Global investors find value in making a difference

Oct 11, 2018

It is possible to make money while doing good.

This is not simply an idealist’s dream. It is actually a founding belief that brings 11 major global investors together. AIMCo, Allianz, Aviva, CalPERS, CDPQ, Generali, Natixis Investment Managers, OMERS, Ontario Teachers’, OPTrust and PGGM – representing more than $6 trillion in assets under management – have agreed to work together and pledged to commit resources, expertise and networks to make a difference. Needless to say, investors have not joined forces just to talk: they are looking for tangible results. Led by OntarioTeachers’ and CDPQ, the group has sought the participation of key partners and decided first to focus its energy on three specific initiatives:

  1. Speed up the implementation of uniform and comparable climate-related disclosures;
  2. Open opportunities for women in finance and investment worldwide; and
  3. Enhance expertise in infrastructure financing and development in emerging and frontier economies.

A unique opportunity for an innovative project and coherent language for sustainable finance is critical

The impetus for this collaboration came from Canada’s presidency of the G7 for 2018. The themes identified by the Government of Canada and the spirit of international cooperation inherent to the G7 aligned with the vision the global investors had of how and where they could have an impact.

We worked together to create programs that address the three issues in a substantive way. And, we focused on concrete actions rather than lofty goals. This alignment presented a unique opportunity for an innovative project led by the private sector in collaboration with partners like the Canadian government. Bringing this group together was no small feat. But these are some of the defining problems of our time.Collaboration was necessary.

Responsible investing makes economic sense

The initial partners are in an intensive phase of putting the early pieces in place. Further details and information on how other partners can get involved to make an even bigger impact will be out in near future.These programs have business value for the partner institutions – we felt this was the best way to ensure long-term success.

At Ontario Teachers’, our mission is to pay pensions for generations to come. Every decision we make has to support that mission. Our participation in this global project was no exception.

We have a long history of supporting responsible investing and corporate governance initiatives. We believe that companies that are well governed and manage environmental, social and governance risks perform better over the long term. Responsible investing makes economic sense. More information on our approach to responsible investing is in our 2017 Responsible Investing Report.

I’m excited by the early progress this collective movement is making, and its potential to make a significant difference. Initiatives that benefit the world can be good for business too.

Written for Toronto Finance International by Barbara Zvan, Chief Risk and Strategy Officer, OTPP

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