OMERS, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans with $114 billion in assets announced today a commitment to reach net zero emissions across its investment portfolio by 2050.

The new goal adds to the investment manager’s current climate target, unveiled earlier this year to reduce the carbon intensity of its portfolio by 20% by 2025. OMERS said that it currently has over $18 billion in green assets in its portfolio – including those engaged in renewable energy, energy efficiency and green-certified buildings – and the company stated that it has a program in place to sustainably grow its assets over the long-term.

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Blake Hutcheson, Chief Executive Officer and President, OMERS said:

“Our near-term carbon reduction goals are tangible, actionable, and ensure our leadership team is accountable today. With our Net Zero 2050 goal, we believe we are charting the right course for our future. We are also confident that we can do this by working with governments and other conscientious Canadian and global businesses in the months and years ahead.”

With its new goal in place, OMERS joins a major shift in the investment management world to shift portfolios to support global climate goals. Earlier this month at the COP26 climate summit, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and GFANZ co-chair Mark Carney revealed that the capital represented by financial sector firms aligned with global net zero goals has surged to $130 trillion, or roughly 40% of global financial assets.

Along with the new net zero goal, OMERS has committed to set interim goals every five years, and to calculate and publicly disclose it total portfolio carbon footprint in line with TCFD recommendations annually.

Satish Rai, Chief Investment Officer, OMERS, said:

“As investors, we play an important role in working with our portfolio companies and making capital allocation decisions during the transition to a lower carbon economy. We believe that integrating ESG factors into our investment approach is a more holistic way of assessing both value drivers and risk to deliver long-term, stable returns to our members.”