Fighting climate change is about addressing climate change means reducing the release of GHG emissions and improving the resilience of our infrastructure.
WHY IT MATTERS G R I 103
There is international scientific consensus that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), are major contributors to climate change. Global scientific evidence also highlights how companies have responsibilities to help fight climate change and adapt to its consequences.
A changing climate can lead to increased risks for any business – including financial, operational and reputational risks. Moreover, public health and supply chains could suffer major negative impacts from climate change. We believe that we have an important role to play in providing our customers with technologies that help them address climate change and adapt to related impacts on their businesses.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
At Bell, we aim to manage the regulatory, financial, operational, reputational and/or market risks related to climate change. We are taking action both to help fight climate change and adapt to its consequences. We adapt by taking action to maintain our resiliency in the face of climate change, and are helping our customers do the same. To fight climate change, we are focused on reducing our energy consumption while also helping customers reduce theirs. In addition, we believe that reporting regularly on our energy performance and associated GHG emissions demonstrates to our stakeholders that we take these initiatives seriously. As such, we support the recommendations of the TCFD and align our reporting with them.
Our contribution to help fight climate change
We use many mitigation strategies, to fight climate change, including:
1) implementing electricity savings initiatives, such as retrofitting buildings; 2) cutting fuel consumption, for example by adopting renewable energy sources; and 3) substituting technology for travel. In addition, the use of our products and services helps in curtailing GHG emitted by our customers and our own operations.
To ensure a rigorous governance of our carbon footprint, we closely monitor and report on our GHG emissions performance, and we have set targets to reduce GHG emissions.GRI 201 2
Our endeavour to contribute to climate change mitigation starts with our own energy consumption and the way we manage energy. We are proud to be the first communications company in North America to have its energy management system certified ISO 50001. The international ISO 50001 standard requires companies to adopt a strict set of energy management objectives, guidelines and practices that enable energy efficiency and associated reductions in GHG emissions. ISO 50001 certification is the latest example of Bell's world-class sustainability practices – we were also the first telecommunications company to achieve ISO 14001 environmental certification.
To continually improve our energy performance, in 2008 we created the Energy Board, a management-level committee reporting to the HSSEC Committee. The Energy Board’s specific mandate is to ensure the continuing effectiveness of our energy management system and identify and support the implementation of energy-saving initiatives in our facilities (buildings, telecom network, and IT infrastructure) and our vehicle fleet, and substituting technology for travel.
As part of our energy management system, we have optimized facility and equipment heating and cooling, cut electricity usage through LED lighting conversion, modernization of network equipment and consolidation, optimization and virtualization of servers. We have reduced our fuel consumption with our ongoing fleet modernization and electrification, and by investing in wind and solar power technology for cell sites and other installations.
Bell’s energy saving program overseen by the Energy Board is an important part of achieving our GHG emissions reduction targets. It also enhances our cost competitiveness by offsetting rising energy costs. Our carbon-reduction efforts help us spend less on fuel, electricity and travel, which supports one of our Strategic Imperatives: to operate with agility and cost efficiency.
Bell also fosters innovation and entrepreneurship by engaging with cleantech clusters, such as Écotech Québec, that are focused on accelerating the development of clean technology. Through such partnerships, Bell aims to support local innovation and to liaise with cleantech entrepreneurs to improve our environmental performance. With our Écotech Québec partnership, Bell also has access to 15 leading cleantech clusters from around the world through the International Cleantech Network.
To learn more about our renewable energy projects and how Bell achieves electricity and fuel savings and associated GHG emissions reductions, see the Energy and greenhouse gas information sheet under the Key documents tab.
To learn about the fleet modernization at Bell, see the Vehicle Fleet information sheet under Key documents.SDG 8.4
The Bell team has made substantial progress in terms of energy-savings since 2008, even as we expanded our overall operations through growth and acquisitions. By reducing electricity consumption at Bell facilities, improving fuel efficiency in company vehicles, and using audio, video and web conferencing tools to curtail business travel, we have prevented the release of more than 71 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions, saving almost $99 million.
Energy consumption reduction since 2008G R I 302-4, SASB
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
Bell takes its objective to control and reduce its GHG emissions seriously. The level of our operational emissions (Scope 1 [direct] and Scope 2 [indirect] GHG emissions) is affected by Bell’s vertical integration. For example, network installation and construction, which are often outsourced by other carriers and our growth in broadcasting and media, all affect our operational emissions. Below is a graphic illustration of the GHG emissions by scope in our operations.
The table below illustrates Bell’s operational carbon footprint.
Operational GHG emissions
Tonnes of CO2 equivalent, 2019, 2020Footnote 1: PwC provided limited assurance over this metric. See PwC’s assurance statement, bce.ca/responsibility/key-documents/2020-pwc-independent-assurance-statement.pdf
- PwC provided limited assurance over this metric. See PwC’s assurance statement
- Based on energy consumption data from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. Since much of the data required to calculate GHG emissions is available only quarterly, we moved our reporting period in order to be able to disclose this data in our 2020 Annual Report, dated March 4, 2021
- Based on energy consumption data from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019
To learn more about Bell’s carbon footprint, including operational and other indirect emissions, see the Energy and greenhouse gas information sheet under the Key documents tab.
Bell’s GHG emissions reduction targets
We set GHG emissions reduction targets to signal the importance of doing our part for climate change, ignite innovation in projects that might reduce emissions, and drive results that ensure we progress in the right direction.
We are also collaborating with partners, such as the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), GSMA and the EXCEL partnership, to contribute to developing best practices in defining GHG emissions reductions targets.
Here is a summary of Bell’s GHG emissions targets:
2021: GHG intensity reduction target
In 2019, we surpassed our 2020 GHG emissions reduction target. While we work to set a new long-term target, we set an interim GHG reduction target to reduce by the end of 2021 the ratio of our operational GHG emissions (tonnes of CO2 equivalent) to our network usage (petabytes) by 40% of our 2019 level by the end of 2021.Footnote 1: For 2019, performance is based on energy consumption and network usage data from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019. Starting in 2020, performance is based on energy consumption and network usage data from July 1 of the previous year to June 30 of the reporting year. Network usage includes residential and wholesale Internet, business Internet dedicated (BID), VPN, IPTV, Inter-Network Exchange (INX), prepaid and postpaid wireless services, Wireless Home Internet, Voice-over-LTE traffic, IoT, and enterprise usage, both in Canada and on international roaming partners’ networks. As the methodology for gathering network usage differs from one carrier to another, and because a company’s business model directly impacts the amount of GHG it emits and how those GHG emissions are calculated and classified (as noted in the Impact of the business model section of Our purpose and corporate responsibility approach on our website), the ratio itself cannot be used to directly compare carrier performance. This metric excludes our Bell MTS division. PwC provided limited assurance over the 2020 value for this indicator. See PwC’s assurance statement GRI 305-4
This intensity metric illustrates the footprint of our operations in a meaningful way, recognizing the carbon reduction-enabling capabilities of our products and services (see the Using Bell’s products and services helps fight climate change under the Customers tab).
Bell’s 2021 GHG emissions reduction targetGRI 305-4
Scope 1 and 2 emissions (tonnes)
divided by network usage (petabytes)
2025: Carbon neutral operations
In March 2021, we added a new target, which is to be carbon neutral for our operational emissions starting in 2025. To meet this target, we will continue implementing numerous mitigation measures that seek to reduce our electricity and fuel consumption. For the remaining GHG emissions that we cannot reduce, we will partner with a well-recognized organization to purchase credible carbon credits to offset emissions.
We are proud to build on Bell’s strong record of environmental leadership by introducing the objective to achieve carbon neutral operations in 2025 across Canada’s largest communications company. Bell’s goal is to advance how Canadians connect with each other and the world, a purpose enabled by consistent execution of the highest environmental, social and governance standards across the company’s operations.
2030 and beyond: Science-based GHG emissions reduction targets
Bell is committed to set science-based GHG emissions reduction targets across all scopesFootnote 2: Science-based targets are greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that are in line with the level of decarbonization required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement - to limit global warming to well-below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 °C and to reduce absolute operational and indirect GHG emissions by 2030 in line with a 1.5 °C emissions scenario and the criteria and recommendations of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)Footnote 3: The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact (UN Global Compact), World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and is one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments – aligning our climate mitigation targets with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement and to what science dictates is necessary to reduce the destructive impacts of climate change on human society and nature. By committing to SBTi, and joining the Business Ambition for 1.5 °C campaign, we aim to contribute to halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and hitting global net‑zero emissions by 2050.
Bell’s adaptation to climate change impactsGRI 201-2
Despite worldwide efforts to reduce global GHG emissions, scientific evidence demonstrates that even current levels of global warming are likely to exacerbate the impacts and risks for people, economies and ecosystems, including the frequency and severity of weather events. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2021 reported that risks related to climate change, climate action failure in particular are dominating the global risk landscape, both in terms of likelihood and impact.
Bell takes those risks very seriously, and is focused on implementing adaptation measures to maintain resiliency in the face of climate change. In addition, we are proud that the use of Bell’s products and services helps our customers and our own operations adapt to climate change impacts (please refer to Using Bell’s products and services helps customers adapt to climate change impacts under the Customers tab).
Our critical infrastructure and facilities must provide a consistent, secure, and reliable environment in which to operate our network and IT infrastructure, and to support our team members. Our operations depend on how well we protect our networks, as well as other infrastructure and facilities, against damage from natural disasters, including seismic and severe-weather events such as ice, snow and windstorms, flooding, wildfire and tornadoes.
Accordingly, Bell is focused on implementing adaptation governance structures and measures to maintain the resiliency of our operations and the security of our team members. We also monitor the potential for current and future climate-related legislation, policy, and regulations that may affect our business, and report on these findings to our internal HSSEC Committee twice a year.
In 2020, we performed a climate-related scenario analysis that identified Bell’s transition and physical risks resulting from the impacts of climate change in the short (2025), medium (2030) and long term (2040). This analysis is one of the 11 recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). For more details on the impacts of climate change on our company, please refer to the BCE TCFD Report on climate-related risks and opportunities under the Key documents tab.
To maintain best-in-class transparency with our investors and shareholders, we disclose annually our risks and opportunities related to climate change. Accordingly, this year we addressed our climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in our BCE TCFD Report on climate-related risks and opportunities.
Disclosing climate-related information originally started in 2003 through the Climate change questionnaire. CDP is a nonprofit organization that gathers information on climate‑related risk and opportunities from organizations worldwide. In 2020, we obtained an A- score, recognizing our work on climate action, our alignment with current best practices and the transparency of our climate disclosures.
Bell’s climate change journey
2003 - Governance: First disclosed GHG footprint
2003 - Governance: Started reporting to CDP
2008 - Governance: Created Energy Board
2008 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Started implementing conversion to LED lighting
2009 - Governance: First certified to ISO 14001 standard
2010 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Started certifying our buildings under LEED and BOMA BEST certifications, 52 buildings to date
2013 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Created halocarbon-free cooling system with Carnot Refrigeration
2014 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Started installing EV charging stations, 97 installed to date
2014 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Started installing CO2 cooling systems, 55 installed to date
2016 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Started de-powering and modernizing network legacy equipment
2016 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Installed wind and solar power technology trial at Nungesser Lake
2017 - Governance: Set GHG reduction target: Reduce the ratio of our operational GHG emissions to network usage by 75% of 2014 level by end of 2020
2017 - Governance: Named to CDP Top 10 highest-scoring Canadian companies
2017 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Completed first solar and DC power system upgrade in a fly-in only radio site in Labrador
2017 - Resiliency: Completed first study on carbon abatement enabled by Bell technologies
2018 - Governance: Named to CDP’s Climate Change A List
2018 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Installed 3 projects designed around a Windular Research and Technologies solution in Ontario
2018 - Resiliency: Updated the analysis of carbon abatement enabled by Bell technologies
2019 - Governance: Surpassed our GHG reduction target, a 79% improvement since 2014
2019 - Resiliency: Declared support for TCFD recommendations
2019 - Resiliency: Started disclosing based on TCFD recommendations
2020 - Governance: Set a new GHG reduction target: Reduce the ratio of our operational GHG emissions to network usage by 40% of 2019 level by end of 2021
2020 - Governance: First certified to ISO 50001 standard
2020 - Resiliency: Conducted climate-related scenario analysis
2020 - Resiliency: Published TCFD Index and statement
2021 - Continuing to build on our strong climate change leadership
2021 - Governance: Report GHG emissions in Bell’s Annual Report
2021 - Governance: Implement an “Enviro by Design” program to embed GHG cost in our business decisions
2021 - Governance: Start collaborating with our suppliers to measure, reduce and report their GHG footprints
2021 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Design a fleet electrification plan
2021 - Main innovative GHG reduction projects: Identify additional GHG reduction initiatives
2021 - Resiliency: Fully align TCFD report with the 11 recommendations
2021 - Resiliency: Complete climate-related scenario analysis on resiliency
2021 - Resiliency: Update our analysis of carbon abatement data enabled by Bell technologies
2025 - Governance: Carbon neutral operations
2030 - Governance: GHG emissions reduction aligned with SBTi