Green forest
iStock / Moeru Matsunoo

A group of institutional investors and other financial firms plan to target TSX-listed companies in high carbon-emitting sectors as part of an effort to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The group, known as Climate Engagement Canada (CEC) — which includes the asset management arms of the big banks and insurers along with other major institutional investors — announced a list of 40 public companies that it plans to engage with as shareholders.

Those efforts will aim to push the companies to disclose their climate data in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), to adopt strategies to cut their emissions, to set relevant targets, and to ensure accountability and oversight of the risks and opportunities posed by climate change.

The group will also push the companies to bring their own advocacy efforts in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, which include limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

The CEC said the 40 companies were identified as “the top reporting or estimated emitters” on the TSX or those “with a significant opportunity to contribute to the transition to a low-carbon future.”

One-quarter of the companies on the list are in the energy sector, while the mining and utilities sectors account for 20% each. Consumer staples names make up 12.5% of the list, followed by transportation at 7.5%. The rest are in the materials, industrials and consumer discretionary sectors.

“We’ll be expecting ambitious climate action plans from every focus company, in every sector. Our participants are serious about this, and we expect the companies on our focus list to get serious as well. It’s time to move fast and fix things,” said Kevin Thomas, CEO of the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) in a release.

“Canada’s major investors want to support the corporate sector in the transitioning economy, and understand the power of a collaborative approach,” said Barbara Zvan, CEO of University Pension Plan and chair of the CEC steering committee.

“Partnering to constructively and consistently engage with top emitters is critical for the success of Canada’s transition to a low carbon economy and the long-term prosperity of Canadian communities as we move toward a net zero world,” she added.