Around the world, investors and governments recognize that key to a sustainable economic future are sustainable financial investments. Sustainable finance is about incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into investment decisions and is a fast-growing market that is gaining speed as more and more businesses address climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy and seize the economic opportunities it presents.
On May 12, 2021 the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, launched the Sustainable Finance Action Council.
The council will bring together public and private sector financial expertise to support the growth of a strong, well-functioning, sustainable finance market. Financial sector leaders will provide input on the foundational market infrastructure needed for a stable and reliable sustainable finance market in Canada that will boost investor confidence and drive economic growth. Mobilizing capital is a critical part of Canada’s work to meet its 2030 Paris target, achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and ensure that Canada continues to have a prosperous economy.
Kathy Bardswick was named as the inaugural Chair of Canada’s Sustainable Finance Action Council and will invite a regionally diverse group of leading financial sector organizations to participate as members of the council. Participants will include a broad representation of Canadian banks, insurance companies and pension funds. A public sector coordinating group will play a role in observing council meetings and advising the chair. The first meeting is expected to take place in early June, at which point confirmed participants will be announced. Other organizations and individuals from academia, think tanks and industry groups with expertise in sustainable finance will be engaged for their advice and input.
The Government of Canada also recognizes that sustainable finance incorporates representative decision-making. The work of the council will also therefore include a focus on gender and diversity reporting across the public and private sector.
Establishing a well-functioning sustainable finance market will give investors confidence in Canada, protect the resilience of the Canadian financial sector in the years ahead, and ensure Canada’s broader long-term economic strength.