Thank you, it’s a privilege to be here.
University Pension Plan launched in 2021 to deliver secure, sustainable pensions to the university employees of Ontario, which is Canada’s largest province.
As a pension plan, we have a fiduciary duty to our current and future members, so we must think long-term. Climate change presents a systemic risk to the ecological, societal, and financial systems that the economy relies on, and therefore we rely upon – today and for generations to come.
That’s why within a year of our launch, we developed our Climate Action Plan as a foundational part of our investment strategy. We see our objectives as interrelated: our ability to achieve investment returns and provide retirement benefits depends on a stable climate; and in turn, our investments impact and affect the stability of the climate.
We committed to net-zero portfolio emissions by 2040 or sooner, with interim targets for 2025 and 2030, and an emphasis on decarbonizing the real economy. We are assessing our investments on their emissions profiles, net-zero commitments, and their progress on transition plans, and we have already excluded companies involved in thermal coal from our portfolio.
We engage with companies we invest in, and with our external managers, to make sure our expectations are clear and hold them accountable. We collaborate with investors who equally understand our responsibility to catalyze climate action.
Investors alone cannot stabilize the climate – but we are prepared and ready to invest in solutions that will.
To do so, we need clarity and confidence about the risks and opportunities associated with what we’re investing in. We cannot meet our commitments unless the companies we invest in meet theirs.
Investors have collectively demanded better data and disclosure standards, and taxonomies. These three pillars are the infrastructure necessary for companies to be able to establish credible transition plans.
And now we need policymakers and regulators to urgently implement clear, mandatory requirements for non-state actors, to develop, implement, and deliver on credible net-zero commitments, with interim targets.
Each one of us at this table has a responsibility to ensure the systems we rely on are healthy, resilient, and sustainable.
The United Nations has the platform to help to harmonize our actions and approaches across borders – so companies have a blueprint, and global investors have clarity and confidence.
Investors around the world have already demonstrated a willingness and ability to work with governments.
I urge governments to utilize these crucial investor insights to ensure we can all deliver on our collective commitments for a climate resilient, net-zero future.
In our Climate Action Plan, we've made bold commitments recognizing that our ability to deliver satisfactory returns for our members' pensions relies on climate stability, which UPP actively contributes to ensuring.
We actively engage with our portfolio companies, external managers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to drive change in order to enhance long-term value – addressing systemic issues like climate change, human rights, and corporate governance.
"[UPP’s Climate Action Plan] is a legitimate and very impressive commitment by UPP...it demonstrates both strategy and substance...It's clear how UPP will move forward and how members and other stakeholders can hold them accountable."
- Dr. Sean Cleary, Chair, Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF)
We account for these factors at every stage of the investment process to better assess and create value, identify differentiated opportunities, and drive stronger long-term financial performance.
Join the conversation
We are always looking for ways to improve your experience. Please tell us about your experience below.
Your responses will be kept confidential. To protect your privacy, please do not enter your account or personal information.