A coalition of Canadian university endowments and pension plans are launching a new initiative to engage investee corporations on climate change risks.
The initiative will engage with North American public companies held in university endowment and pension portfolios and will focus on sectors including finance, transportation, energy and utilities and manufacturing, according to a press release.
It was formed through dialogue between the non-profit organization Shareholder Association for Research & Education and university leaders, including those from Carleton University, Concordia University, McGill University, McMaster University, Mount Alison University, Université de Montreal, University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto Asset Management, University of Victoria and York University.
“This has been a collective effort, driven by the motivation of universities to take decisive action on climate change,” said Daren Smith, president and chief investment officer at University of Toronto Asset Management, in the release. “Canadian universities have a unique role to play in tackling climate change, not only as thought leaders, educators and research hubs but also as investors.”
Several university pension funds have taken steps toward achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through their investments, including the University of British Columbia and the University of California. And in January, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, following calls for divestment by several environmental groups.