The effects of climate change connect us all. They continue to permeate all communities and sectors of the economy. As a result, our shared future faces great challenges—from food security and access to clean water, to air quality and increasing energy needs. There has never been a greater need for extraordinary solutions—or more opportunity for leadership, collaboration, ingenuity and vision.
RBC's Climate Blueprint outlines the enterprise strategy to accelerate clean economic growth and support clients in a socially inclusive transition to net-zero. It believes the innovative use of data and technology can fundamentally transform and improve the world we live in.
Established in 2019, RBC Tech for Nature supports this strategic focus. It helps over 100 partner organizations at the forefront of protecting our natural ecosystem to conduct innovative research focused on solving pressing environmental challenges.
“With the impacts of climate change affecting all communities and sectors of the economy, we are working closely with our clients and partners to deliver constructive solutions leadership, collaboration, ingenuity, and vision to achieve the transition to net zero," says Mark Beckles, vice president, Social Impact & Innovation at RBC. “RBC Tech for Nature partners are developing solutions for a greener future and are working to get us all there faster."
“As a society, we need to chart out our shared path towards a smart transition. That is why developing a diverse network of partnerships has never been more important," explains Valerie Chort, vice president, Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability at RBC. “With our continued investment in RBC Tech for Nature, we are harnessing the power and ambition of environmental science, innovation, and community to co-create solutions and build the sustainable, inclusive future we all want to see."
Bringing together community partners, technology experts, the public and private sectors—and RBC's own capabilities and convening power—RBC Tech for Nature is building the multi-partner coalitions needed to protect the environment. RBC Tech for Nature projects can be broken down as follows:
- Twenty-two percent of the projects focus on natural resources conservation, including how to support biodiversity and sequester carbon.
- Twenty-four percent focus on water conservation, including protecting our water supply from plastics and waste.
- Seventeen percent focus on climate adaptation as we learn to live in a climate that is ever-changing.
- Thirty-seven percent of partners cover a wide range of climate issues including biodiversity, cleantech, education, and energy use.
The 2022 RBC Tech for Nature partners include:
- Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) – Wetland mapping using object based imagery analysis: RBC has been a proud supporter of Canada's leading conservationist of wetlands and associated habitats, the DUC, for over 40 years. With the belief when nature is diverse the Earth thrives, DUC is committed to saving and protecting some of the most valuable and threatened landscapes on the planet, our wetlands.
Canada is home to approximately 25 percent of the world's remaining wetlands, yet it is one of the few developed nations without a national wetland inventory and monitoring system. However, with RBC Tech for Nature's support, DUC is advancing its mapping efficiencies by fusing light detection and ranging (LiDAR) methods, multi-temporal high-resolution satellite imagery, and machine learning to classify wetlands. DUC and its conservation partners have mapped almost 28 percent of Canada to date, with approximately 30,000 km2 of priority habitat in Alberta planned to be covered through RBC's support.
- World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF UK) – Walrus from Space: WWF UK is the British arm of the world's leading organization for wildlife conservation. RBC Tech for Nature is supporting research focused on better understanding walrus populations, the Arctic ecosystem, and how they are both being impacted by climate change. By using satellite imagery and engaging over 500,000 'citizen scientists' over the next three years, significant research will be conducted to illustrate the challenges facing the Arctic and what is a culturally significant animal for its inhabitants.
In the U.S.
- Trust for Public Land (TPL): Since 1972, TPL has been among the United States' leading environmental organizations in creating natural recreational spaces and protecting land for the people.
RBC Tech for Nature is supporting two innovative projects the TPL has launched in partnership with American Forests, the Land Trust Alliance, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. The Conservation Carbon Map and Urban Drawdown Initiative will identify where and how strategic conservation, urban greening, and carbon management efforts can capture and store carbon, preserve ecosystems, and improve climate resiliency in cities and natural environments across the US. These projects leverage the latest data, science, and technology to drive community action for natural climate solutions.
In order to positively influence our environment, we need to address the issues at hand and how we plan on confronting them. RBC continues to leverage technology capabilities in areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and app development to work with charitable partners to address pressing environmental challenges.