By: Barb Zvan and Brian Minns
Responsible investing has been part of UPP’s DNA from day one. Today, we’re proud to announce another step in our responsible investing journey and Canada’s transition to net zero— with the launch of Climate Engagement Canada (CEC) and our role as a Founding Participant.
Inspired by the global Climate Action 100+ model and born from the recommendations of Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, CEC is a Canadian finance-led initiative to bring a unified voice to Canadian companies on the need for accelerated climate action. Alongside 25+ leading financial institutions with more than CAD $3 trillion in assets, UPP will target and engage high-emitting Canadian companies with two clear aims: (1) to increase their level of climate ambition and (2) to strengthen their practices aligned with that ambition.
For UPP—and for all participants—the power of collective engagement is the ability to amplify and accelerate our impact when it comes to influencing change and guiding our businesses toward a thriving future in the transitioning economy. By setting a unified vision, CEC participants can communicate clear, consistent expectations for the future and direction on what our businesses need to do to get there.
We can draw on our shared tools to support companies on their climate journeys. And we can engage those most exposed to climate risk in constructive dialogue—helping move them onto the necessary path and seize the tremendous opportunities of a transitioning world.
For CEC, that vision includes engaging every company to:
- Define accountability and oversight of climate change risks and opportunities
- Implement comprehensive strategies to reduce their GHG emissions across their value chains
- Set measurable targets of relevance to their sector
- Disclose their climate data in alignment with the best-in-class standard of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
- Align their advocacy activities, including those done through industry associations, with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
There is a significant opportunity here for impact. According to a recent study by the Institute for Sustainable Finance, the top 40 reporting emitters on the TSX represent 66% of the index’s total emissions. That means strategic and targeted engagement has the potential to meaningfully decarbonize our publicly-traded corporate sector.
Part of being a responsible investor is advancing climate readiness across our portfolio. This is critical not only to the success of Canadian companies and communities as we move toward a net zero world, but also the long-term strength of our Fund. Today marks an important step in advancing the mission we live and breathe every day—to secure our members’ hard-earned pensions and be a plan our members can take pride in for generations to come.