A collection of institutional investors is endorsing an expert panel’s recommendations calling for regulators, the financial industry and investors to drive sustainable investment through the traditional financial sector.
The federal Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance issued its final report Friday, setting out 15 recommendations for more environmentally sustainable investment.
The panel said its report is intended to provide “a package of practical, concrete recommendations” for bringing sustainable investment into the mainstream.
“If Canada is to meet its long-term objectives, sustainable finance must become, simply, finance,” the group said in its report. “Climate change opportunity and risk management need to become business-as-usual in financial services, and embedded in everyday business decisions, products and services.”
Among other things, the panel’s recommendations aim to create incentives for environmentally-sound investments that would, in turn, spark demand for sustainable financial products and services.
It recommends measures to expand the green bond market and to encourage sustainable investment within the traditional asset management sector.
The report also calls for the development of climate-related data and reporting standards; embedding climate risk considerations into financial regulation; and recommends that policymakers clarify the scope of fiduciary duty when it comes to climate change.
“The financial sector is not going to solve climate change, but the things that are—innovation, clean electricity, deep building retrofits, climate-resilient infrastructure and more—all require investment, and that’s where finance is critical,” said Tiff Macklem, former senior deputy governor at the Bank of Canada and chair of the expert panel.
“For Canada to be competitive in a world that is increasingly concerned about sound environmental stewardship, sustainable finance needs to become business as usual in the Canadian financial services industry,” he added.
A trade group for socially-responsible investing firms, the Responsible Investment Association (RIA), immediately endorsed the report’s recommendations.
“Prudent investors are always mindful of big changes that are happening in the market, and climate change is one of the biggest drivers of change in the global economy today,” said Dustyn Lanz, CEO of the RIA, in a statement.
“Investors need reliable information and a clear policy framework to better understand how climate change and other societal challenges could impact their portfolios. They also need a stable financial system in which to operate. The expert panel’s report marks an important step forward on all of those fronts,” he added.