The newly minted University Pension Plan is tackling environmental, social and governance issues head on by partnering with the 30% Club, Canadian Coalition for Good Governance and Shareholder Association for Research and Education.
Joining the 30% Club will help the UPP make greater representation of women on corporate boards and senior management teams a key priority. “Gender balance in today’s leadership teams is both an ethical and fiscal imperative that UPP strongly supports,” said a press release.
Meanwhile, the CCGG partnership promotes good governance practices in Canadian companies with a focus on ESG issues. “As an institutional investor, we have a responsibility to ensure our governance practices align with the highest industry standards,” said a separate release. “Strong governance is foundational to our model as a multi-employer, jointly sponsored pension plan.”
And joining SHARE is “an important component of our responsible investing approach. This partnership will strengthen UPP’s ability to align the interests of the companies we invest in with long-term value creation for plan members and to promote a just, sustainable society and economy,” said another release.
These three partnerships are all in line with the UPP’s initial responsible investing policy, announced on Wednesday. “We’ve heard from members — first and foremost, they want retirement security,” says Barbara Zvan, the pension plan’s inaugural chief executive officer and president. “They want us to invest responsibly. They want us to think about the impact of the people around the world. They want to have an opportunity to provide input along the way. They want transparency and the ability to feel informed.”
The UPP launched on July 1 to provide management services to Queen’s University, the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto. With its three inaugural university communities, a release noted, the UPP will manage five different defined benefit pension plans with more than 35,000 members in total and about $10.5 billion in assets. Trent University’s Faculty Pension Plan is set to join the multi-employer DB pension plan in January 2022.