Canadian fund managers lag on tackling climate-change risks


theglobeandmail.com | Published 2 May 2016

JANET McFARLAND

Canada’s largest fund managers – including major pension funds – are far behind many of their global peers in managing climate-change risks within their investment portfolios, a new analysis concludes.

Canadian investment funds collectively ranked 11th in a global survey of the world’s 500 largest investors by the British-based Asset Owners Disclosure Project, lagging not only leading top-place finishers Sweden and Norway, but also countries such as the United States, Britain, France, China, Brazil and Australia.

The review noted that 12 of the 27 major Canadian asset managers that were studied disclosed nothing about their management of climate change, giving the appearance they “are in denial” about climate-change risk.

“Frankly, this isn’t good enough for the Canadian funds, who at the end of the day have to protect Canadians’ pensions from this sort of risk,” said Julian Poulter, chief executive officer of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project.

Mr. Poulter said Canadian investors have significant exposure to high-carbon industries such as energy and mining, so they should be especially motivated to deal with climate-change risks.

“It simply isn’t an excuse. If you have a local, domestic economy that is particularly exposed to one sort of thematic risk, then you hedge your portfolio against it,” he said.

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