The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Toronto, is committing to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, officials there announced.
Jo Taylor, president and CEO of the C$204.7 billion ($160.2 billion) pension fund in a statement Thursday called the goal "ambitious but achievable" and one that will take coordinated action. "This is a long-term journey and the actions we take now will be a defining feature of the resiliency of our business and the value we create over time for our members, partners and communities where we operate and invest," Mr. Taylor said.
Chief Investment Officer Ziad Hindo said in the statement that the transition to a low-carbon economy presents challenges but also "many opportunities." Next steps for Ontario Teachers include establishing concrete targets for portfolio emissions and increased investments in climate solutions, and physical risk assessments of direct holdings. The organization will also partner with other climate action advocacy groups, and ask portfolio companies to manage emissions and report annually on efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The announcement was welcomed by Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health, an initiative monitoring fossil fuel investments of Canadian pension funds, as a critical first step but with the need for concrete details on steps to be taken. "Without a plan for major changes to the way the pension fund makes investment decisions, a net-zero commitment runs the risk of becoming a cynical example of green washing," said the group, which criticized recent investments by the pension fund, including stakes in gas pipelines in Abu Dhabi and Italy.