Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan aiming for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

The steel mills in the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board says it is committing to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with a slew of climate-friendly promises.

Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan says in the coming weeks it will establish concrete targets for portfolio emissions and ensure companies it invests in report emissions annually.

The pension plan manager says it will direct proceeds from a green bond offering towards climate-friendly investment opportunities and advocate for clear climate policies with the help of global organizations it will partner with.

The promises come weeks after an environmental coalition launched a campaign encouraging the board to divest from companies that develop or transport fossil fuel products.

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The coalition included Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health, Fridays for Future Toronto and a group of working and retired Ontario teachers who wanted the plan to stop investing their retirement savings in oil, gas, coal and pipeline companies.

Chief Investment Officer Ziad Hindo says that direct private assets in oil and gas make up about three per cent of the plan’s portfolio and that it will continue to shift away from fossil fuels.

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