McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario is taking steps toward strengthening its commitment to climate change action, with transparent measurement, carbon reduction goals, and reporting.

McMaster has now signed on to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investments (UN-PRI), a set of responsible investment practices that are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These goals call for global action on pressing issues such as poverty, inequality, and climate change, among others.

On climate change, McMaster is committing to a 45 per cent carbon reduction of the public equities within the investment pool by 2030. In addition, the university is committed to improving transparency, measurements, and reporting associated with carbon and other sustainability issues including land, water, air, equality, diversity, and governance. McMaster aspires to achieve a carbon neutral investment pool by 2050 for public equities investments.

“Advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is an important area of focus for the University,” says David Farrar, president of McMaster University. “Our ambitious and proactive commitment to sustainable investing is another way in which we are seeking to support these goals and make a difference, on our campus, in our community, and globally.”

UN-PRI principles and practices include:

  • Incorporating Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes
  • Being an active owner and incorporating ESG issues into ownership policies and practices
  • Seeking appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which McMaster invests
  • Promoting acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry
  • Working with the PRI Secretariate and other signatories to enhance their effectiveness in implementing the principles
  • Reporting on activities and progress towards implementing the principles

These commitments are the latest in a series of responsible investment measures recently implemented at McMaster – measures that are already yielding positive results.

Between 2018-2019, carbon in McMaster’s investment pool declined by 9 per cent, and the weighted average carbon intensity declined by 23 per cent over the same period.

McMaster has also integrated ESG factors into all of its policies and procedures and has already integrated the UN-PRI into its Investment Pool policy.

In addition, McMaster is the first Canadian university to be an early voluntary adopter of the Task Force Recommendations for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TFCD) across all invested asset portfolios. The disclosures will be included in the annual financial reports.

For further information on the UN-PRI, click here.

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