Two Canadian pension fund officials were hailed Tuesday by the British High Commission and the Canada Climate Law Initiative as Canadian climate champions for their efforts to move Canada to net-zero emissions.
The list of 26 champions includes Barbara Zvan, the inaugural president and CEO of the University Pension Plan, Ontario, and Kim Thomassin, executive vice president and head of investments in Quebec and stewardship investing for the Caisse de Depot et de Placement du Quebec.
Last July, Ms. Zvan was tapped to lead the new pension fund, which will begin receiving contributions in July. It is expected to cover 33,500 participants and manage $10 billion in assets. Before UPP, Ms. Zvan served as chief risk and strategy officer of the C$221.2 billion ($173 billion) Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Toronto. She also served as chairwoman of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board's Investor Advisory Group.
The C$365.5 billion Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Montreal, has 10% of its overall portfolio in low-carbon assets as of Dec. 31. According to its most recent stewardship report for 2020, CDPQ has reduced the portfolio's carbon intensity by 38% since 2017, well above the prior goal of reducing the carbon intensity per dollar invested by 25% by 2025.
"Canadian courts have now recognized that climate change poses an existential threat to humanity, and globally, we are now facing tipping-points that will have irreversible effects. Canada must begin to lead by example in an ambitious shift toward net-zero emissions, a circular economy, sustainable finance and protection of biodiversity. The Canada Climate Law Initiative celebrates the Champions that are working towards meeting those goals in a fair and equitable manner, in full partnership with Indigenous peoples, businesses, and communities across the country," said law professor Janis Sarra, principal co-investigator at the Canada Climate Law Initiative, in a statement announcing the Climate Champions.