Canadian Pension Manager Downgraded on Climate Action 

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is the only pension manager in any category to have received a lower score than last year in NGO Shift’s 2023 Canadian pension climate report. The downgrade was due to a combination of a troubling pattern of risky investments in fossil fuel expansion, and public statements celebrating Canada’s oil and gas industry, Shift said in a statement. The CPPIB is the $591 billion pension manager for the Canada Pension Plan, whose members include 22 million working and retired Canadians outside of Quebec, and stands out as the “biggest investor in and defender of fossil fuels in the Canadian pension sector”, the NGO argued. Although it has taken positive steps to assess the financial risks of climate change and navigate its portfolio through the energy transition, the CPPIB remains one of the only pension managers analysed in the report that has yet to set interim portfolio emission reduction targets. Although in 2021, the pension manager set up a net-zero-by-2050 target which included Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions, developing a climate plan and issuing several reports on energy transition and decarbonisation, it also “waffled” on its communication of climate urgency – downplaying the systemic and existential nature of the climate crisis. In addition, the CPPIB continued to make regular public statements obfuscating the scientific imperative to rapidly phase out fossil fuels. It has reportedly stated several times that it was opposed to “blanket [fossil fuel] divestment.” In addition, the CPPIB does not yet have interim climate transition targets, has not joined a credible Paris-aligned investor body, and has failed to commit to recommendations from the UN High-Level Expert Group on Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities. “CPPIB’s position on offsets must be clarified, as the fund has made investments in carbon credits, including the purchase of offsets as an emissions abatement option for companies,” the report further read. 

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