Investors ask Canada’s banks to do more to address climate change risks
TORONTO, O.N., October 14, 2015 – Ahead of the Paris talks on global climate change in December, a new research report finds that Canada’s banks have an important stake in addressing one of the most defining economic, environmental and social challenges of our time.
The report explains that banks are particularly vulnerable to climate-change related risks because their financing activities span all sectors of the economy. Despite this exposure, however, Canada’s banks are not adequately considering the potential impacts of climate change in the way that they do business.
“Canada’s banks are failing to demonstrate to their shareholders that they understand the implications of this fundamental risk to their core business,” says SHARE’s Director of Responsible Investment, Shannon Rohan, who also authored the report. “It is critical for investors that are concerned about the long-term risks associated with climate change to push for improved performance by Canada’s banks in integrating climate change considerations in their business strategies and risk management processes.”
Wayne Wachell, CEO and Chief Investment Officer at Genus Capital Management, a Canadian leader in fossil free investment options, said: “We welcome the report. It aligns with our two-pronged strategy to addressing climate change where we first eliminate those companies directly involved in extracting, processing and transporting fossil fuels. We then actively engage companies that remain in the portfolio that may still be exposed to climate-change related risks.” He added, “Banks, as major capital providers, are among the companies that we are engaging with about the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.”
The report, “Banking on 2°: The Hidden Risks of Climate Change for Canadian Banks,” outlines the impacts that climate change-related risks could have on the banking sector. It also provides a set of recommendations for how Canada’s banks can more effectively manage these risks and catalyze the transition to a low carbon economy.