Is Canadian trade association lobbying aligned with Canada’s climate commitments?

Toronto, ON, August 22, 2017 – In the months since the US federal government’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, players in Canadian climate policy discussions, including trade associations, are voicing apprehension over the potential impact on competitiveness of Canada’s climate change commitments.

A new report published by the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), Is Canadian trade association lobbying aligned with Canada’s Paris Agreement commitments? reveals that while many trade associations have voiced support for carbon pricing, that support is often qualified by broad claims of reduced competitiveness, which may or may not be based on empirical evidence. The report examines arguments made by over 20 Canadian trade associations representing publicly-traded companies that actively lobby on climate change issues, and provides a set of questions that member companies and their shareholders can raise to ensure greater clarity as the policy debate continues.

“Investors are increasingly seeking clear and decisive action on climate policy in Canada,” says SHARE’s Director of Shareholder Engagement, Kevin Thomas, who co-authored the report. “While questions of competitiveness and regulatory effectiveness must be considered and understood when discussing climate policy, the challenge is to ensure that short-term politics don’t derail the long-term benefits from an energy transition in Canada. Before taking any trade association’s arguments at face value, its members, their investors, and policy-makers should look underneath the hood at the assumptions being made.”

“Recent analysis concludes that competitiveness pressures will only significantly impact a portion of Canada’s overall economic activity,” he said. “The danger is that we assume the sky is falling when the risks are more specific and can be addressed. Further, while the US federal government is pulling back on climate action, a growing number of US states and cities have pledged to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement and a great deal of climate-related regulation is actually being done at the state level, not the federal level.”

SHARE, on behalf of its institutional investor clients, continues to engage with Canadian and US companies to improve oversight and disclosure of both direct political activity as well as indirect activity through trade associations and policy-oriented non-profit organizations.


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Notes for Editors
Interviews available with Kevin Thomas, Director of Shareholder Engagement
Contact: Norah Murphy, 604.695.2026 or [email protected]

About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)
SHARE is a Canadian leader in responsible investment services, research and education for institutional investors. Since its creation as a non-profit organization in 2000, SHARE has provided proxy voting analysis, shareholder engagement, education, policy advocacy, and practical research on issues related to responsible investment. SHARE’s clients include pension funds, mutual funds, foundations, faith-based organizations and asset managers across Canada. / @share_ca


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