, network and in our solutions. We strive for energy efficiency and resistant to climate-related disruptions, while delivering cost efficiency to both us and to our customers.
|Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions||Carbon neutral operations target starting in 2025footnote 2||256,325||–3.3%||PwC (Scope 1 and 2 emissions and YoY change)footnote 3||Improving|
|Science-based targets (SBTs)footnote 4|
|1) Reduce our absolute scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions 58% by 2030, from a 2020 base yearfootnote 5||–2.5%||–3.3 percentage points||PwC||Improving|
|2) Reach 64% of our suppliers by spend covering purchased goods and services with science-based targets by 2026||26%||+11 percentage points||Data not available||Improving|
|3) Reduce our absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from categories other than purchased goods and services 42% by 2030, from a 2020 base yearfootnote 6||–12.1%||-0.1 percentage points||Data not available||Improving|
|Circular Economy||Waste reduction: Reach and maintain a 15% reduction in total waste sent to landfill by 2025, from a 2019 base year||–8%||Improved by 3 percentage points||PwC||Improving|
|Hazardous waste: Divert 100% of generated hazardous waste to certified recyclers by 2024||99%||No change||PwC||Stable|
|E-waste recovery: Recover 7 million used TV receivers, modems, mobile phones and WiFi pods between January 1, 2021 and the end of 2023||4,788,779||+2,326,681 68% of our 2023 target reached||PwC||Improving|
|Management approach tagGRI 102-56||Maintain ISO 14001 certification||Certified||Maintained 14th year in a row||Bureau Veritas||Achieved|
|Maintain ISO 50001 certification||Certified||Maintained 3rd year in a row||Bureau Veritas||Achieved|
Our Environmental Management System (EMS) powers our environmental leadership, informing our actions to adapt to emerging environmental impacts and future challenges. Demonstrated environmental leadership helps us attract and retain skilled team members and customers, reduces risk and encourages investment in our company.
Bell’s leadership on environmental issues starts with innovative programs to reduce environmental impacts throughout our entire value chain. While we build our networks in the environment, consume natural resources and produce residual materials, our EMS seeks to ensure we act to protect biodiversity, reduce consumption of resources, better manage our residual materials, maintain clean air and prevent soil contamination.
Bell also fosters environmental innovation by engaging with cleantech clusters, such as Écotech Québec, that are focused on accelerating clean technologies. Through these partnerships, we support local innovation and leverage cleantech entrepreneurs to improve our environmental performance. Écotech Québec gives Bell access to 19 leading cleantech clusters around the world through the International Cleantech Network.
To learn more more about our environmental programs, see our information sheets on Air Emissions, Biodiversity and ecosystem, Soil and water protection, Sustainable real estate Circular economy and Mitigating climate change.
To learn more about our management approach, see our Environmental and energy management system Clean water and sanitaion Sustainable cities and communities Responsible consumption and production Climate action life on land
Our effort to contribute to climate change mitigation starts with our own energy consumption and with the way we manage energy. We are proud to be the first communications companyfootnote asterisk in North America to have its energy management system certified ISO 50001, allowing us to take a systemic and sustainable approach across the company and to ensure continuous improvement.
Since 2008, our senior management-level Energy Board has worked to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of our energy management system by identifying and implementing energy-saving initiatives in our facilities, infrastructure and fleet. It also oversees progress toward meeting our GHG emissions reduction targets. Progress is reported to the Risk and Pension Fund Committee of the BCE Board using a carbon emissions dashboard.
We are reducing electricity usage by optimizing facility and equipment heating and cooling, implementing LED lighting conversions and modernizing our network equipment, as well as working to consolidate, optimize and virtualize servers.
Overall, we have 8 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and 38 BOMA BEST (Building Owners and Managers Association’s Building Environmental Standards) building certifications. More than 7 million square feet of Bell’s occupied space is covered by such certifications.
To learn more, see the Sustainable real estate
Energy consumption (MWh equivalent) divided by network usage (petabytes)
Our energy management system is embedded in our operational structure. As we identify and manage energy savings initiatives, we can easily build short, medium and long-term plans.
We reduce our fuel consumption through our ongoing fleet modernization and electrification. In 2022, we replaced 274 older vehicles with more fuel-efficient models, and we currently have 57 electric and 63 hybrid vehicles in service.
To learn more about our fleet electrification, watch our Bell for Better
To learn more about Bell’s approach to advancing our energy efficiency and renewable energy strategy, including historical energy and carbon savings, along with our cleaner vehicle transition plan, see our Mitigating climate change
Our target is to be carbon neutral for our operational GHG emissions starting in 2025, and we continue to implement measures aimed at reducing our electricity and fuel consumption. For the remaining GHG emissions that we cannot reduce, we expect to partner with a well-recognized organization to purchase credible carbon credits to offset emissions.
Looking ahead to 2030, we have set science-based targets (SBTs) that align with the goals of the Paris Agreementfootnote 7. By setting such GHG emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) footnote 8, and by joining the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, we aim to do our fair share to help limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
The SBTi has approved our three specific targets that cover all scopes footnote 9. In line with a 1.5°C trajectory, we target to reduce our absolute operational GHG emissions (scope 1 and 2) 58% by 2030, from our 2020 base year. For our upstream and downstream indirect GHG emissions (scope 3), we used a hybrid approach combining supplier engagement and absolute GHG reductions to have the greatest impact. We thus target reaching 64% of our suppliers (by spend covering purchased goods and services) adopting SBTs by 2026. We further target to reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from all categories (other than purchased goods and services) footnote 10 42% by 2030, from 2020.
Our action plan includes flagship initiatives such as vehicle fleet electrification, procurement of renewable energy, improvements to energy-efficient equipment, and the reduction of our real estate footprint. Initiatives to reduce our upstream and downstream indirect emissions, specifically the purchase of goods and services, includes collaboration with industry peers, supplier education and improved contractual agreements. Other indirect emissions should be reduced by dematerializing our real estate footprint and products distributed, and by collaborating with our dealer stores and companies in which we hold non-controlling interests (respectively referred to as franchises and equity investments under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol) to reduce their emissions.
Reinforcing Bell’s objective of controlling and reducing its GHG emissions, our $3.5 billion sustainability-linked loan (SLL) supports our science-based targets for operational GHG emissions reduction and supplier engagement by tying performance with our cost of financing.
To learn more about our SLL, see the Sustainable investor returns and strong capital structure section.
To learn more on our energy consumption and carbon footprint across our value chain, see our Mitigating climate change
To learn more about how we address climate change, watch our Bell for Better video
In 2021, we created our Carbon Reduction Task Force, composed of internal stakeholders involved in climate change mitigation. Reporting to the Energy Board, the task force sets targets at business function levels and is exploring internal carbon pricing.
To further explore innovative ways to achieve our GHG emissions reduction targets, in 2022 we created the Innovation Working Group (IWG). Reporting to the Carbon Reduction Task Force, it evaluates, prioritizes and recommends GHG-saving initiatives for funding through our Green Budget, a dedicated annual fund to decarbonize our operations. The IWG is also mandated to establish an “Enviro by Design process”, to consider energy and GHG emissions impacts at the beginning of any new business project.
We are also collaborating with partners, such as Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), GSMA, the EXCEL Partnership, CBSR Net zero working group, the UNGC’s SDG Ambition Accelerator, the Partenariat Climat Montréal, the CIO’s Sustainable IT Pledge and Canada’s Net-Zero Leaderboard to develop best practices in defining and supporting actions to achieve GHG emissions reduction targets.
To learn more about our partnerships, see Our corporate responsibility approach
Our operations depend on how well we protect our networks, supporting infrastructure and facilities against damage from natural disasters. This includes seismic and severe-weather events such as ice, snow and windstorms, flooding, wildfires and tornadoes.
A supporter of the recommendations of the Task Force on climate-related Financial Disclosures, Bell started disclosing based on TCFD recommendations in 2018. Since 2020, Bell’s annual TCFD reports fully align with TCFD recommendations.
Since 2003, we have reported on our climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts through the CDP (formerly named Carbon Disclosure Project), which gathers information on climate-related risks and opportunities from organizations worldwide. In 2022, we obtained an A-score from the CDP, ranking us in the “Leadership Band” for the seventh consecutive year, recognizing our leadership on climate action and alignment with current best practices, and the transparency of our climate-related disclosures.
To design out waste and pollution in our supply chain we start with suppliers, evaluating environmental and corporate responsibility risks, and setting sustainability criteria to minimize environmental impacts. These criteria address the use of toxic substances, heavy minerals, the recyclability of materials, the identification of plastics used, energy efficiency and the impact on our carbon footprint.
Bell requires that sustainable criteria be applied to contracts for the purchase of electronic products to ensure they are energy efficient. We participate in the Canadian Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreement (CEEVA), whose program for TV set-top boxes (STBs) aims to complement the ENERGY STAR program in Canada. CEEVA’s Small Network Equipment (SNE) program aims to improve the energy efficiency of these devices without compromising rapidly evolving technological advancements or customer usability. We also require sustainable packaging for all contracts related to tangible goods we resell to customers or use internally.
Bell is also focused on designing out waste by reducing the purchase and use of single-use plastics. Since 2020, Bell has enforced a company-wide directive on single-use plastics to reduce plastic waste at the source. The directive targets four single-use plastic categories: plastic bags, promotional items, water bottles and cafeteria items.
Embedding circularity deeper into our operations strengthens our path toward a positively high-impact value chain. This includes integrating ways to eliminate unnecessary waste and packaging into our process.
To learn more about each activity and our initiatives, see our Circular economy
Over the past few years, we have implemented several reuse, maintenance, repair and refurbishment initiatives, including setting up internal repair shops at a number of work centres to repair tools and ladders. Initiatives such as a reverse logistic process to ensure the repair and reuse of our wooden cable reels used to wind, transport and lay cables, provide a source of value creation for the company in terms of potentially reducing consumption associated with product-life extension and minimizing the purchase of new material, thereby reducing cost.
By renting STBs, modems and Wi-Fi pods, Bell maintains ownership of the equipment, allowing us to manage their maintenance, repair and reuse, diverting electronic waste from landfill. We also provide return and repair services through in-store drop-off and prepaid mailing labels to all customers using rental products. In 2022, our recovery programs diverted more than 1,977 metric tonnes of customer electronic devices away from landfill.
In 2021, Bell announced a partnership with World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada), to support their ambitious 10-year Regenerate Canada plan to fight biodiversity loss and climate change in nature. By returning used mobile devices to Bell through the Bell Blue Box program, our customers are also playing a role as we donate the net proceeds from the residual value of these mobile devices to WWF-Canada, advancing their goal of restoring one million hectares of land, steward 100 million hectares of vital ecosystems and reduce carbon emissions by 30 million tonnes.
To learn more, watch our Bell For Better – Bell Blue Box Program video
We have also been recovering residual materials from our operations for more than 30 years and have mature recycling programs for our telecommunications copper cables, terminals, utility poles, cable reels, wood pallets, and lead-acid batteries. We are addressing the challenge of recycling fibre optic cables by working with partners to establish a process to break down the components in order to recycle as much of the cables as possible. In our administrative offices, we launched the Sort-It program in 2009 to encourage employees to sort their waste at central stations by separating paper, cardboard, glass, steel, aluminum and organic matter for diversion from landfill.
We aim to improve our recycling efforts by reporting our progress on reaching and maintaining a total waste-sent-to-landfill reduction target of 15% by 2025, relative to our 2019 base year. In 2022, we reduced the total waste sent to landfill by 8% compared to 2019 footnote 16. We also continue to pursue our established target of recovering 100% of generated hazardous waste footnote 17 and diverting it to certified recyclers by 2024, and have already reached 99% footnote 16.
To learn more about how Bell manages operational waste, watch our Bell for Better