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‘Troubling Incrementalism’: Is the Canadian Pension Plan Fund Doing Enough to Advance the Transition to a Low-carbon Economy?

September 2020 | Cynthia Williams | Reports

In a new in-depth legal analysis by the Canada Climate Law Initiative, ‘Troubling Incrementalism’: Is the Canadian Pension Plan Fund Doing Enough to Advance the Transition to a Low-carbon Economy?,’ report author Cynthia A. Williams finds that Canada Pension Plan’s approach to managing the financial risks of climate change may not be consistent with the best interests of Canadian beneficiaries and contributors. Rather, CPP Investments’ private investments in the oil and gas sector reveals a ‘troubling incrementalism’ that exposes Canadians’ pension investments to significant climate related risks; risks that the Bank of Canada has stated affect the ability of central banks to achieve goals for financial stability. The Canada Pension Plan is one of the world’s largest and most influential public pension funds with more than CA$434.4 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2020. The funds are managed by CPP Investments (formerly CPP Investment Board or CPPIB) with a mandate to serve the best interests of over 20 million Canadian workers and retirees whose retirement savings are vested in the plan. Professor Williams takes the view that CPP Investments can demonstrate leadership by increasing transparency and setting aggressive targets for reducing carbon in its Canadian portfolio, thus supporting Canada’s low carbon transition and good jobs for future generations of Canadians.

Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative
The CCLI examines the legal basis for directors and trustees to consider, manage, and report on climate change and broader environmental risks, opportunities and impacts, and the circumstances in which there may be liability for failing to do so. We also work to advance knowledge on effective sustainable governance practice.
Contact

The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 11813153 and with registered office at Kemp House, 160 City Road, London, United Kingdom EC1V 2NX.

Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative

The CCLI examines the legal basis for directors and trustees to consider, manage, and report on climate change and broader environmental risks, opportunities and impacts, and the circumstances in which there may be liability for failing to do so. We also work to advance knowledge on effective sustainable governance practice.

Contact

The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 11813153 and with registered office at Kemp House, 160 City Road, London, United Kingdom EC1V 2NX.

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