Directors, trustees and investment managers at Canada’s largest public pension funds are deeply involved in the fossil fuel sector, according to a new report by Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health.
It found 56 staff members from the largest public sector pension plans hold 76 different corporate director roles at 39 different fossil fuel companies. It also found nine pension fund directors or trustees currently serve as board directors at 12 different fossil fuel companies.
Two of Canada’s largest plans, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, were found to hold particularly strong links to the oil and gas sector. At the CPPIB, 15 senior staff members currently hold roles at fossil fuel companies and 27 per cent of board members were found to have links to the oil and gas sector. At the Ontario Teachers’, 12 senior staff members currently hold 19 roles within the fossil fuel sector.
In addition, it found seven of Canada’s 10 largest pension funds have at least one board member who simultaneously sits on the board of a fossil fuel company. About a quarter (25 per cent) of the CPPIB’s board members were found to have financial links to oil and gas sector.
The report noted this overlap limits the ability of pension plans to objectively manage climate-related financial risks and make critical climate-related investment decisions when the pension administrators. In a press release, Patrick DeRochie, senior manager at Shift and the report’s author, said the overlap between the pension and fossil fuel sectors is concerning.
“The degree of overlap between pension managers and fossil fuel companies creates legitimate concerns about the corporate power of the fossil fuel industry entrenching itself in pension funds that have a mandate to provide reliable retirement security for millions of Canadians amid a worsening climate crisis.”