Addressing climate change means reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by improving our energy performance and improving the resiliency of our value chain.
WHY IT MATTERSG R I 103
There is an international scientific consensus that 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 the 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 to adapt to its consequences. We adapt by taking action to maintain our resiliency in the face of climate change, and we 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 regularly reporting 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 Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and align our reporting with them.
Our contribution to help fight climate changetagGRI 201-213
We use many mitigation strategies to fight climate change, including implementing electricity savings initiatives, cutting fuel consumption and substituting technology for travel. In addition, the use of our products and services helps curtail GHG emissions by our customers and our own operations.
To ensure 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.
Our effort 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.
Target: Maintain ISO 50001 certification, first communications company in North America, second year in a row
To continually improve our energy performance, in 2008 we created the Energy Board, a management-level committee reporting to the HSSEC Oversight Committee, composed of vice presidents, directors, managers and specialists from across the company. The Energy Board’s specific mandate is to ensure the ongoing 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 vehicle fleet, and by substituting technology for travel. The Energy Board also oversees progress toward meeting our GHG emissions reduction targets.
As part of our energy management system, we reduce electricity usage through optimized facility and equipment heating and cooling, LED lighting conversions, the modernization of network equipment, as well as the consolidation, optimization and virtualization of servers. We have also reduced our fuel consumption through our ongoing fleet modernization and electrification and by investing in wind and solar power technology for cell sites and other installations.
Our program includes the ongoing deployment of more fuel-efficient vehicles. In 2021, we replaced 501 older vehicles with electric or more fuel-efficient models. Today, we have 35 electric and 59 hybrid vehicles in service. To learn about fleet modernization at Bell, see the Fleet solutions information sheet on our website.tagGRI 302-4 84
Overall, we have 35 BOMA BEST (Building Owners and Managers Association’s Building Environmental Standards) and 11 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building certifications. Over 7.5 million square feet of Bell’s occupied space is certified which is equivalent to about 47 baseball fields. To learn more, see the Sustainable real estate information sheet.
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 seeks to support local innovation and liaise with cleantech entrepreneurs to improve our environmental performance. With our Écotech Québec partnership, Bell also has access to 12 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 the associated reductions in GHG emissions, see the Energy and greenhouse gas information sheet on our website.
The Bell team has made substantial progress on energy savings since 2008, even though we expanded our overall operations through growth and acquisitions over the same period. By improving electricity efficiency at Bell facilities, reducing fuel consumption in company vehicles and using audio, video and web conferencing tools to curtail business travel, we have prevented the release of more than 72 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions, saving almost $100 million.
Energy and GHG savings since 2008G R I 302-4, S A S B: T C-T L-130 a.1
Bell supports Canada’s significantly growing use of wind, solar and energy storage for the CanREA 2050 Vision document
Bell’s strategic approach to managing climate change issues includes achieving carbon neutral operations starting in 2025, and reducing our absolute GHG emissions by 2030 in line with a 1.5 °C emissions scenario in collaboration with the Science Based Targets initiative. Accelerating the adoption of decarbonized electricity production and storage, including wind and solar generation, is integral to Bell efficiently achieving our climate change goals.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
Bell takes its objective of controlling and reducing its carbon footprint seriously, both for operational GHG emissions as well as for upstream and downstream indirect emissions. Bell’s vertical integration affects the way the GHGs emitted by our business activities are allocated among our operational emissions (scope 1 (fuel and ozone depleting substances) and scope 2 (electricity, steam and heating/cooling) GHG emissions) and our upstream and downstream indirect emissions (scope 3 GHG emissions). For example, network installation and construction activities performed by Bell employees affect our operational emissions, whereas these activities are often outsourced by other carriers, and thus fall under their upstream indirect emissions. For more details, see the impact of the business model section of Our corporate responsibility approach.
Below is a graphic illustration of our total current GHG emissions inventory, by GHG emissions type, across our whole value chain.
Bell’s total carbon footprint
Bell’s total carbon footprint is detailed in the table below.
Total GHG emissions inventory
Tonnes of CO
equivalent (CO e), 2020, 2021
To learn more about Bell’s carbon footprint across our whole value chain, see the Energy and greenhouse gas information sheet on our website.
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 may reduce emissions and drive results to progress in the right direction.
We are also collaborating with partners, such as the 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 help develop best practices in defining and supporting actions to achieve GHG emissions reduction targets.
Here is a summary of Bell’s GHG emission targets:
2021: Intensity target
While we continue developing and implementing action plans to achieve our ambitious GHG targets for 2025 and beyond, we set an interim GHG intensity target to reduce 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. 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 Contributing to a better world through our products and services section).
We are pleased to announce that in 2021, we surpassed this target by 15 percentage points, with our GHG emissions per network usage showing a 55% improvement since 2019.5
Bell’s 2021 intensity GHG reduction targettagGRI 305-4
Operational GHG emissions(6) (tonnes of CO2e) divided by network usage (petabytes)
2025: Carbon neutral operations target
We are targeting carbon neutrality for our operational GHG emissions
beginning in 2025. In support of this target, we will continue implementing numerous mitigation 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.
2030 and beyond: Science-based targets (STBs)
Bell is proud to be leading the way by setting science-based GHG emissions reduction targets that align with the most ambitious temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. By committing to such targets through of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) , and by joining the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, we aim to do our fair share to help limit global warming to 1.5°C. Based on the SBTi criteria for 1.5°C pathway, we set three specific targets that cover all scopes (scope 1, 2 and all categories of scope 3). For our indirect emissions (scope 3), we used a hybrid approach which involves engaging 64% of our suppliers and reducing absolute emissions in other categories by 42% as we believe this is how we can have the greatest impact.
Based on global scientific evidence, such ambitious GHG emissions reduction targets will help reduce the destructive impacts of climate and directly support the Government of Canada's GHG commitments.
BCE Inc. commits to the following science-based targets that are consistent with limiting temperature rise to 1.5 °C.
Target: 1.5 °C-aligned scope 1, 2 and 3 science-based targets for 2030
- Reduce our absolute scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions7 57% by 2030, from a 2020 base year
- Reach 64% of our suppliers by spend covering purchased goods and services having science-based targets by 2026
- Reduce our absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from categories other than purchased goods and services
42% by 2030, from a 2020 base year.
How we expect to achieve our targets tagGRI 302-4, 302-5
To achieve our ambitious GHG emissions reduction targets, we are building upon the strong foundation we have already developed over the years: our ISO 50001 certification and our GHG and energy governance and innovation initiatives. Our action plan includes flagship initiatives such as fleet electrification, procurement of renewable energy, improvement to energy-efficient equipment, and reduction of our real estate footprint. Initiatives to reduce our upstream and downstream indirect emissions, such as the purchase of goods and services, includes proactive collaboration with industry leaders, supplier education on GHG reduction measures and improved contractual agreements. Other indirect emissions will be reduced by dematerializing our real estate footprint and products distributed, and by collaborating with our franchises and investment groups to reduce their emissions.
To develop and closely follow the implementation of our mitigation strategy to meet our GHG emissions reduction targets, in 2021, we created BCE’s Carbon Reduction Task Force, composed of internal and external key players involved in the governance of corporate climate change mitigation and progress is reported to Energy Board members. We also developed a carbon emission dashboard to report progress to the Risk and Pension Fund Committee.
Bell’s adaptation to climate change impactstagGRI 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 to people, economies and ecosystems by increasing the frequency and severity of weather events. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2022 identifies that failure to take climate action is ranked as “the number one long-term threat to the world and the risk with potentially the most severe impacts over the next decade”. These risks have the potential to cause devastating impacts on the world as well as on public health and supply chains.
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 the Contributing to a better world through our products and services section).
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, wildfires 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 Oversight Committee, which co-chairs report to the Risk and Pension Fund Committee. The HSSEC Oversight Committee’s mandate also includes approving operational strategies and objectives to address specific environmental issues (including climate change), reviewing the results from our climate-related scenario analysis and monitoring the progress made toward implementing climate change mitigation measures.
In 2021, we updated our climate-related scenario analysis that identifies Bell’s transition and physical risks resulting from the impacts of climate change in the short- (5 year), medium- (10 year) and long-term (20 year). 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 2021 BCE TCFD Report on climate-related risks and opportunities on our website.
BCE’s climate resiliency task force
In response to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports, and as part of our corporate climate change strategy, Bell has created a company-wide task force on climate resiliency with representatives from across the company. The goal of this task force is to bring together all the stakeholders that can build strong resiliency governance to address the potential impact of climate change in the short and medium term, including physical climate-related risks such as natural disasters and the increase in mean temperatures.
To maintain best-in-class transparency with our investors, shareholders, customers, employees and other stakeholders, we annually disclose our risks and opportunities related to climate change and we address our climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in the BCE TCFD Report on climate-related risks and opportunities.
Bell has disclosed climate-related information since 2003 through the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire (CDP). CDP is a non-profit organization that gathers information on climate-related risks and opportunities from organizations worldwide. In 2021, we obtained a score of A- from the CDP, recognizing our leadership on climate action, our alignment with current best practices and the transparency of our climate-related disclosures.
“It is always gratifying and enriching to get involved collectively for a cause with impacts and influence greater than oneself.”
Lina Poirier, Senior Manager, Production, Concessions & Procurement and Environmental Facilitator, Astral, Montréal, Québec
Lina is one of more than 60 Bell team members who have formal responsibilities related to our environmental management system, overseeing and supporting the environmental action plan in her business unit. Over the past two years, her leadership on the environmental portfolio has made it possible to energize initiatives in her team to implement more ecofriendly solutions, including recycling certain outdoor printed products. These simple initiatives help make a difference!
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