More than 20 financial organizations in Quebec, including the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, are joining forces to tackle the climate emergency.

The initiative, the Statement by the Quebec Financial Centre for a Sustainable Finance, aims to affirm Quebec’s leadership in sustainable finance and the financial institutions’ commitments to sustainable finance and environmental, social and governance principles.

In signing the statement, the financial institutions agreed to undertake, pursue or accelerate initiatives at their own institutions and among partner businesses. These include the cultivation of Quebec-based experts in sustainable finance and investment, the development of sustainable finance products and services, the strengthening of disclosure and transparency practices related to sustainable finance and the improved integration of ESG factors into signatory operations.

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“All stakeholders need to go from commitments to actions if we want the economy to make a successful transition,” said Charles Edmond, president and chief executive officer of the Caisse, in a press release. “To make tangible changes on the ground, we will support our portfolio companies in incorporating ESG matters into their business practices. Our goal is to work together to build a more sustainable and just future.”

In the release, Neil Cunningham, president and CEO of PSP Investments, echoed Edmond’s hope that large institutional investors could have a positive impact on businesses within their portfolios. “We use our influence to encourage companies to put sustainability and inclusive growth at the centre of their operations and we promote strengthened disclosure and transparency.”

PSP Investment is also one of several investment organizations — including the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island — involved in a new project to advance a standardized set of ESG metrics and mechanism for comparative reporting.

The ESG Data Convergence Project aims to streamline the private equity industry’s historically fragmented approach to collecting and reporting ESG data in order to create a critical mass of material, performance-based, comparable ESG data from portfolio companies, according to a press release. The partnership is open to any general partners or limited partners that wish to join and agree to support its principles.

Read: New PSP team aims to ‘integrate ESG’ in all investment decisions

“Sustainability is a cornerstone of the CalPERS investment program,” said Marcie Frost, CalPERS CEO, in the release. “And yet, we have found it challenging to effectively measure impact in our private equity portfolio because of the multitude of frameworks and definitions used by GPs and LPs.

“This initiative simplifies sustainability reporting by using comparable metrics which allow us to gain insight into the investment risks and opportunities in our private markets portfolio. Managing these risks and opportunities is essential to fulfilling our fiduciary duty to provide retirement security to our two million members. Collaboration between the GP and LP community is the foundation and we look forward to building out this important work.”

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