I am thrilled to share this annual report, providing a snapshot of UPP’s pivotal first year as Ontario’s newest jointly sponsored pension plan, and the first tailored by and for Ontario’s university sector.
At the start of UPP’s decade-long journey, those involved—university unions, faculty associations, administrators, and other staff groups —likely each had many goals, but one common vision: retirement security tailored for the entire Ontario university community. Through many years and extensive negotiations, our founders never lost sight of their vision, and worked tirelessly to bring it to fruition.
I, and the entire team at UPP, are deeply inspired by their ingenuity and determination, and honoured to continue their work and deliver our shared vision.
At December 31, 2021
Employees and employers came together to build UPP. We would like to recognize the extraordinary efforts of this plan’s founders. It is our privilege to continue their work.
Our people are the heart of our organization
Together, we are creating a purpose-driven and inclusive workplace with a culture of teamwork, collaboration, and respect — for one another and the world around us. Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Reconciliation (EDIR) is the umbrella term for the programs, policies, strategies, and practices underpinning our mission to create and sustain a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment – no matter anyone’s ethnicity; sexual orientation; gender identity; physical, cognitive, or mental ability; religion; age; marital status; socioeconomic status; national origin; or other identities.
EDIR is not just a core value at UPP; it’s a business imperative. Diverse teams, perspectives, and lived experiences contribute to better decisions and a better workplace. Our EDIR program and three-year roadmap are the blueprints for our inclusive, respectful working environment and our way of honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92
A member-driven approach
UPP was founded with a promise to preserve a comfortable and secure retirement income for our members, deliver member service excellence, and give our members a voice in their plan.
We are at a pivotal stage — building our long-term foundations, defining our member experience and engagement approach, and solidifying our investment roadmap. With an exciting road of opportunity ahead at UPP, our members’ direct perspectives, expectations, and priorities are an essential compass.
6-month investment highlights
(At December 31, 2021)
UPP investment beliefs
We believe that long-term sustainable growth depends on action grounded in strong, clear values. At UPP, all investment strategies and decisions are guided by the following Investment Beliefs, as set by Management and the Board in early 2022.
Promoting the health of financial, social, and environmental systems
As a long-term investor, UPP has a responsibility to promote the health of the capital markets and the financial, social, and environmental systems on which capital markets rely. This value is embedded in our core investment beliefs and approach, as a means for fulfilling our pension promise well into the future.
Creating value and managing risk
End-to-end ESG integration
Our ESG focus extends to the highest level at UPP and is embedded throughout the organization. Every investment professional is responsible for integrating ESG considerations into their investment decisions and communicating UPP’s policies and expectations to external investment managers. We do this to deliver sustainable long-term value and fulfil our pension promise to generations of members.
Our suite of investment policies provides a framework for how we will consistently and comprehensively incorporate ESG considerations in our investment management and stewardship activities. These policies will continually evolve as we grow and advance our investment program, driven by our steadfast commitment to the pension promise.
Exercising our influence and partnering for impact
By investing in companies and establishing relationships with external managers, we gain a seat on the table that we can use to promote fair, efficient, and sustainable financial markets. We engage in proactive dialogue with the companies we invest in and our external investment managers to make our expectations clear on ESG issues such as climate change, reconciliation, and human rights.
UPP participates in broader collaborative initiatives to:
UPP's climate action plan
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. Recognizing climate change as a defining challenge of our time, a transparent and deliberate climate action plan is and will be a priority component of our developing investment and risk management strategy.
UPP will transition its investment portfolio to
GHG emissions by
with interim emissions reduction targets:
16.5% by 2025
60% by 2030
Our inaugural carbon footprint also forms the baseline for our interim emission reduction targets, as shown below. We will calculate and report our carbon footprint annually to demonstrate progress toward our long-term objective of net-zero portfolio GHG emissions by 2040 and our interim 2025 and 2030 emission reduction objectives.
UPP’s 2021 carbon footprint and targets
Metric tonnes CO2-eq/$M invested
While setting a 2040 net-zero target may seem ambitious for a new fund, we see this commitment as central to delivering long-term value and an essential beacon for our evolving investment strategy.
Our Climate Action Plan outlines the steps and tools we will take to achieve our target.
Tell us what you think about this summary.
Part of being a responsible investor is advancing climate readiness across our portfolio. UPP will transition its investment portfolio to Net-zero GHG emissions by 2040 or sooner. Our Climate Action Plan outlines the steps and tools we will take to achieve our target.
As a jointly sponsored pension plan, the perspectives and ideas of our plan members are a crucial input into shaping UPP’s path forward. Read the results of our engagement activities to date, featuring survey results, key themes and important takeaways.
Join the conversation
Explore our summary or download the full report
UPP by the numbers
Our member-driven approach
Our investment highlights and investment beliefs
How we’re integrating ESG and setting carbon targets