Canada’s UPP Launches Net Zero Action Plan

The University Pension Plan Ontario (UPP), a Canadian public pension fund, has outlined its strategy to achieve net zero portfolio emissions by 2040 or sooner. The ‘Climate Action Plan’ introduces four “strategic pillars for action”: evaluate, invest, engage and advocate. UPP’s commitments include reducing its portfolio carbon footprint by 16.5% by 2025 and 60% by 2030 compared to a 2021 baseline, implementing a Climate Transition Investment Framework and investing accordingly, developing processes and tools to assessed climate-related risks, opportunities and impacts, and engaging with a minimum of 20 of the top-emitting companies in its portfolio on their climate transition progress and efforts. The fund also outlined its commitment to joining the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance. Barbara Zyan, UPP’s President and CEO, noted that there was a “clear call” from members to address climate-related risks and opportunities both through investing and how the fund influences public policy and market systems more broadly. Shift: Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health, a Canada-based charitable initiative working to encouraging pensions to take climate action, welcomed the commitment, noting that UPP has “unequivocally established itself as a climate leader in Canada’s pension sector”. However, the initiative called for more clarity around how UPP’s oil and gas investments are aligned with its new net zero mandate. “It is unclear why the UPP would treat oil and gas companies differently than it treats the thermal coal industry, which it has specifically excluded,” Shift said. 

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