RBC launches $50 million Blue Water Project and unveils global Environmental Blueprint
RBC today announced the creation of the RBC Blue Water Project™, an innovative 10-year, $50 million grant program to support projects dedicated to water conservation, watershed protection, access to clean drinking water, and other water-related issues in Canada and around the world. This is the largest charitable commitment ever in the company’s history.
“Lack of access to clean fresh water is considered to be one of the major threats to human health and economic development around the world. The demands on this limited resource continue to grow, even in Canada, where we have one of the world’s largest supplies of freshwater,” said Gordon Nixon, president and CEO, RBC. “This is an urgent global humanitarian crisis, and is becoming an economic crisis, in both developed and developing nations, if industries that need fresh water for their operations can’t find it.”
The RBC Blue Water Project will have three grant streams:
* Visionary Grants: multi-year grants to global organizations that show vision, foresight and innovation to support programs around the world, and within Canada;
* Leadership Grants: annual grants given to organizations that are leaders in providing regional programs within North America, determined through a ’request for proposal’ process; and
* Community Action Grants: ongoing grants given to community-based organizations in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean to support local water conservation projects.
To kick off the RBC Blue Water Project, RBC will announce its first grant recipient on October 29. Then, a panel of experts will be assembled to develop the overall granting strategy and guidelines. The RBC Blue Water Project will be fully operational in April, 2008.
RBC today also unveiled its Environmental Blueprint™ that formalizes the company’s longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability.
The Blueprint includes RBC’s commitments to reduce its environmental footprint and outlines how the company will approach new and emerging environmental issues in its business activities.
“RBC introduced its first environmental policy 15 years ago, and since then, we have worked to reduce our footprint and integrate environmental sustainability into activities such as lending and procurement,” said Mr. Nixon. “This Environmental Blueprint builds on our past efforts formalizing RBC’s global policy and priorities, and provides a roadmap to guide our future actions.”
The RBC Environmental Blueprint includes the company’s revised environmental policy, originally drafted in 1991, and takes into consideration new and emerging issues related to climate change, biodiversity, forests, the rights of indigenous peoples and water. RBC consulted a number of environmental organizations in the development of the Blueprint, including WWF-Canada and The Ethical Funds Company.
“We appreciate the input provided by these and other stakeholders, and acknowledge that our Blueprint is a living document that we will need to continue to review and adapt over time,” said Mr. Nixon.
RBC is recognized among the world’s financial, social and environmental leaders. In 2007, RBC was named Canada’s Best Corporate Citizen, and is included on the Dow Jones World and North American Sustainability Indices, the Jantzi Social Index, the FTSE4Good Index, and the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations ranking. In 2007, Newsweek magazine ranked RBC first among large corporations worldwide for its ability to manage environmental risks and opportunities. RBC contributed more than $83 million to community causes worldwide in 2006, through donations of more than $42 million, and an additional $41 million in sponsorship of community events and organizations. The company produces an annual Corporate Responsibility Report outlining its sustainability performance.
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