2013 - Financial Services

Financial Services

Sandra Odendahl

Director, Corporate Sustainability, Royal Bank of Canada

Sandra has led environmental sustainability efforts at RBC since 2000, during which time the company has risen to be rated among the top corporations for environmental sustainability in Canada, receiving numerous awards for its environmental strategy and programs.

Sandra believes that the only way to make sustainability mainstream is to integrate it into business and focus on things that add value, mitigate risk or enhance reputation.  For example, since 2010, she played a key role in establishing an internal working team to “green” RBC’s retail branches; she developed and hosted an “Oil Sands Day of Learning” for bankers from 17 global banks, with presentations from the NGO, government, legal, First Nations and industry sectors; she led a team that trained over 1000 bankers and risk managers on incorporating environmental and social issues into credit risk assessment; and she has identified and screened prospective grant recipients for the Blue Water Project. She is also a board member of Pollution Probe and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund.


Commitments for 2013: In September 2012 at the Clean50 Summit, most attendees made public commitments for things they would do to "further sustainability" over the next 12 months. Odendahl's commitments were:

- I will publish five success stories of sustainable business
- I will facilitate one multi-stakeholder dialogue event on sustainability
- I will volunteer on the board of a sustainability-focused organization
- I will challenge one nonbeliever

In Addition: Honourees identified good ideas they liked and would do their best to support. Odendahl's "Likes" were:

- I will have my organization finance an award recognizing sustainability achievement
- I will build diverse partnerships by
- I will continue to build my own capacity as a sustainability practitioner