Priorities

Economy

Sustainable financing

A sustainable approach for Bell investments

In April 2021, Bell took a defining step in aligning its ESG objectives and intentions for future financings by publishing the BCE Inc. Sustainable Financing Framework, a first for any Canadian telecommunications company. The framework will guide future issuances of green, social and sustainability bonds or other sustainable financings by Bell Canada, the proceeds of which are intended for a portfolio of eligible investments in any of the following ten green and social categories:

Green

  • Energy efficiency
  • Eco-efficient production technologies and processes
  • Pollution prevention and control
  • Clean transportation
  • Renewable energy
  • Green buildings
  • Climate adaptation

Social

  • Affordable basic infrastructure
  • Access to essential services
  • Emergency response and pandemic relief

The framework was reviewed by and received a favorable independent second‑party opinion from Sustainalytics, a leading ESG research and analysis firm.

On May 28, 2021, Bell Canada became the first Canadian telecommunications company to issue a sustainability bond with the offering in Canada of Cdn $500 million 2.20% MTN Debentures, Series M‑56, maturing May 29, 2028. The bond offering raised $497,535,000 in net proceeds, which was to be allocated to both green and social eligible investments. We also sought an external review to assess the alignment of our bond allocation process with the Framework, and PwC has provided a limited assurance opinion that the bond allocation has been fairly stated, in all material respects. The complete Sustainability Bond Allocation report can be accessed here.

More details about this initiative are provided in the Sustainability bond allocation report on our website.

Target: Issue a sustainability bond allocating proceeds to eligible investments supporting social and environmental efforts

Responsible investment by Bell’s pension plans

Bell is a sponsor of several pension plans for the benefit of its active and retired team members. Within these plans, we are responsible to direct the investment of approximately $30 billion in assets. We have a fiduciary duty to deliver on our pension promise and believe doing so within an investment process informed by ESG factors can assist in the generation of superior long-term risk-adjusted returns for our stakeholders. As such, in 2021, we took steps to reinforce our commitment to integrate ESG factors into our pension plan investment process by adopting a new Responsible Investing Policy. Our policy approach is one that prioritizes engagement with our investment managers and investee companies as we:

  • integrate ESG considerations into the investment analysis and decision-making processes with a focus on long-term portfolio stability and performance;
  • focus on transparency of reporting, the quality of corporate governance and environmental and social practices of businesses in which we invest; and
  • work to understand and manage the risk that climate change and transition to a lower-carbon economy poses to our pension portfolios.

Approximately 95% of our pension assets are with managers that have adopted ESG investing policies and are either signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) or the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), the standards for responsible investment in the asset management and real estate industry.