The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System is the latest pension plan to commit to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its total portfolio by 2050.
In a press release, the OMERS said its path to net zero will be informed by the annual calculation and public disclosure of its total portfolio carbon footprint. The release also noted the OMERS currently holds more than $18 billion in green assets — including renewable energy, energy efficiency and green-certified buildings — and that it previously pledged to reduce the carbon intensity of its total portfolio by 20 per cent by 2025, in line with the Paris Agreement.
“Our near-term carbon reduction goals are tangible, actionable and ensure our leadership team is accountable today,” said Blake Hutcheson, chief executive officer and president of the OMERS, in the release. “With our net-zero 2050 goal, we believe we’re charting the right course for our future. We’re also confident that we can do this by working with governments and other conscientious Canadian and global businesses in the months and years ahead.”
Earlier this month, the Investment Management Corp. of Ontario announced it would commit to achieving net zero by 2050, while in January, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan made a similar announcement.
In other news, 100 faculty and staff from Queen’s University, the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto — which recently made divestment commitments — are calling on the University Pension Plan to exclude fossil fuels from its portfolio and adopt an industry-leading climate policy.
In a letter to the pension plan, the faculty and staff requested that the UPP divest its oil, gas and coal assets, with the goal of achieving net zero by 2050 with clear interim targets for 2030 and 2040.
In addition, the letter requested the UPP reallocate investments toward climate solutions and renewable energy and commit to divestment from companies that fail to correspond to a climate-related engagement criteria.
In an emailed statement to Benefits Canada, a spokesperson for the UPP said that the pension plan has taken a number of steps towards sustainability, including the development of a responsible investing policy, as well as becoming a founding participant in Climate Engagement Canada and signing the Canadian investor statement on climate change. The spokesperson also noted that in early 2022, the UPP plans to hold a series of member-focused discussions on responsible investment.