By Todd Reubold, Director and Founding Editor, Ensia

The connection between banking and the environment may not seem obvious at first, but it runs deep. To learn more, Ensia recently spoke with Diana Glassman, head of Environmental Affairs for TD Bank, a retail bank with approximately 1,300 branches in the eastern United States. Over the course of our conversation we discussed TD Bank’s environmental initiatives, criticism of the banking sector for financing fossil fuels, the intersection of energy and water, and more.

Todd Reubold: Part of your role at TD Bank involves identifying opportunities to expand the company’s environmental commitment. Can you tell me more?

Diana Glassman: TD Bank seeks to be an environmental leader. This is a belief held at the top. It’s the right thing to do, and it also has business benefits. There are revenue benefits, there are brand benefits, there are employee benefits, there are reputation benefits, all of which are important to a growing business.

TR: Can you give me a few examples of TD Bank’s environmental initiatives?

DG: The first is our own emissions. We’ve made a commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2015, per employee. Another area is paper. We have made a public commitment to reduce our paper consumption by 20 percent by 2015. And third, we work with local organizations through our TD Forests initiative to promote urban greening in our communities. We see trees and open spaces as central to what makes a community thrive. It’s more than beautification; it‘s about making the community strong.Also, we have an amazing green building program. We have the country’s first net-zero energy bank branch, down in Florida. All of our new expansion sites — and we’re building lots of them up and down the East Coast — they‘re all certified LEED. We already are the first large North American-based bank to be carbon neutral. We did that back in 2010. We want to keep reducing our actual output per person.

This interview originally appeared in Ensia magazine; read the full interview here.