Disturbed by the federal government’s alleged lack of action on the recommendations of the government-appointed Sustainable Finance Action Council (SFAC) in the 2022 Taxonomy Roadmap Report, more than 290 Canadian business leaders from across the spectrum are today urging Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault to urgently engage with industry, and define what will – or won’t – be considered an investment that qualifies as “clean” or sustainable, and implement the resulting taxonomy before the next election.

Over 230 past winners of Canada’s Clean50 awards, and another 60+ leaders and executives have signed an open letter, released today, and joined by over 200 diverse organizations that include major insurance companies, a bank, multiple pension funds, major investment firms and industry leaders, as well as numerous cleantech companies, venture capital firms, academics, industry experts and even federal and municipal politicians such as recent federal cabinet minister Joyce Murray, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Senator Rosa Galvez, former Vancouver mayor Gregor Roberstson, former Edmonton mayor, Don iveson, and Toronto city councillor Dianne Saxe, all recipients of Clean50 awards.

Finance industry signers include the CEOs or senior executive spokespersons from National Bank, insurance firms Aviva and Cooperators, Intact Insurance and major investment firms Addenda Capital, ArcTern Ventures, Chrysalix Venture Capital, Cycle Capital Management, Genus Capital, IA Financial Group, Mackenzie Investments, NEI Investments, University Pension Plan, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), and numerous others. Combined, the signatories represent billions of dollars of capital presently invested in Canadian companies.

“All of the signatories agree that Canada needs to act now,” says Clean50 Executive Director Gavin Pitchford. ”Every other member of the G7, all of the European Union, and 40 other nations representing the vast majority of developed nations world-wide have established criteria for what constitutes, effectively, a ‘sustainable investment’ – and yet Canada has not. The government has been sitting on the recommendations for two years now. That is why the signatories have come forward today; to push the government to act quickly”.

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Member of the SFAC, and taxonomy expert Barbara Zvan, also president and CEO of the University Pension Plan, agrees, adding: “The lack of a taxonomy mean investors are in the dark – and foreign investors are taking capital elsewhere, where such criteria are already established – leaving Canadian firms, especially emerging clean tech firms, at a disadvantage in raising capital.”

Roger Beauchemin, president and CEO of Addenda Capital highlights the need to act now: “This is no longer a pressing issue; it is now critical. Once a Canadian Taxonomy is greenlighted, it will immediately serve a dual purpose: enabling us to assess whether investments align with green and transition strategies and meet clients’ expectations, and allowing issuers to secure capital based on transparent science-based criteria. This will help firms to implement their transition plans and decarbonize their businesses. The capital and will are available. We are only missing the credible guidance to act at scale.”

The work of the SFAC is well advanced, has undergone considerable consultation garnering the support of the top 25 financial institutions in Canada, and there are a lot of recommendations already in front of the Ministers. The group is urging the Government to put the funding and process in place to further consult with stakeholders before finalizing the taxonomy, so that it reflects emerging standards world-wide, while pointing out that waiting any longer before doing so, especially with an election looming, is simply not acceptable.

The letter and signatures online here: https://clean50.com/open-letter-clean-taxonomy/

Featured image credit: Clean50.

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