Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce






199 Bay Street, Commerce Court
Toronto, ON, CA, M5L 1A2

Phone: (416) 980-3096
Fax:(416) 980-7012



  • #179 Global 2000 2020
  • #486 Sales in Global 2000 2020
  • #189 Profit in Global 2000 2020
  • #75 Assets in Global 2000 2020
  • #445 Market Value in Global 2000 2020




Nadia Hernandez


  • Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2021
  • Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2021
  • Canada’s Best Diversity Employers 2020
  • Canada’s Top Employers for Young People 2020
  • Top Employers for Canadians Over 40 2020
  • IPSOS Financial Service Excellence awards



Report created by Ellie Weiss

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

SECTIONS :  Sustainability •  Targets    Evaluation  •  Key Points  •  Overview


Company Activity

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is a Canadian multinational bank and financial services corporation. It is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, and has international operations in the United States, the Caribbean, Asia, and the United Kingdom.

The bank is split into four units:

  • Their Canadian Personal and Small Business Banking segment covers the financial advice, products, and services for personal and business clients
  • The Canadian Commercial Banking and Wealth Management segment works on banking and wealth management for middle-market companies, entrepreneurs, high-net-worth individuals, and families
  • The U.S. Commercial Banking and Wealth Management segment is in charge of commercial, personal, and small business banking, and wealth management services
  • The Capital Markets segment focuses on integrated global markets products and services, investment banking advisory and execution, corporate banking, and top-ranked research for corporate, government, and institutional clients

Company Sustainability Activity

Sustainability is at the heart of CIBC’s purpose. The bank integrates sustainability into every aspect of its business, focusing on environmental, social and governance (ESG). CIBC is dedicated to driving a greener economy, ensuring the availability of and fair access to financial services while creating sustainable value for its stakeholders in a wide variety of ways.

CIBC is taking action to further reduce environmental impacts across its value chain, support programs that foster an inclusive and healthy society, and integrate best-in-class governance practices. In 2021, the bank plans to refresh its sustainability strategy and build out its ESG framework to guide its efforts.

Other initiatives include:

  • Reaching out to isolated seniors amid the COVID-19 pandemic: CIBC employees called more than 400,00 seniors for banking assistance to allow them to stay safe at home. They had an 18% increase in digital engagement of senior clients.
  • Increasing agility in detecting and fighting crime: CIBC Fusion Centre was established in December 2019 to fight financial crimes.
  • Women empowerment: CIBS hosted over 100 free educational events in communities across Canada on International Women’s Day in 2020. They provided financial advice to help women achieve their ambitions in various life stages. 3,400 women registered for the event and 91% felt more aware and confident about investing, retiring, and estate planning.
  • Renewable and emissions-free energy: CIBC jointly sponsors Maverick Creek Wind Project, a 492-megawatt wind farm being constructed in Concho Country, Texas. It will power up to 200,000 homes. 400 temporary construction jobs were created by the project, with 25 full-time positions, once the site is operational. More than $3 million are estimated to come from this project as annual tax revenues for local districts.
  • Hope Blooms’ Global Kitchen for Social Change: CIBS sponsored a community-based renewable energy project in Nova Scotia with Bullfrog Power in 2020. It involves a collaboration between Solar Schools Canada and Hope Blooms to build a smart solar awning. Approximately 8400 kWh of renewable energy generation is expected to come out of it each year, displacing 105 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the 30-year system lifecycle. It will also save Hope Blooms’ $42,000 which will be reinvested in engaging youth in high-needs communities in programs on food security, education, and social inclusion.
  • Helping diverse women in business: They help women business owners scale their companies by sponsoring the series “Start-up & Slay“. CIBS offers one-on-one business banking consultations for the finalists as well as hosting a webinar on how to grow one’s business for a group of entrepreneurs.
  • Empowering future healthcare workers: Invested $500,000 over 2 years to Future Heroes Bursary Program to support the career ambitions of the next generation of healthcare workers. The program awarded 250 healthcare studies bursaries.
  • Supporting families of sick children: The bank is contributing $250,000 annually for the next three years to help expand local support for families with sick children across Canada. 34 Ronald McDonald House Charities programs have been funded by CIBC.
  • Helping entrepreneurs: They have multiplied their amount of small loans by four. 103 new and renewed microloans worth over $635,000 were given to business clients.
  • Restoring affordable housing: Through the Community Development Group, they help finance the rehabilitation of the Miriam Apartments in Chicago, to provide affordable housing for vulnerable women. They financed $6.25 million for the construction and rehabilitation of antiquated properties and sponsored a $750,000 grant for an additional federal Affordable Housing Program. Additionally, they renovated 66 units to house women with special needs.
  • Helping to identify and end human trafficking: CIBC contributes to Project Protect which combats human trafficking, relating specifically to sexual exploitation. CIBC launched monitoring measures to detect suspicious financial transactions, and provided 251 disclosures of suspected human trafficking activity to Canadian law enforcement agencies in the past year.
  • Affordable Banking: Their EasyPath Access Account is a low-cost, no overdraft account that helps consumers identify safe, affordable bank accounts.
  • Carbon Management Program: Identifies, assesses and manages the impacts of climate change and associated regulations on the business and clients. The program consists of five elements:
    1. Managing carbon emissions from operations
    2. Determining the impact of climate change regulation on credit portfolio
    3. Tracking and evaluating opportunities in emerging carbon markets
    4. Developing climate-related credit risk assessment tools
    5. Assessing the physical and transition impacts of climate change on its business 


  • Empowering women with financial educational events
  • Supporting renewable energy by sponsoring the Maverick Creek Wind Project
  • Sponsors renewable energy project with Bullfrog Power, which also benefits programs for food security, education, and disrupting the cycle of poverty
  • Supports diverse women in business by sponsoring the “Start-up & Slay” series
  • Invested $500,000 into the next generation of healthcare workers
  • Contributing $250,000 annually for 3 years to RMHC to support families with sick children
  • Gave out $55.7 million in loans to low and moderate-income neighborhood businesses
  • Restoring old properties like Miriam Apartments to provide more affordable housing to vulnerable communities
  • Launched Project Protect to detect and report potential human trafficking sexual exploitation 
  • Their EasyPath Access Account offers a low-cost and no overdraft account to help consumers identify safe, affordable bank accounts
  • Their Carbon Management Program identifies, assesses, and manages the impacts of climate change and associated regulations on the business and on clients


  • Announced commitment to mobilize $150 billion in environmental and sustainable finance activities by 2027
  • Announced community investment target of $350 million by 2023
  • Provide $9 billion in new loan authorizations to SMEs over four years (2020–2023)
  • At a minimum, between 35% and 40% of women in Board-approved executive roles by 2022 (Global)
  • At least 22% visible minorities in Board-approved executive roles by 2022 (Canada)
  • 4% leaders from the Black community in Board-approved executive roles by 2023
  • $350 million in total corporate and employee giving over five years (2019-2023)
  • Established a target to reduce internal paper use per team member by 30% by 2023
  • Reduce our GHG emissions intensity by 20% by 2026
  • Purchase 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2024
  • 8%–9% of 2020 external hires are persons with disabilities (Canada)
  • Be carbon neutral by 2024



  • Announced greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity reduction target
  • Announced commitment to mobilize $150 billion in environmental and sustainable finance activities by 2027
  • Issued “Building a Sustainable Future” report aligned with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures 
  • Set targets for carbon-neutral operations and 100% renewable electricity use
  • Publicly disclosed Corporate Environmental Policy. CIBC Capital Markets offered ESG-linked loans as part of their “Green” products and services 
  • Issued first Green Bond in line with the ICMA Green Bond Principles
  • Total Scope 1 & 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions dropped from 59,969 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2016 to 57,189
  • Total energy consumption went from 1,451,659 GJ in 2016  to 1,339,901 in 2020 
  • Refurbished 120 tonnes of office furniture in 2020
  • Diverted 177 tonnes of e-waste from landfills in 2020 
  • Total paper use went from 5,341 tonnes in 2016 to 3,448 in 2020 
  • The percentage of LEED-certified occupied workspace went from 3.5% in 2016 to 12% in 2020 
  • The number of paperless client accounts went from 6.2 million in 2016 to 10.4 million 


  • Announced the first Women in Leadership social bond framework in Canada 
  • First Canadian bank to join the Valuable 500 (global disability initiative)
  • Introduced 15 new ESG key performance indicators in areas such as Inclusion and Diversity, Small Business, Indigenous Banking, Privacy, and Information Security
  • Adopted Code of Conduct for the Delivery of Banking Services to Seniors 
  • Signatory to UN Women’s Empowerment Principles 
  • Endorsed BlackNorth Initiative to end anti-Black systemic racism 
  • CIBC Asset Management committed to the Responsible Investment Association’s investor statement on diversity and inclusion 
  • Invested $52 million in learning and development projects
  • On average, employees spent 14.95 hours training in 2020
  • $6.3 billion were provided as employee compensation and benefits
  • In 2019, pay equity for women relative to men for vice presidents and senior vice presidents reached 100%, for senior management and senior professionals it reached 98%, for management and professionals it reached 99%, and for individual contributors, it reached 102%


  • Aligned ESG disclosure with UN Sustainable Development Goals 
  • Introduced personal performance measures related to climate change targets and strategy for their Chief Risk Officer 
  • Instituted quarterly review of environmental risk by Board committee 
  • Actively participated in industry working groups to develop a consistent and comparable approach to climate risk scenario analysis and disclosure
  • Obtained limited assurance of key environmental and social metrics
  • Conducted formal, comprehensive materiality assessment, engaging internal and external stakeholders to better align priorities and inform their ESG strategy development
  • Women directors on the CIBC board went from 35% in 2016 to 40% in 2020
  • 100% of employees have been trained on CIBC’s Code of Conduct since 2016
  • Paid $1,507 million in total taxes in Canada


UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being

Target 3.4 – Reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and wellbeing

  • To promote Mind Wellness they have an employee-led internal social networking community to encourage open conversations, a self-care checklist and new 5-minute resilience check, articles and videos with tips for managing stress and anxiety in challenging times, online stress management program to help build stress response skills, mindfulness learning path and resource to build mindful practices, and online cognitive behavioral therapy 
  • Their global initiative, One for Change, invests in the research, diagnosis, treatments, and wellness of all types of cancer 
  • In the U.S., we provided $150,000 to the American Red Cross, Chicago Community Trust, Feeding America, United Way

SDG 4: Quality Education

Target 4.6 – Ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men, and women, achieve literacy and numeracy

  • Reached 52,600 clients in financial education seminars and events in 2021
  • Partnered with Connected North to create the CIBC STEM Learning Fund, fostering student engagement in remote Indigenous communities: It supports 100 schools serving over 20,000 First Nations, Metis, and Inuit youth 

SDG 5: Quality Education

Target 5.5 – Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life 

  • Created new opportunities to help women take charge of their financial future like hosting financial wellness sessions at more than 100 banking centers in Canada on International Women’s Day 
  • Led a social media campaign, ‘Her Worth- Informed, Inspired, Invested’ in partnership with The Globe and Mail
  • CIBC has made several public commitments to having gender-balanced leadership including becoming signatories of the UK Women in Finance Charter, the Catalyst Accord, the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, and as supporters of the 30% Club Canada 
  • In 2020 the CIBC Board of Directors consisted of 40% women
  • In 2020 33% of the Board approved executive roles were women 
  • CIBS helps women business owners scale their companies as a corporate sponsor of the “Startup & Slay” digital series as well as offering the winners consultations and hosting a national webinar on growing one’s business for How She Hustle’s audience 
  • Supports and works with companies that align with Accessibility Procurement Standards which support inclusive design practices and high levels of accessibility 

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Target 7.2 –  Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix 

  • The Maverick Creek Wind Project is a 492-megawatt wind farm being constructed in Concho County, Texas
    • The project, which broke ground in November 2019, will boost clean energy in the state 
  • Green loans allow borrowers to finance environmentally-focused corporate initiatives. These loans are structured to meet the requirements of the Green Loan Principles set out by the Loan Markets Association
    • Some benefitted from renewable energy and energy efficiency projects
  • Renewable and emissions-free energy representing 73% of their sustainable finance activities in 2020

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Target 8.3 – Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation, and encourage formalization and growth of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises including through access to financial services

  • CIBS helps women business owners scale their companies as corporate sponsors of the “Startup & Slay” digital series as well as offering the winners consultations and hosting a national webinar on growing one’s business for How She Hustle’s audience 
  • Committed to providing $9 billion in new loan authorizations to small and medium-sized enterprises 
  • They give microloans to graduates of entrepreneurial programs, eliminating fees and cuts the interest rate for start-up and emerging businesses 
  • Offering $12.5 million through the Business Development Bank of Canada and up to $6.25 million through Export Development Corporation to give COVID-19 relief 

Target 8.10 – Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance, and financial services for all

  • Adopted Code of Conduct for the Delivery of Banking Services to Seniors
  • Deliver financial education sessions to support capacity-building and financial fluency to Indigenous leaders, peoples, and youth
  • Sponsoring, hosting, and contributing to events that bring multiple stakeholders together to learn and dialogue 

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Target 9.4 – Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes 

  • Green loans allow borrowers to finance environmentally-focused corporate initiatives
    • Some benefitted from renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, clean transportation, green buildings

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Target 10.2 – Empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic, or another status

  • Supported clients from the LGBTQ+ community by hosting a Pride webinar “How to design a financial plan as unique as you.” 
    • The event drew over 800 registrants
  • In 2020, 20% of Board-approved executive roles in Canada were visible minorities
  • In 2020 3% of Board members approved executive roles were leaders from the Black community
  • In 2020, 5% of external hires in Canada were persons with disabilities
  • In 2020, 3% of external hires in Canada were Indigenous peoples 
  • Indigenous Housing programs support the housing shortage in Indigenous communities
  • Deliver sessions to support capacity-building and financial fluency to Indigenous leaders, peoples, and youth
  • Have 4 on-reserve banking centers 
  • Adopted the industry-wide Code of Conduct for Delivery of Banking Services to Seniors 
  • Workplace accommodation and ergonomic solutions (e.g., sign language interpretation, assistive technology, supports for religious observances) 
  • Invested $3 million in 2020 to support education and employment opportunities with a specific focus on the Black community, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples 
  • In 2020 and 20201 committed more than $1 million to organizations supporting Black communities
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, they created AccessNow to give seniors and people living with disabilities a platform to locate businesses that offer services to people at home
  • Dedicated $10 million to local developers to purchase and rehabilitate vacant and abandoned homes
    • The Affordable Multifamily Rental Housing Finance Program helps provide more affordable housing
  • 66 renovated units to house women with special needs 
  • Pledge to protect and promote human rights through the Employment Equity Product, Global Hiring Policy, Gender-Reassignment Policy, and Respect in the Workplace: Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies 
  • Their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity Program provides opportunities for businesses owned and managed by members of underrepresented groups 
  • Their Accessibility Procurement Standard helps them work with suppliers who also use inclusive design practices and exceed accessibility standards

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities 

Target 11.6 – Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management 

  • Green loans allow borrowers to finance environmentally-focused corporate initiatives
    • Some benefitted from pollution prevention and control, clean transportation, and wastewater management

SDG 13: Climate Action

Target 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries 

  • Responsible investing lets investors worldwide make ESG a factor in their investments
    • They embed ESG factors, including climate risks and opportunities, into their investment decision-making 
  • Improve education, awareness-raising, and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning
  • Sustainability-linked loans let clients connect their sustainability strategy and goals to their financing activities
    • These loans are structured to allow clients to use the funds for general corporate purposes with the cost of financing linked directly to specific ESG performance targets 
  • Being a signatory to multi-stakeholder initiatives that aim to advance progress in areas such as responsible investing, climate change, and inclusion

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Target 16.4 – Significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets, and combat all forms of organized crime

  • Their Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing and Sanctions Regime helps detect and deter money laundering and terrorist financing activities through employee training, policy and procedure monitoring, risk assessments, and client identification requirements 
  • Policies like CIBS Human Rights: Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement ensure that they do not knowingly finance entities that show evidence of human rights abuses or modern slavery


Overall CIBC is a highly transparent and committed company. They dedicate time and resources to initiatives covering a wide range of areas in the environmental, social, and governmental aspects of ESG and sustainable development.

They not only align their work with the UN SDGs but they align them with specific targets within the broader goals.

The bank has a fair amount of awards, certifications, and listings relating to sustainability, giving their projects more credibility. 

CIBC has strong annual reporting, including a clear list of their past progress comparing past years to their current successes. Their targets are ambitious and will be vital in making them a truly sustainable company. By 2024 they aim to be carbon neutral which will be a great feat for such a large company. 

They have not been perfect in meeting all of their past targets, as they only met 5% out of the 8%-9% goal for external hires being persons with disabilities. CIBC also aimed to have 0 privacy findings against CIBC by regulators, however, 3 were found.

In addition, there are concerns about CIBC still being part of one of the five major banks in Canada investing a collective $726 billion into fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015. 

CIBC has invested $66.739 B since 2016. Despite this, they have decreased their investments from $19.068 B in 2019 to $9.742 B in 2020. While CIBC’s efforts are notable, its involvement in the fossil fuel industry cannot be ignored.

Therefore, the company has been rated a C.

Analyst Outlook: Positive

CIBC has many UN SDG-aligned initiatives, strong reporting and transparency, and good progress and targets. If the bank continues to divest from the fossil fuel industry, it will receive a higher rating on the Impakter Sustainability Index. 

Key Points

  • The bank has strong ambitious targets, including becoming Carbon Neutral by 2024 
  • They clearly report their progress over the years, including where they still have room to grow
  • Every year they release multiple reports, transparently showing their progress, initiatives, and targets 
  • They align themselves up with the UN SDGs and their specific targets
  • Their current initiatives cover all three aspects of ESG 
  • They are still investing in fossil fuel companies They did not meet all of their targets in 2020, including the percentage of external hires being persons with disabilities and the number of privacy findings against CIBC by regulators 
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