Canada is the 8th top backer of new coal plants around the world

Filed in 2017 Media releases, Media releases by on December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017 (Ottawa) – Today, the German organization Urgewald released a report revealing Canada as the 8th largest investor in new coal globally.  They provide a list of the top 100 investors in companies developing new coal plants. Canadian institutions on the list include:

  • SunLife at #31 with $895 million invested;
  • Power Financial Corporation at #53 with $631 million invested;
  • Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec at #71 with $433 million invested;
  • Royal Bank at #86 with $356 million invested;
  • Manulife Financial at #98 with $282 million invested; and
  • the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board just missed making the list with $267 million invested.

Friends of the Earth, using the Urgewald findings and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board publications, has produced “Canadian Coal Investment: Powering Past the Coal Alliance”.

“Minister McKenna is claiming leadership in the global phase-out of coal but the numbers show investors undermining that commitment,” says John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada.  “This isn’t just about right and wrong. It’s about making risky investments – largely with other people’s money,” said Mr. Bennett.

In the midst of growing evidence of the risks of investing in fossil fuels, initiated by government pronouncements on phasing out coal plants, carbon pricing and climatic events,  Canadian pension funds and financial institution are helping to bankroll the expansion of coal fired power plants in China, India, South Africa and other countries around the world.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s total investment in coal stands at $12.2 billion CDN. This number is based on CPPIB Direct Investment of $339 million in Urgewald’s top 120 Coal New Developers, CPPIB Investments of $6,939 million in the Urgewald’s 100 Top Investors in New Coal and other CPPIB Coal Investments of $4,969.

“Will the Canada Pension Plan be there for Canadians if it continues ignoring climate change and making risky investments with our money? We need regulations requiring financial institutions to recognize the financial risks associated with climate change and ending investment in fossil fuels starting with new coal plants,” said Mr. Bennett.

Coal investments of $12.2 billion is a great deal of money; however, it is only 3.7% of the CPPIB’s $325 billion fund. Even if all the coal investments were wildly profitable, their divestment would have only a minor impact on returns. On the other hand, assessments by Corporate Knights have shown the Canada Pension Plan likely miss out on US$6.5 billion in profits by sticking with climate polluting industries.

 

For more information, contact: John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada, 613 291-6888 johnbennett@foecanada.org

Friends of the Earth Canada (www.foecanada.org) is the Canadian member of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network campaigning in 75 countries on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues.

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