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Managing our carbon footprint

Our footprint

Bell team members save energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by minimizing the time our vehicles are left on idle, increasing energy efficiency at Bell facilities and using Smart Meeting tools such as VideoZone as an alternative to travel. As well, we are visible supporters of broader environmental initiatives such as Earth Hour, when most Bell buildings across Canada go dark, along with signs on major venues such as the Bell Centre in Montréal.

Bell has long understood that the use of its products and services helps fight climate change by reducing the carbon footprint within our operations and those of our customers. More than that, we understand that adherence to environmental protection initiatives produces positive benefits for the business. Our carbon-reduction efforts help us spend less on fuel and electricity, which also supports one of our key corporate strategic imperatives: to establish a more competitive cost structure. Thus, carbon-reduction initiatives have a tangible positive effect on Bell’s bottom line.

As an active member of the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), we support the findings of the organization’s SMARTer 2030 report, released in June 2015. The GeSI study estimated that widespread deployment of business service solutions could save up to 10 times the carbon emissions generated by the sector itself by 2030. For more details about the carbon reduction-enabling effect of business service solutions, please consult the SMARTer 2030 report.

The scientific consensus is that anthropogenic GHG emissions, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), are major contributors to climate change. Our critical infrastructure and facilities must provide a consistent, secure and reliable environment in which to operate our network and IT infrastructure and to house 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 wind storms, flooding, hurricanes, tsunamis and tornadoes. Scientists generally agree that global climate change could exacerbate some of these threats, including the frequency and severity of weather events.

Our environmental management system has been ISO 14001 certified since 2009.

In the long term, we hold to a fundamental objective to continue developing business solutions such as cloud services, e-billing and virtualization that reduce carbon footprint, both for our customers and for ourselves.

Bell 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 its Écotech Québec partnership, Bell also has access to leading cleantech clusters in twelve countries through International Cleantech Network.

Bell leads by example, demonstrating in our own operations some of the many practical ways that business service solutions offer simple and smart ways to improve productivity while reducing energy costs and GHG emissions. Our initiatives include:

Virtualization and cloud computing that encourage optimal use of space, power, and cooling resources by consolidating servers and storage
Electronic controls coupled to the communication network to reduce energy consumption in buildings
The Internet of Things, which can improve monitoring and controls of industrial equipment and all manner of everyday appliances
Telemetry systems that reduce idling and optimize the routes of commercial vehicles
Teleconferencing that reduces travel needs
Social networks that facilitate car pooling and car sharing
Virtual products (books, newspapers, magazines) and electronic transactions.


Our approach also includes quantifying risks and opportunities stemming from climate-change issues with a view to leveraging Bell’s products and services to enable carbon reduction. This entails identifying the potential impact of severe weather on our operations with the Business Continuity team as it assesses threats, vulnerabilities and impacts on our business and develops risk-mitigation plans. We monitor the potential for current and future climate-related legislation, policy and regulations that may also impact our business, and report on these ndings to the SEHS Committee twice a year.

At an asset level, our corporate real estate, risk management, and business continuity teams assess risks and opportunities for our buildings, networks and fleet. Buildings and networks are prioritized by how essential they are to the continued delivery of key communication services. This leads to plans for mitigating risk and improving operations. Natural disasters and energy costs are the most significant issues for our risk-and-opportunity assessment.

In 2008, we created the Energy Board, a management-level committee reporting to the SEHS Committee, to support Bell’s climate policy to meet our carbon emission objectives. This committee’s specific mandate is to identify and support the implementation of energy-reduction initiatives in our vehicle fleet, buildings, telecom network, IT infrastructure and business travel program.

We also align incentives with environmental objectives. That has produced measurable success. In 2016, for instance, we saved 34.05 GWh or 4,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent of electricity in our buildings, data centres and networks even as our company grew.

Since 2004, we have been reporting annually on our carbon footprint, carbon reduction initiatives, and risks and opportunities stemming from climate-change issues through the CDP (previously known as The Carbon Disclosure Project). The CDP represents 827 financial planners, advisors, wealth managers and institutional investors managing a total of U.S.$100 trillion in assets. BCE attained CDP Leadership status and made the list of the top 10 highest-scoring Canadian companies in 2016.

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