Canadian pension funds are falling behind their international peers when it comes to climate change risk management, according to an annual report released yesterday.

“Climate change risk is now a mainstream issue for institutional investors and last year has seen many significantly step up their action to manage this. However, only a handful [of institutional investors] are protecting their portfolios from the very real danger of stranded assets, and it is shocking that nearly half the world’s biggest investors are doing nothing at all to mitigate climate risk,” said Julian Poulter, chief executive officer of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, in releasing the 2016 analysis.

Read: Should institutional investors divest from carbon?

Collectively, Canadian investment funds — including insurers, endowments and foundations as well as pensions — ranked 11th, coming behind the Scandinavian countries, Australia, France, the United States and Brazil. None of the Canadian funds on the list ranked as leaders and just four ranked as learners. Another eight were bystanders with the remaining 10 Canadian funds getting a grade of X indicating they’re taking no action to protect against climate change risk.

Of the four learner funds, three were pensions: Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, OPSEU Pension Trust and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. While OPSEU Pension Trusts’ rank moved up 18 places from the 2015 list, Ontario Teachers’ slipped 30 places to 64th while the CPPIB fell to 74th from 37th last year.

Asked to comment this morning, Michel Leduc, head of public affairs at the CPPIB, referred to comments on the report in the Globe and Mail. “This report doesn’t come close to representing all that CPPIB is doing to manage this risk,” he said.

“We share the view that climate change is a category of investment risk and we also believe that it’s a challenge for all significant institutional investors.”

Read: University of Toronto rejects calls to dump holdings in fossil fuel industry

The analysis by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, a non-profit organization based in Britain, based its grades on how the funds manage risks linked to their high-carbon assets, engagement with investors and companies they own and investments in low-carbon assets.

Rankings for Canadian pension plans analyzed:



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John Clark:

Climate change is at a dangerous juncture. The Arctic coast line of Canada and Russia is melting! This can have a cascading effect if not stopped. Most of the world’s carbon dioxide is stored in the frozen tundra! Details here: We may be too late with too little.

Tuesday, May 03 at 12:04 pm | Reply

Paul MacArthur:

As long as governments saturate knowledgeable people on their only version of climate change as correct with the purpose as a means to increase taxes many find their credibility in the tank. I wonder how many of the climate change fanatics ever had to meet a payroll or just got drowned in the government agenda? Read the old text book used in high-school in the 1960s called Land, Climate and Man. Even then our teacher wanted us to comment on the ECM as well, most students replied it’s all good if you can someone else’s money. Eventually someone takes a greasing. Climate change is not doing much to present, just finding excuses to tax and drive more companies out of Canada or give them excuse even though many have excellent programs to reduce their own pollution. India and China better shape up first. Oh yes one of lads in our class in PECI wondered if over-population may enter into it at some point in time. Now this was 1963 Nov. just before Kennedy was assassinated. Then the world changed!

Wednesday, May 04 at 1:48 pm | Reply

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