The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has signed an agreement promising to divest from the tobacco industry as part of a wider pledge supported by multiple global government and health organizations.

“Given the reputational, social and commercial headwinds facing the tobacco industry today, we are no longer confident that it represents an attractive investment opportunity for a long-term investor,” said Barbara Zvan, chief risk and strategy officer at Ontario Teachers’, in a press release. “Signing this pledge reinforces and institutionalizes our conviction that tobacco is no longer a sensible investment for our fund.”

Read: Letter to pension plans: Why your fund should be free of tobacco investments

The tobacco-free finance pledge encourages its signatories to commit to a tobacco-free policy within their investments. The aim is in line with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and the World Health Organization’s framework convention on tobacco control.

The pledge, initiated by the not-for-profit Tobacco Free Portfolios, was launched at UN headquarters during its general assembly this week and is co-sponsored by the governments of Australian and France. Its founding signatories include firms with assets under management of US$6.4 trillion.

“I am delighted that Tobacco Free Portfolios has founded the tobacco-free finance pledge in partnership with global leaders,” said Dr. Bronwyn King, radiation oncologist and chief executive officer at the not-for-profit organization, in the release. “This initiative exemplifies the action required to achieve the sustainable development goals, and brings us closer to a tobacco-free world.”

Read: OPTrust to divest from tobacco industry in 2018

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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