Focus on corporate responsibility drives sustainable growth
Building a better future requires game-changing commitments and actions that will serve generations to come. At BCE, we are proud to be a change leader in Canada’s critically important communications industry, moving forward with positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments and actions that provide clear and measurable benefits for Canadians over the near and long term.
The BCE group of companies share a deep commitment to meet the needs of our customers, grow our business and bring positive change to the communities we serve.
Sustainable growth is also a key objective as we strive to advance how Canadians connect with each other and the world. With clear targets linked to how we address environmental challenges, drive important social and economic changes and ensure best-in-class governance practices, our approach is delivering a better and stronger future for our customers, communities, team members and investors.
Driving economic growth
Bell has an unparalleled record since 1880 of helping Canadians during exceptionally challenging times and, throughout the COVID‑19 pandemic, we have taken steps to support Canadians and assist with Canada’s economic recovery while maintaining strong performance across our operations.
In 2021, we implemented a capital expenditure acceleration program to provide greater access to leading-edge broadband and 5G wireless services in urban and rural communities alike. This forward-looking plan enabled us to better connect many Canadians with family, friends, school and work while also generating opportunities for businesses and injecting much-needed investment into national, regional and local economies.
Action on climate change
Consistently ranked as one of Canada’s greenest and most sustainable employers, BCE is proud to have had a successful environmental protection program in place for over a quarter of a century. The first Canadian communications company to have an environmental management system certified to the ISO 14001 standard over a decade ago, more recently Bell became the first communications company in North America to have an energy consumption plan receive ISO 50001 certification. Our leadership in sustainability also includes continuing to work with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and international organizations on developing positive solutions on environmental issues, including climate change.
These achievements are the foundation for additional steps Bell announced in 2021, including our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement and the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), as well as the nearer-term goal to be carbon neutral across Bell’s operations by 2025.
We also updated our financial reporting to align with 11 key recommendations made by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and launched a new Sustainable Financing Framework in 2021 that provides additional financial reporting and transparency to support eligible green and social projects. With the Framework in place, we made a Sustainability Bond offering, another first for Canada’s telecommunications industry.
Building on shared social values
To further support the communities we serve, Bell Let’s Talk continues to fund multiple mental health programs that reduce stigma, enhance community care, enable additional research and improve support available within workplaces as well as post-secondary institutions and other organizations.
We are also at the forefront of important initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), ensuring career advancement and training opportunities that support gender diversity as well as Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) and LGBTQ2S+ communities across Bell and within partner organizations, including suppliers. To reinforce our commitment, we also introduced new targets for greater diversity at senior management levels, including a new goal of at least 35% gender diversity for the BCE Board of Directors.
These important changes are additional steps forward that build on DEI values and actions that have consistently earned Bell recognitions as a top diversity and family-friendly employer and one of the best workplaces in Canada for young people and young professionals. As a direct result of our ESG initiatives, many socially responsible global investment indices incorporate BCE, including the FTSE4Good Index, the Jantzi Social Index, the Ethibel Sustainability Index (ESI) and the Euronext Vigeo World 120.
As detailed in this report, the BCE group of companies continues to meet the highest ESG standards across our operations. We have set clear and achievable sustainability targets, all in support of our Bell for Better commitment to create a thriving, prosperous and more connected world. And our corporate responsibility leadership includes making sure we have the proper governance structures in place, and accountability across our operations.