More than 20 financial players in Quebec are joining forces in an effort to tackle the climate emergency and social inequalities
First Sustainable Finance Summit
Montreal, October 4, 2021 — More than 20 financial players in Quebec representing over $900 billion in assets under management are joining forces to unveil today the Statement by the Quebec Financial Centre for a Sustainable Finance. This initiative is launched on the occasion of the first edition of the Sustainable Finance Summit, a major event bringing together over 1,200 leaders and organized by Finance Montréal, the financial cluster of Quebec. In the wake of the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and on the eve of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the Quebec financial sector commits itself to strengthening the sustainable finance ecosystem and to make Quebec a center of excellence in this field. The signatories thus provide themselves with a common ambition and the necessary tools to tackle the climate emergency and reduce the gaps created by the pandemic. This statement, a first in North America, aims to affirm Quebec’s historic leadership in sustainable finance and to position financial institutions and their commitment to sustainable finance and ESG (environmental, social and governance) principles.
“A very strong signal is going out today. Quebec’s financial sector has a game plan to support a green, just and responsible transition for the Quebec and Canadian economies. This important engagement will help position Quebec as a centre of sustainable finance excellence in North America,” said Jacques Deforges, Chief Executive Officer of Finance Montréal, who invites all financial ecosystem players to join the movement and sign the Statement in the coming months.
A mobilized sector: the financial community’s commitments
To accelerate this shift towards sustainable finance, the signatories of the Statement agree to undertake, pursue or accelerate concrete initiatives related to the following areas, according to their capacity and their specific contexts:
- Develop a local expertise in sustainable finance and investment
- Promote the establishment or growth of local teams and business units in sustainable finance in Quebec
- Support the local development of sustainable finance products and services
- Promote the growth of funds managed by locally established managers with leading-edge expertise in responsible investment
- Strengthen disclosure and transparency in sustainable finance
- Strengthen the integration of ESG factors into signatories’ operations, internal processes and practices, and encourage our partners to integrate ESG factors
The implementation of these initiatives will be monitored periodically by Finance Montréal and made public.
Quotes from signatories and endorsements
“We’re facing a climate emergency. We need to act together to speed up the transition to a low-carbon economy. Desjardins is standing with other stakeholders in Quebec’s financial sector to sign the Declaration of the Quebec financial Centre for Sustainable Finance. Our organization has committed to provide training in sustainable development to the majority of our 52,000 employees by the end of 2023, to support transparency and reporting in sustainable finance, to promote the development of Montreal’s sustainable finance sector through our network of over 4,000 Desjardins advisors and professionals, and to continue integrating ESG factors into all of our operations. These commitments, combined with our ambitious action plan which aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, will help Quebec and Canada meet their provincial and federal targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” —Guy Cormier, President and CEO, Desjardins
“The financial industry has a key role to play in addressing climate change and social challenges. Both our clients and employees are concerned about the environment, poverty and social exclusion, and that’s why we want to do even better. By 2025, we plan to direct $5 billion in assets to local fund managers to stimulate activity, innovation and the recruitment of talent in sustainable finance.” —Laurent Ferreira, Chief Operating Officer and President and CEO designate of National Bank
“As a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, iA Financial Group is committed to strengthening the integration of ESG factors in its investment strategies, processes and operations and is actively contributing to positioning Quebec as a centre of excellence in sustainable finance. It is important for us to encourage and fully participate in collaboration with various members of the industry to promote disclosure and adherence to sustainability and ESG management.” —Denis Ricard, President and CEO, iA Financial Group
“All stakeholders need to go from commitments to actions if we want the economy to make a successful transition. To make tangible changes on the ground, we will support our portfolio companies in incorporating ESG matters into their business practices. Our goal is to work together to build a more sustainable and just future.” —Charles Emond, President and CEO, CDPQ
“For the past 25 years at Fondaction, we have chosen to use financial leverage to contribute to the positive transformation of society to make our economy more equitable, inclusive, green and powerful. A signatory of the Statement, Fondaction has made several commitments, including to triple the value of its impact investments by 2025 and reinforce the impact investment team it formed in 2020 by constantly seeking to connect it with the best expertise available.” —Geneviève Morin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fondaction
“We are committed to strengthening disclosure and transparency in sustainable finance. We will ensure that we always publish our governance policies and make available the minutes of our discussions with the management teams of the companies we own.” —Sylvain Boulé President and Chief Executive Officer, Montrusco Bolton Investments Inc.
“The next decade will be crucial and in order to face the multiple challenges posed by climate change, the contribution of everyone is needed, including the financial sector. There cannot be finance and sustainable finance. Finance must be sustainable, period. In ensuring Quebec’s regulatory and normative framework development, the AMF undertakes to support financial sector efforts to comply with best practices in sustainable finance and equip investors and financial consumers with tools to accurately assess emerging risks and opportunities associated, in particular, with the transition to a green economy.” —Louis Morisset, President and CEO, AMF
“Sustainable finance is at the heart of the Fonds Climat du Grand Montréal (FCGM) mandate. We welcome this concrete commitment from the financial sector in Quebec with enthusiasm. As a catalyst for financial innovation in Greater Montreal, the FCGM is committed to providing financial support to projects with great potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, scale-up and well-being for communities.” —Marie-Claude Bourgie, Executive Director of the Greater Montreal Climate Fund
“For close to 40 years, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ has been investing in Québec’s socio-economic development. We are proud to commit ourselves towards the development of local expertise in sustainable finance. Our investment policy now formally includes our desire to favour local managers and the share of assets managed here.” —Janie C. Béïque, President and CEO, Fonds de solidarité FTQ
“At Beneva, our business decisions are guided by our mutualist roots and our unwavering commitment to ensuring the community’s well-being. This is why we were the first Canadian insurance company to be signatory of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment. We stand behind Finance Montréal’s statement and will continue to make tangible efforts, like reducing our portfolio’s carbon footprint, which is already 13% below the industry benchmark.” —Jean-François Chalifoux, President and CEO, Beneva, created by the coming together of La Capitale and SSQ Insurance
“At KPMG, we practice what we preach: that is why we are aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and we are committed to developing a Québec-based centre of expertise to support our national business community to integrate ESG factors and develop sustainable finance solutions.” —Benoit Lacoste Bienvenue, Managing Partner, Québec Region, KPMG Canada
“Present throughout Quebec as well as in the Ottawa and Edmundston regions with more than 100 offices and a team of over 2,700 professionals, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has been helping to build strong communities for more than 70 years through the strength of its advice. In its efforts to remain a market leader with a distinctive, personalized, quality offering, the firm is committed to propelling the responsible growth of organizations with an enhanced service offering that better responds to corporate social responsibility and sustainable financing issues.” —Emilio B. Imbriglio, President and CEO, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
“As a certified B Corp and one of the country’s largest clean technology investors, it was only natural that BDC support this sustainable finance initiative and become a signatory to the Statement. We support the Paris Agreement’s goals for a cleaner, more sustainable future by 2050, and we are committed to supporting small and medium-sized businesses in this transition to a prosperous, inclusive and green economy. At BDC, we are working toward quantifying our ecological footprint and that of our investments at a granular level to further reduce our environmental impact. For example, we are committed to reducing the carbon footprint of our operations to net zero by 2025.” —Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO, BDC
“CH&Co is fully convinced of the urgency of environmental and societal transitions and that the financial industry plays a major role in addressing these issues. By providing a team of specialized experts, CH&Co. is committed to support the stakeholders partaking in the Quebec financial ecosystem so that, in the near future, we no longer speak of sustainable finance but, quite simply, finance.” —Alexandre Hovette, Senior Partner, Chappuis Halder&Co (CH&Co.) Montreal
“With this Declaration, Jarislowsky Fraser reaffirms its commitment to sustainable investment and the Quebec financial ecosystem. Our firm is committed to increasing collaboration with Quebec’s academic and financial communities with the objective of deepening the understanding of ESG risks and opportunities, particularly in the areas of governance and climate change.” —Maxime Ménard, President and CEO, Jarislowsky Fraser Limited
“As an established Montreal firm with a growing global presence, Fiera Capital is committed to promoting Quebec as a hub of excellence in sustainable finance and investment in North America, and to work proactively towards the goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through our investment strategies. In signing this Statement and joining hands with the industry, we are contributing positively to the finance of tomorrow.” —Jean-Philippe Lemay Global President and Chief Operating Officer, Fiera Capital
“Investissement Québec supports the Finance Montréal statement without reservation. We plan to play an active role, in particular by providing financing solutions and an industrial environmental performance diagnostic through our Compétivert initiative to encourage our clients and partners to join the transition to a responsible and sustainable economy that offers promising avenues for making the most of their competitiveness.” —Guy Leblanc, President and CEO, Investissement Québec
“’BNP Paribas in Canada is proud to support the advancement of sustainable finance in Quebec. This initiative is a decisive step in the financial sector’s mobilization in the defense of our climate. In line with our global commitment to fight climate change, in April 2021, BNP Paribas joined the UN Net-Zero Banking Alliance bringing together international banks dedicated to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050. We look forward to contributing to new opportunities and solutions adapted to a changing world.” —Sonja Volpe, CEO, BNP Paribas in Canada
“As part of our responsible management philosophy, we believe that the proactive management of ESG factors positively impacts value creation for business and society. Power Corporation is thus proud to participate in the Finance Montréal initiative, alongside other key actors of the Quebec financial sector, and is committed to supporting the development of expertise in enhancing ESG-related practices in order to foster a strong, responsible investment ecosystem.” —R. Jeffrey Orr, President and CEO, Power Corporation of Canada
“PSP Investments has a long-standing commitment to responsible investing as a means of better managing risk and generating the long-term returns needed to achieve our mandate. As a global investor and capital allocator, we invest with an ESG lens, integrating climate change factors into our investment decisions and asset management processes. We use our influence to encourage companies to put sustainability and inclusive growth at the centre of their operations and we promote strengthened disclosure and transparency. In addition to publishing our own annual responsible investment report that includes disclosure of portfolio carbon emissions, PSP Investments also works with industry partners to support data and KPI standardization for our industry. We are proud to support the Statement by the Quebec Financial Centre for a Sustainable Finance by collaboratively sharing our expertise in the space and learning from the Statement signatories.” —Neil Cunningham, President and CEO, PSP Investments
“Sustainable investing and ESG factors have become priority criteria for global investors and asset owners. Montréal Exchange, Canada’s derivatives exchange, is committed to finding innovative new ways to help participants capitalize on opportunities and manage risks associated with sustainable finance investment, including our benchmark ESG indices and ESG index futures. We are very proud to sign on to this important initiative and look forward to working in close partnership with our industry stakeholders and the broader Québec financial ecosystem to push the evolution of sustainable finance markets.” —Luc Fortin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Montréal Exchange and Global Head of Trading, TMX Group
“Société Générale Canada fully supports the commitment of Québec’s financial sector actors to promote finance based on the principles of responsible investment. Société Générale has strengthened its position as a leader in the ecological transition by joining the UNEP-FI Net-Zero Banking Alliance as a founding member in April 2021, and undertakes to align its portfolios with trajectories aiming at carbon neutrality by 2050 with the ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. At Société Générale Canada, we look forward to contributing to—and through—Québec’s eco-system to help stakeholders in achieving their transition for an equitable and sustainable future for all.” —Francis Repka, Chief Executive Officer Société Générale Canada
“HEC Montréal’s support for the Statement shows our conviction that Québec has all the assets to become a world leader in sustainable finance. In this sense, we will reinforce our role in responsible management. We will train leaders who are committed to a prosperous, sustainable, and fair economy.” —Federico Pasin, Director, HEC Montréal
“In order to support Finance Montréal’s objective of making Montreal a center of excellence for sustainable finance, BLG commits to build, with the assistance of our national experts, a local expertise to help promote and support this fast growing field of activity” —André Dufour, Regional Managing Partner, Montréal, BLG
To view the Statement by the Quebec Financial Centre for a Sustainable Finance, visit: www.finance-montreal.com/en/declaration
To learn more about the Sustainable Finance Summit, visit: www.sommet-financedurable.com/en/
About the Statement by the Quebec Financial Centre for a Sustainable Finance
The Statement by the Quebec Financial Centre for a Sustainable Finance is a commitment from Quebec financial sector players to responsible finance principles. All players in the Quebec financial sector are invited to join the movement by becoming signatories to the Statement and proposing ambitious measures that will help position Quebec as a centre of sustainable finance excellence and innovation in North America.
About Finance Montréal
Created in 2010, Finance Montréal, Quebec’s financial cluster, is dedicated to making Montréal a world-class financial hub and fostering cooperation among its member institutions to accelerate industry growth. The organization conducts international business development activities to attract foreign financial firms, in addition to managing the FinTech Station Montréal, a development centre for companies working in the FinTech sector. To learn more about Finance Montréal, visit: www.finance-montreal.com.