Responsible lending

To us, responsible lending is about mitigating risk while creating the conditions that drive a more sustainable future. We know finance is a powerful tool that can support the economy as well as social change.

Evaluating environmental and social risks

BMO integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into decision-making and activities relating to financing and lending. We apply a higher level of environmental due diligence in our assessments of clients who are active in environmentally sensitive industries. Our lending guidelines are subject to ongoing, regular reviews to identify and evaluate environmental risks as they relate to climate change and forest biodiversity.

And environmental risk is only part of the picture. Through our lending practices, we encourage borrowers to make socially responsible choices in their operations. We apply rigorous screening for social risks like human trafficking, unfair labour practices, international transfer of equipment for military or internal security purposes, and the manufacturing of weapons banned by international arms control treaties.

BMO's lending to the natural resources sector was $14.7 billion in 2019 - 3/3% of total lending.

Capturing opportunities

The overall impact of a financial institution of our size can be significant. This is an important issue for BMO, especially as we consider how we can best support the transition to a lower-carbon economy while acknowledging the ongoing importance of Canada’s energy sector and supporting our clients in that sector.

We also support investments in innovation. In 2019, BMO Capital Markets participated in C$7.9 billion in renewable energy and debt financing and provided C$4.2 billion of loan commitments to renewable entities and projects.

$4.2B in renewable energy commitments in 2019.

Equator principles reporting

BMO has been a signatory to the Equator Principles, a risk management framework for identifying, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in transactions that fall within their scope, since 2005. BMO recommitted to the principles in 2006 and 2012.

See our Equator Principles reporting for 2019. For 2011-2018 reporting, please see the Archived Reports section on the Reports page.

Environmental stewardship

Environmental stewardship

Carbon neutral since 2010, BMO is dedicated to finding creative and data-driven ways to minimize the environmental impact of our operational activities.

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A BMO Employee, Asia Shahulhameed, stands by a window smiling

Responsible investing

BMO engages with the companies in which we invest to promote their adoption of ESG best practices, and offers options that empower our customers to invest with ESG considerations in mind.

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