Canadian collaborative engagement initiative gains first international investor

Nordea Asset Management will be an international supporter and is assessing which engagement streams to join.

Nordea Asset Management has joined Climate Engagement Canada (CEC) as its first international supporter and is assessing which engagement streams to join.

Launched in 2021, CEC is a $4.9 trillion collaborative engagement initiative targeting the country’s heaviest emitters. It is co-ordinated by Canada’s Responsible Investment Association, the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) and Ceres.  

Its 27 founding members include RBC Global Asset Management, Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Addenda Capital, Manulife Investment Management, BMO Global Asset Management, Scotiabank and University Pension Plan Ontario.  

The 41 firms selected for engagement – which began in mid-2022 – operate across the Canadian economy in the following sectors: oil and gas, utilities, mining, agriculture and food, transportation, materials, industrials and consumer discretionary.  

In May, CEC published its net-zero benchmark as a way to provide a set of common standards for investors to evaluate companies’ progress towards aligning with the Paris Agreement. The inaugural benchmarking of the firms is due to come out later this year. 

The initiative has now created a new category of “international supporter” for organisations who are headquartered outside Canada that want to support the aims and objectives of CEC. 

“We created the category to recognise the fact that Canadian firms also have many international owners and while we believe the engagements should be led by Canadian organisations, they should be open to participation from a company’s broader ownership if they share our objectives and commitments,” Kevin Thomas, CEO of SHARE, told Responsible Investor.

Our international connections also help CEC with knowledge exchange and strategy, since what we do here in Canada on climate change is not completely separate and apart from what’s being done globally,” he added. 

Nordea Asset Management is the first to officially join as an international supporter. The Nordic investor confirmed to RI that it did so at the end of September. 

Eric Pedersen, head of responsible investments at Nordea, told RI that the initiative’s work aligns well with its engagement philosophy, complements its existing climate engagement activities, and will help strengthen “its capabilities and increase the likelihood of influencing companies in the Canadian market”. 

He added that Nordea is in the process of assessing which engagement streams it can have the biggest contribution to and with the most relevance to its investments.