Beneficiaries demand clarity about fund manager’s climate action plan

Pension holders want to know how it will accomplish its climate action goals

Beneficiaries demand clarity about fund manager’s climate action plan

Ontario’s Public Service Pension Plan members wanted to know how the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO) intend to accomplish the goals they put in their climate action plan, as reported by Canada’s National Observer.

Toronto Councilor, Dianne Saxe, was one of its beneficiaries that have signed an open letter organized by Shift Action for Pension Wealth & Planet Health (Shift Action), a charitable initiative that protects pensions and monitors how pension funds align its investments with their climate goals. In the open letter, Shift Action asked the IMCO about the actual steps they were going to take to ensure the protection of the planet and their beneficiaries’ investments from the threat of climate change.

“What the pension funds do with these large amounts of capital is enormously important on whether we get anywhere near that goal of a livable future or we don't.” said Saxe.

She further said how the climate plans of most pension funds tend to have a lack of clarity.

“We have seen a number [of pension funds] make sort of grand announcements that, ‘Oh, yes, we're going to be great later,’ but without specificity about how they're going to measure this.” she said.

The IMCO released a climate action plan last November 2022 which detailed their plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This was met with criticism by Shift Action as it claimed that the plan was filled with “weasel words” and was not clear in regards of the steps they will take to fulfill their goals.

“I will give [IMCO] credit for being one of the more transparent and forthcoming pension funds.” said Patrick DeRochie, senior manager at Shift Action. He said that other than the vague climate guardrails, the climate plan was still impressive.

IMCO’s plan stated that it aims to reduce the carbon emissions concerned with the products and operations of the organizations in its portfolio by 50% by 2030. It also aimed to invest at least 20% of its assets to “climate solutions” by the same year.

With a lot of questions being raised, Shift Action’s open letter asked IMCO to provide a response regarding their plan by the end of the month.

DeRochie said that IMCO is taking a lot of steps that are beneficial to the climate and Shift Action can see that the fund manager can eventually emerge as a leader in that regard.

“And that's why it's just so disappointing to see this weird, meaningless, confusing fossil fuel exclusion policy they have.” he said.