BMO tech refresh reaps social, economic and environmental benefits
North American Branches
BMO Financial Group offers highly diversified financial services to approximately 12 million customers in North America, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management, and investment banking. As the eighth largest bank by assets (C$1,023 billion) in North America, BMO Financial Group operates more than 1,500 branches.
In the age of digital transformation and modern IT, large enterprises are shifting to newer, high-performance hardware and software. This means regular computer upgrades are a critical part of doing business. With technology refreshes, companies and organizations are able to modernize legacy applications and infrastructure that improve customer service and products, make operations more efficient and cost-effective through hybrid cloud architectures, increase security, and foster innovation.
But along with the benefits, these upgrades also create a new challenge: what to do with the existing technology?
Fortunately, many enterprises are taking this challenge seriously. While some simply recycle their older technology, Compugen's CarbonBank™ program goes several steps further. By participating in the program, enterprises can ensure that their assets are safely and securely decommissioned while receiving cash back which can be donated to charities or reinvested in new technology. In addition, these same participating companies earn verified carbon credits from End-of-First-Life™ technology that help to offset their carbon footprint. It's a triple benefit that is catching on with many large enterprises, like the Bank of Montreal (BMO) Financial Group, that have prioritized their environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility.
BMO Financial Group: Growth with Integrity
BMO Financial Group has been intentional in growing its business responsibly, according to Kelly Deeton, senior manager of Environmental Sustainability within BMO's Corporate Real Estate Group.
"Along with our strategic initiatives for business, we've put sustainability principles into place that are important to us, so that we grow with integrity and work with stakeholders who share our commitment to sustainability," Deeton says. "One of the principles is minimizing the impact on the environment. The guidelines we follow as a responsibly managed bank consider social, economic, and environmental impacts as we pursue sustainable growth.
"The partnership we have with Compugen ticks all three of those boxes," Deeton explains, by enabling the company to redeem its End-of-First-Life™ technology for cash, donating that cash to charity, and extending the useful life of the technology so that it stays out of the landfill. In addition, by rewarding carbon credits for participation, the Compugen CarbonBank program aligns with BMO Financial Group's carbon neutrality strategy and allows them to self-generate some of their carbon credits.
"We achieved carbon neutrality in August 2010, and we've maintained it ever since," Deeton says. "Having set and achieved three separate multi-year enterprise emissions reduction targets since 2008, we're currently trying to go further—reducing 2016 absolute carbon emissions by 15 percent by the year 2021."
How the Program Works
IT technology is decommissioned and securely transported to a Compugen configuration centre, where all equipment is checked and hard drives are completely wiped of all data using National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) data-erasure standards. Technology isn't limited to just laptop and desktop computers, but includes any IT technology, including networking/storage and even smartphones. The CarbonBank program manages to find a second life for almost all types of technology that it receives.
The equipment is then tested and refurbished for resale into new markets, such as educational districts, computer retail stores, or small businesses. Carbon credits are generated through avoidance of emissions associated with the traditional e-waste recycling process and the manufacture of new IT equipment and are verified by an accredited third party.
All Compugen-refurbished products must meet industry compliance standards and include at least a three-year warranty to meet carbon credit requirements. These carbon credits are then registered on the Canadian Standards Association's GHG CleanProjects® Registry.
BMO receives the cash value for its End-of-First-Life technology and donates almost 100 percent of the money to charities, including First Book, which provides books and educational resources to more than 375,000 educators serving kids in need, and The Matthews House, a charity helping children as they grow out of the foster program.
Educational Charity Reaps the Benefits
"Compugen's Green4Good program with BMO is one of the most innovative and exciting social enterprise funding models we have ever seen at First Book Canada," says Tom Best, First Book Canada's executive director.
"I can't begin to tell you all the benefits that have arisen from both the BMO Green4Good 905 Raptors Winter Warm Up Reading Challenge and the BMO Midnight Madness Basketball program with Toronto Community Housing," Best says. "The reading challenge is a terrific community-based program that is making a huge difference at schools by dramatically improving literacy scores—and more importantly, it has increased a love of reading fivefold in the four years the program has been operating.
"Each school is awarded a Compugen-refurbished laptop computer through their Green4Good program," Best continues. "I can't think of a program that we have supported that has had more positive impact than this one. We can't wait to build on its success and take it to many more communities across Canada."
Giving Back Rewards Many
"This program is an internal source of pride for our employee community as well," says Sharon McBrien, BMO head of IT Operations and Support. "The program is promoted on our employee intranet and we just received a Visionary Award from Compugen for our efforts to repurpose technology."
"Charitable giving is not just a tradition at BMO," McBrien says, "it's a part of our DNA."
With the Compugen CarbonBank program, organizations like BMO can accelerate their refresh schedules with the performance and security benefits of the latest generation of Intel® and Microsoft technology, all while seeing their End-of-First-Life assets being put to good use for the community and the environment. The ability to upgrade to newer, higher performing and secure systems, featuring the latest 7th and 8th Generation Intel technology with Microsoft Windows® 10, completes the triple win.