How TD Bank Supports Flood Protection In Florida

(3BL/JustMeans) Sea level rise is affecting Florida. Most of Florida’s infrastructure was not built to accommodate major sea level rise, and much of the state’s current coastal infrastructure will need to be either improved or replaced as the sea level rises.

Florida is the third most populous state and the largest in the Southeast. It has the fourth-highest gross state product. It also is a state that will be significantly threatened by climate change, including its coastal infrastructure. The sunshine state has over 8,400 miles of shoreline, which faces risks from flooding and coastal storms, with climate change likely to really increase the risks.

So much of Florida’s infrastructure is at low elevations. Large parts of Miami are built on limestone that is so porous it allows seawater to flood inland areas even when there are physical barriers. Sea level rise in Miami is projected to be 0.8 to 1.3 feet by 2050 and 2.0 to 3.6 feet by 2100.

TD Bank clearly grasps the importance in investing in urban green infrastructure that can help mitigate the risks of climate change. The company donated $850,000 in 2016 to The Trust for Public Land to install six Fitness Zones in Miami-Dade County parks over a three-year period. The Fitness Zones will be outdoor gyms and flood protection zones, an interesting mix of fitness and environmental protection.

Last summer, The Trust for Public Land opened the first Fitness Zone with the help of Miami-Dade County and TD. It was the 15th Fitness Zone built in the county by the non-profit organization. It features 21 pieces of outdoor gym equipment that are free for residents to use. It has a rain garden that collects rainwater from the pavement and helps it go into the ground instead of becoming runoff. It also features trees that provide shade and absorb carbon dioxide, drought tolerant native plants, and parking lot features which funnel rain into the park and then back into the ground, instead of into the sewers.

The Fitness Zones are not the first environmental friendly investment TD has made. The company has contributed $12 billion to low-carbon initiatives since 2006, including green bonds, eco-efficiency upgrades and community environment projects. In 2016, TD made over 1,900 loans to small-scale energy efficiency projects, a 50 percent increase from 2014. TD issued the TD Green Bond in 2014, the first in Canada made by a commercial bank, with a $500 million issuance. Funds were allocated to renewable energy, energy efficiency projects and green infrastructure. TD also has participated in green bond underwriting that totals $5.4 billion since 2010, and last year, TD issued a $750 million Ontario green bond supporting eight low-carbon infrastructure projects in the Canadian province.

TD demonstrates the role that banks can play in environmentally friendly initiatives which mitigate climate change or help create a low carbon economy. In a time when the U.S. federal government refuses to even acknowledge climate change is occurring, banks and other business sectors are true climate leaders.

Photo: The Trust for Public Land