The British Columbia Investment Management Corp. is leveraging its size and influence to drive environmental, social and governance improvements across its portfolio, according to the investment organization’s 2022 ESG annual report.

“We believe, as do our clients, that ESG matters, makes a difference and translates to meaningful distinctions in a company’s ability to generate long-term value for investors,” said Gordon J. Fyfe, the BCI’s chief executive officer and chief investment officer, in the annual report. “As a result, we apply the same rigour and due diligence to evaluating ESG factors as we do traditional financial factors to maximize long-term performance.”

Among the ESG-related milestones included in the report, the BCI increased its cumulative historical participation in sustainable bonds to $4 billion, up from $2.55 billion in 2021. It expects to invest another $1 billion in sustainable bonds by 2025.

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In addition, the BCI’s real estate arm — the QuadReal Property Group — announced plans to cut its portfolio’s carbon emissions entirely by 2050. It also participated in public markets collaborative engagement initiatives targeting 2,294 companies on issues ranging from climate change and sustainable finance to gender diversity.

The report also highlighted the BCI’s first foray into the solar power sector. Last year, it invested in Reden Solar, a company that develops and constructs photovoltaic power plants in Europe, North America and South America.

On the proxy voting front, the investment organization participated in 3,478 public company meetings, 14 per cent fewer than it in the previous year. It cast ballots on 38,692 agenda items and voted against 26 per cent of the management proposals under consideration.

“We have established deep expertise and support for integration across asset classes while using our size and influence to drive tangible ESG improvements,” said Jennifer Coulson, senior managing director and global head of ESG at the BCI, according to a press release. “We continue to raise our expectations for portfolio companies, investment partners and other players in the capital markets.”

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