uOttawa signs national charter to address climate change

Posted on Thursday, June 18, 2020

sunlight shines through the close up of ivy on a wall

The University of Ottawa has joined forces with 15 universities across the country to tackle climate change by pledging to follow responsible investment practices. The efforts and intentions of this pledge are outlined in Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities.

The University has long been a leader in taking action against climate change. In 2015, we were the first university in Canada and the second in the world to sign the Montreal Carbon Pledge.

We were able sign the Montreal Climate Pledge because of the commitments outlined in our Addressing Global Warming: The uOttawa Response report. Our approach includes reducing the carbon footprint of the University’s entire investment portfolio by at least 30% by 2030; creating a Clean Innovations Fund (one of the largest sustainable investment funds among Canadian universities) and transferring  $10 million of our long-term portfolio to provide seed capital for investing in clean technologies; creating a Clean Innovation Research Fund of up to $3 million by 2020 to support research, teaching and graduate scholarship; and reducing the campus’ carbon footprint to become a zero-waste campus.

This latest pledge strengthens our commitment to responsible investment and acknowledges the important role Canadian universities play in creating a sustainable future. The charter signatories pledge to abide by the following principles and practices, and encourage other universities to do the same:

  1. Adopt a responsible investing framework to guide investment decision-making, in line with recognized standards such as the UN-supported Principles of Responsible Investment (UN-PRI). Such a framework should:
    1. Incorporate ESG factors into investment management practices
    2. Encourage active engagement with companies to foster disclosure of ESG (including climate) related risks, and adoption of operational practices that reduce carbon emissions and foster ESG-positive behaviour more broadly
    3. Regularly measure the carbon intensity of our investment portfolios, and set meaningful targets for their reduction over time
  2. Evaluate progress towards these objectives on a regular basis, and share the results of such assessments publicly
  3. Ensure that the performance evaluation of our investment managers takes into account their success in achieving such objectives, alongside the other criteria for assessing their performance

Learn more about the University of Ottawa’s commitment to addressing global warming and our commitment to a greener economy.

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