Equitable Bank Becomes Carbon Neutral

NOV. 2, 2021

Canada's Challenger Bank™ Provides Essential Financing to Darkwoods Forest Conservation

TORONTO, Nov. 2, 2021 /CNW/ - Equitable Group Inc. (TSX: EQB) (TSX: EQB.PR.C) ("Equitable" or the "Bank") today announced that it has become carbon neutral in its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reflecting its commitments to sustainability and the environmental advantages of its digital banking capabilities.

The Bank's Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions resulting from operations were equal to 553 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) in 2020, an amount that the bank has fully offset through the purchase of Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) emission reduction credits for Darkwoods Forest Conservation in collaboration with Natural Capital Partners, a leading provider of carbon neutrality and climate finance solutions.

"We believe that our purpose of enriching the lives of Canadians can and should be accomplished simultaneously alongside a low carbon transition," said Andrew Moor, President and Chief Executive Officer.  "As today's announcement attests, we are achieving this alignment through our digital banking capabilities, energy efficient, cloud-based architecture, focused real estate footprint and the essential financing we are providing to the Darkwoods Forest Conservation in Western Canada.  As a result of our inherent business model advantages and careful management of resources, we generate Scope 1 and 2 emissions per dollar of revenue that are far below branch-based banks in Canada. Going forward, we will continue to step up to make real and lasting change for the environment as Canada's Challenger Bank."

Looking Ahead: Scope 3 Emissions and Target-Setting
With carbon neutrality across Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions and progress towards disclosing the Bank's Scope 3 GHG emissions, Equitable will now engage on setting targets and move forward on climate risk management activities.

"As we progress on our climate change journey, we are committed to maintaining carbon neutrality in our Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions," said Mr. Moor.  "But more than this, we will create meaningful reduction targets and climate commitments that align with the Bank's purpose and give customers, shareholders, partners and our team the means of evaluating our performance and our risks.  Our made-at-Equitable ESG framework will be informed by evolving best practices, including targets based on science, net zero and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow that began on October 31st."

Equitable engaged WSP in Canada to quantify the Bank's Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions applying methodologies from the GHG Protocol and the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials.

About Equitable
Equitable Group Inc. trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: EQB and EQB.PR.C) and serves nearly three hundred thousand Canadians through Equitable Bank, Canada's Challenger Bank™.  Equitable Bank has grown to become the country's eighth largest independent Schedule I bank with a clear mandate to drive real change in Canadian banking to enrich people's lives.  Founded over 50 years ago, Equitable Bank provides diversified personal and commercial banking and through its EQ Bank platform (eqbank.ca) has been named #1 Bank in Canada on the Forbes World's Best Banks 2021 list.  Please visit equitablebank.ca for details.

About Darkwoods Forest Conservation
Conserved in 2008 and expanded in 2019, Darkwoods is the single largest private land conservation project in Canada.  Spanning remote valleys, mountains and lakes in the West Kootenay region of B.C., Darkwoods provides essential habitat for dozens of species at risk. The conservation area plays a central role in a network of parks, wildlife management areas and conservation lands that encompass over 1,100 km2.

The Darkwoods Forest Carbon Project is North America's first project to be certified under the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta).  This standard provides a framework by which projects may be assessed on the sustainable development benefits of the project and their contribution to the achievement of various United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The project is independently verified to guarantee the highest environmental integrity and credits are dedicated to immediate emissions reduction, supporting the transition to a low carbon global economy.  Purchasing VCS credits is in line with Equitable's commitment to combat climate change.

About WSP
As one of the world's leading professional services firms, WSP provides engineering and design services to clients in the Transportation & Infrastructure, Property & Buildings, Environment, Power & Energy, Resources and Industry sectors, as well as offering strategic advisory services.  WSP's global experts include engineers, advisors, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals.  Our talented people are well positioned to deliver successful and sustainable projects, wherever our clients need us. wsp.com/en-CA

About Natural Capital Partners
With more than 300 clients in 34 countries, including Microsoft, MetLife, Sky, Logitech and PwC, Natural Capital Partners is harnessing the power of business to create a more sustainable world.  Through a global network of projects, the company delivers the highest quality solutions to make real change possible and achieve carbon neutral, 100% renewable energy and net zero goals: reducing carbon emissions, generating renewable energy, conserving and restoring forests and biodiversity, and improving health and livelihoods.  Natural Capital Partners was founded in 1997 and has teams in the US, Europe, Asia and Central America.  It has been recognised as Best Offset Retailer by Environmental Finance for the last 10 years.

SOURCE Equitable Bank

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