By CSE research team
With the growing spotlight on ESG factors and the journey towards ESG measuring and disclosure, with a stress on the long-term economic and social and environmental value, governments globally started to invest massively in sustainable and innovative infrastructure – from clean airplanes to affordable housing. Global leaders brought to light ESG buzzwords such as “…sustainable, resilient economic systems,” or “responsible industry transformation”.
CEO’s from the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council (WEF-IBC) have proposed a set of common metrics for measuring important ESG metrics, with the goal of driving global standards convergence to provide asset managers and investors with better data for investment decision-making.
The majority of sustainable assets are in Europe, however, this is rapidly expanding to the rest of the world. For example, with the new Biden administration’s public interest in carbon reduction, GHG regulations, and setting net zero targets, we may see more intense focus on ESG in the United States over the next few years.
In Canada, there are several legal changes to help reduce both Canada’s contribution to global emissions and the degree to which its economy is exposed to the financial risks associated with a changing climate. For example, after the 2018 Carbon Tax implementation, the government has developed regulations intended to significantly curb methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 2025 and, like the Carbon Tax, various provinces have developed their own equivalent regulations. The Canadian government also plans to introduce a clean fuel standard that is, again, intended to reduce the emissions intensity and greenhouse gas emitting potential of liquid fuels distributed in Canada. Finally, there is a recent legislation outlining the government’s commitment to, and establishing a process to help it achieve, net-zero emissions by 2050.
On another level, it is noted that eight major Canadian pension funds recently called for companies and investors to place a larger emphasis on the role of sustainability in their planning, operational and reporting practices.
Regarding the social component of ESG, governments at both the federal and provincial levels are acting to align major project development in Canada with important social values. To this end, the Canadian government’s new Impact Assessment Act was designed to better integrate social factors into the regulatory assessment of major projects. Taking the social component one step further, indigenous engagement has also become an increasingly important part of government and corporate engagement in Canada.
This clearly demonstrates the intent of Canadian policymakers, legislators and regulators to respond to the ESG imperative and make a cost-effective transition to an ESG favorable business environment.
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The Center for Sustainability and Excellence is a thought leader in ESG and Sustainability consulting and professional education services since 2005. With global awards and a worldwide affiliate network, CSE is proud to support FORTUNE 500 companies and leading Governmental Organizations on their strategy transformation towards ESG Standards and Ratings.