2 Op-eds Investors are just beginning to understand global tax issues and the risks associated with aggressive tax planning by the companies int their portfolios, Fiona Reynolds, managing director of PRI says there are a number of common-sense measures that companies should begin to put in place. The 2014 G20 Summit to be held in Australia in November will consider a range of proposals around modernization and reform of international tax practices, as part of the wider agenda to lessen volatility risks and build resilience in global financial markets. In the eyes of many, concrete action and reforms can t come soon enough. The Warren Buffet-backed takeover of Canadian coffee company, Tim Horton s by Burger King is the latest in a series of deals this year that have raised questions over corporate tax responsibility. The tax affairs of many of the world s largest and bestknown companies are coming under public scrutiny as never before and this scrutiny is raising governance challenges for investors. The tactics are familiar. Multinational companies shift domiciles around the world to take advantage of lower tax jurisdictions and less regulation. They pursue opaque transfer pricing arrangements between one jurisdiction or declare profits via subsidiaries that are no more than corporate shells. They make internal and artificial royalty payments to avoid national rules and cut their tax exposure. We must bear in mind that although these tactics may be decried, they are generally legal. Some national governments compete to make their jurisdictions as attractive as possible to international business and corporate tax policy is a crucial battleground. This offers numerous opportunities for multinationals to undertake globally based arbitrage to reduce overall scrutiny of operations and their tax exposure. The OECD defines these various practices under the umbrella label of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and points out that as a result of considered accounting many multinationals pay corporate taxes rates as low as 5 per cent, a sharp contrast to the rates above 30 per cent borne by smaller businesses. Unlike large corporates, SMEs are unable to optimise their tax position across multiple jurisdictions and subsidiaries. From the shareholder s point of view, in theory every dollar paid in tax is one dollar less available to the business, or to pay dividends. Ostensibly, company management is pursuing its fiduciary duty in minimizing within the law their company s tax burden. A lower tax bill again in theory is supposed to result in higher profitability,
3 more reinvestment or better dividends. But as attractive as these arguments may be, a growing number of investors are becoming concerned about the risks posed by an overly dogged pursuit of tax efficiency. Is chasing lower taxes really a strategy for long term sustainable value creation? Should a board and senior management teams be always looking to short term tax breaks or concentrating on decade long directions that more closely align with institutional investor expectations? Another nagging question remains. If these various arrangements are entirely legitimate, ethical and add value, why is there such dogged resistance to the OECD Action Plan with its implicit proposals for greater information sharing, transparency and disclosure by international corporations? At the UN-supported Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI), we are analyzing the results of our new comprehensive reporting exercise. With 814 investor signatories reporting in 2014, these results are a global barometer for what investors are doing to create sustainable capital markets. These investors, who collectively manage more than $40 trillion of assets, have committed to consider environmental, social and governance criteria in their investment decisions, and to report on how they do so. This first-of-its-kind snapshot shows that tax is high on many of our signatories agendas, with no fewer than 100 of them including a reference to taxation in their responses. Investors see the risks in aggressive tax planning by the companies in their portfolios. The first is that they risk damaging their brands, or losing their license to operate and this risk is especially acute for public-facing companies in the fast-moving consumer goods markets. Tax avoidance has risen to the top of the list of public concerns about corporate behavior, according to a well-regarded survey of the British public carried out last year by the Institute of Business Ethics. It s hardly surprising with pensions and other social services around the world being cut, that tax payers are outraged that they have to pay their fair share of tax revenue, while some multi-nationals are allowed to avoid paying theirs. In the US there is a grassroots campaign underway, which is targeting some US corporations who are engaged in tax minimization as being anti-american To illustrate the severity of these risks, Starbucks, for example, reported last October its first drop in UK sales after 16 years of strong growth, during a period when it faced a consumer boycott and parliamentary criticism over its tax affairs. This highlights an additional exposure to regulatory intervention, either collectively or individually. No company wants to find itself the subject of intense scrutiny by the tax authorities, with the attendant distraction to corporate management. Google found itself raided by French tax authorities, which have subsequently served the company with a tax bill which could reportedly hit 1 billion. Collective action also seems increasingly likely. In June, the European Union announced a probe into whether Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were offering improper tax breaks to Apple, Starbucks, and the financial arm of the Italian carmaker Fiat, respectively. The OECD is in the middle of a two-year programme, set up at the instigation of the G20, to help governments amend national tax laws to ensure they can collect the taxes due from global corporations. Large investors are also mindful of the fact that there is also a wider social good served by companies paying fair levels of taxation and from which they stand to
4 benefit as global investors. Taxation funds government services which all companies ultimately rely on, including education, infrastructure, scientific research, healthcare provision and protection of intellectual property. In emerging markets, healthy government tax receipts can be vital in creating successful economies with consumers wealthy enough to afford the products and services supplied by multinationals. So what stand should investors take? These issues are complex and it can be difficult to differentiate between legitimate tax planning and aggressive practices. Many investors are just beginning the process of understanding global tax issues, and engagement between companies and investors on the subject is at an early stage. But there are a number of common-sense measures that companies should begin to put in place. Improving transparency and disclosure has a strong foundation in governance and gives institutional investors an opportunity to make their own judgments. The OECD proposals are a step in this direction. Ultimately, sustainable, well-run businesses should pay a fair level of tax, and avoid the reputational, legal and financial risks posed by overly aggressive tax planning. Doing so is in their interests, the interests of their shareholders and the interests of the long-term health of the global economy.
5 Investors should address aggressive corporate tax planning BY FIONA REYNOLDS AUGUST 12, :30 PM Fiona Reynolds is managing director of PRI Association, London, which oversees the United Nations-supported principles for responsible investment, a voluntary set of six principles for the investment management companies incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into investment decision-making. Sustainable, well-run businesses should pay a fair level of tax, and avoid the reputational, legal and financial risks posed by aggressive tax planning. From the shareholder's point of view, every dollar paid in tax is one dollar less available to the business, or to pay dividends. Ostensibly, company management is pursuing its fiduciary duty in minimizing within the law their company's tax burden. But a growing number of investors are becoming concerned about the risks posed by a too-dogged pursuit of tax efficiency. So what should investors do? These issues are incredibly complex. It can be difficult to differentiate between legitimate tax planning and aggressive practice. When Benjamin Franklin wrote that nothing in life is certain except death and taxes, it turns out he was only half right at least as far as a growing number of multinational corporations are concerned. An army of accountants and tax lawyers now exists to help international corporations shift profits around the world, find the most advantageous jurisdictions from a taxation point of view, and put in place corporate and financial structures to ensure as low an overall rate of tax as possible. And the results can be dramatic. Take a look at base erosion and profit shifting which the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development defines as tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules. It can see some multinationals pay as little as 5% in corporate taxes when smaller businesses, which lack their ability to optimize their tax position across a number of jurisdictions, pay up to 30%, according to the OECD. To be clear, such arrangements are perfectly legal. Many governments around the world compete to make their jurisdictions as attractive as possible to international business and corporate tax policy is a crucial battleground. This competition offers numerous opportunities for multinationals to reduce their tax burden. At the United Nations-supported Principles of Responsible Investment, we are analyzing the results of a new comprehensive reporting exercise. With 814 investor signatories reporting in 2014, these results are a global barometer for what investors are doing to create sustainable capital markets. These investors, who collectively manage more than $40 trillion of assets, have committed to consider environmental, social and governance criteria in their investment decisions, and to report on how they
6 do so. This first-of-its-kind snapshot shows that tax is high on many of our signatories' agendas, with no fewer than 100 of them including a reference to taxation in their responses. What are the concerns among investors? The first is that aggressive tax planning crosses the line between avoidance and evasion. This is of particular concern in emerging market jurisdictions, where tax enforcement might be weak, offering temptation for companies to avoid paying their fair share. However, even unambiguous compliance with the law does not necessarily eliminate risk. In a respected survey of attitudes of the British public to corporate behavior, carried out by the Institute of Business Ethics, tax avoidance last year shot to the top of the list of public concerns. Companies that are perceived as avoiding tax too aggressively risk losing their license to operate particularly those with consumer brands that rely on public goodwill. The Starbucks coffee chain, for example, reported last October its first drop in U.K. sales after 16 years of strong growth, during a period when it faced a consumer boycott and parliamentary criticism over its tax affairs. Activist groups are already bringing pressure to bear on companies they believe aren't playing by the rules and this pressure is only likely to increase. The risk also exists of regulatory backlash either individually or collectively. Heavy-machinery makercaterpillar Inc. is one of the latest U.S. companies to come under scrutiny from U.S. senators, who have accused it of moving $8 billion in profits to Switzerland from the U.S. to take advantage of a low corporate tax rate the company had negotiated with the Swiss government. No company wants to find itself the subject of intense scrutiny by tax authorities or legislators. And surely politicians' patience is likely to be limited in the face of deals such as Medtronic Inc.'s proposed $43 billion acquisition of Covidien Ltd., which will allow the U.S. medical-device maker to shift its tax base to Ireland. In June, the European Union announced a probe into whether three EU countries Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were offering improper tax breaks to Apple Inc., Starbucks Corp., and the financial arm of Italian carmaker Fiat SpA. Both the OECD and the G-20 have base erosion and profit shifting firmly on their agenda. If policymakers find themselves compelled to reform corporate tax codes, it is likely that those reforms would be severe. For example, measures that are to the benefit of international companies such as rules to prevent double taxation of corporate earnings could be revoked. Many issues that companies have faced over tax do not lead directly to monetary losses: corporate lawyers and tax advisers tend to ensure their clients stay on the right side of the law. But they are not without cost, in that they serve to distract management from more important issues. Investors are starting to focus on tax strategy as a material risk; many PRI signatories are engaging with companies on the issue. Engagement on tax is at an early stage in most cases, investors are simply seeking to better understand management's approach to tax planning and its impact on other business decisions. But this dialogue is vital. It will serve no one's interests if the debate is conducted with megaphones and rancor, rather than with a mutual understanding of the issues at stake. Fiona Reynolds is managing director of PRI Association, London, which oversees the United Nations-supported principles for responsible investment, a voluntary set of six principles for the investment management companies incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into investment decision-making.
8 Pensions go green but still back oil Mark Cobley 26 Sep 2014 Following the UN Climate Summit in New York this week, the world is awash in environmental commitments from investors. But one thing is also clear: even the very greenest of the world's pension funds won t be selling out of oil. On the eve of the summit on Monday, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which manages the fortune endowed by the founders of Standard Oil, grabbed global headlines with a pledge to sell out of fossil fuel producing companies, and reinvest the proceeds in renewable energy. Although eye-catching, that's unlikely to move markets. The Rockefeller fund manages $890 million; a relative minnow compared to the pension fund giants of the world. But the giants were in town in New York this week as well, and came bearing climate pledges of their own. One of the most interesting initiatives was announced on Wednesday, by the Swedish state pension fund AP4. It is leading an ambitious new UN project to gradually decarbonise $100 billion of institutional investors portfolios. Now that is a big number, but the approach is much slower and less radical than the Rockefeller fund's. It may also be more effective, in the long run.
9 Over the past few years, AP4 has been analysing the companies in its equity portfolio and working out what their carbon emissions are. After that, it selects the best-in-class companies for emissions reduction and shifts its investments to those. It manages about $40 billion, and plans to "decarbonise" half of it in this way. Now, the Swedish fund is aiming to bring together a coalition of big funds like itself to do the same. By the time of the next UN climate summit in Paris in December 2015, it wants the equivalent of another four AP4s to commit to doing what it has done. Mats Andersson, chief executive of the Swedish fund, concedes this is ambitious but absolutely achievable. Investors have arrived in New York this week with fistfuls of green promises. The Dutch civil service fund ABP pledged to double renewables investments to 2 billion. Others pledged support for the burgeoning market in green bonds. But despite what green campaigners might want, unilaterally dumping fossil power is not on big investors' agendas. Another leading light in renewables investment is the 20 billion Danish fund PensionDanmark. Its chief executive was also in New York this week, setting out how it has built a $3 billion portfolio in windfarms and grid infrastructure, and plans to invest more. But it also has oil and gas investments, and no plans to sell out. Speaking to Financial News on Wednesday, PensionDanmark director Jens-Christian Stougaard said: For the foreseeable future, the world will still need these types of energy sources. So selling out of them is not the solution. We are engaged in dialogue with these companies about reducing emissions. We think this is the way forward. ABP has a similar stance: "The world will long remain dependent on fossil fuels. We therefore believe it is currently unrealistic to divest". Calpers has also made a promise on carbon this week, signing the Montreal Carbon Pledge and announcing on Thursday that it would commit to measuring and publically disclosing the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio. Its pledge was made at the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment conference in Montreal, Canada. This week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon has pulled together an impressive roster of global investors to offer their public backing to efforts to combat climate change. But big investors also have to be realistic. The reality is, oil and gas will be with us for some time yet. The more productive approach may be for shareholders to push for a slow but steady transformation.
10 NEWSPAPERS Big investors to act on carbon footprint of assets in bid to tackle climate change Calls for investors with a combined portfolio of $1tn to measure and publicly disclose the carbon footprint of their investments Jo Confino - Thursday 25 September 2014 Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images Some of the world s largest institutional investors have commited to act on the carbon intensity of their portfolios. There are increasing signs of a seismic shift in the response by business and finance to the threat of runaway climate change. Just days after more than a thousand businesses pushed for policies setting a price on carbon emissions to encourage a shift to cleaner energy technologies, some of the world s largest institutional investors have committed to act on the carbon intensity of their portfolios. The investors, along with the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which represents more than $45tn in assets under management, have announced the creation of the Montreal Carbon Pledge, which makes a commitment to measure and publicly disclose the carbon footprint of their entire investments on an annual basis. The PRI has ambitions for investors with a combined portfolio of $1tn to sign up ahead of the key global climate talks in Paris in December 2015, although this is still tiny when compared with the estimated total of more than $75tn in investable assets
11 Initial signatories, which include US-based Calvert Investments and Calpers, Nordea of Sweden and the UK s Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, have $850bn under management. The pledge, agreed at the PRI s annual meeting in Montreal, could be the key that unlocks the door to a shift towards investment in companies that are taking action on carbon. It is likely to put pressure on businesses that are not yet taking the issue seriously, especially the 22% of the largest 500 publicly listed companies that still fail to report their carbon emissions. We are proud to launch the Montreal Carbon Pledge, a commitment by investors to translate climate talk into walk, said Fiona Reynolds, managing director of the PRI. The first step to managing the long-term investment risks associated with climate change and carbon regulation is to measure them, and this initiative sets a clear path forward. The information on emissions will allow investment funds to set targets by being able to place the carbon intensity of their portfolios against a common benchmark. Over 40 investors have in recent years been showing that it is possible to carbon footprint at least part of their portfolio. These include French public sector pension fund ERAFP, the Swedish national pension fund AP4, London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA), the UK s Environment Agency pension fund and the Australian not-for-profit superannuation fund, VicSuper. VicSuper reported earlier this year that the total emissions of its listed equities investments were 15% more carbon efficient than the overall MSCI All Country World Index, while the ERAFP announced in March that its 15bn equity portfolio has a carbon footprint 19% smaller than the overall market. Philippe Desfossés, CEO of ERAFP, said: It is hard to dispute that carbon is a risk, so how can we fulfill our duty of trust if we don t implement the systems necessary to assess this risk in order to reduce it. The announcement of the Montreal Carbon Pledge comes only days after the release of a new report (pdf) by non-profit CDP, which provides a financial case for investing in companies that are showing leadership on addressing climate change. The study found that the S&P 500 companies that build sustainability into their core strategies are outperforming those that fail to show leadership. Specifically, corporations that are actively managing and planning for climate change secure an 18% higher return on investment (ROI) than companies that aren t and 67% higher than companies who refuse to disclose their emissions.
12 Global investment funds pledge carbon footprint disclosure JANET MCFARLAND The Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Sep , A group of global investment funds have signed on as the first participants in a new protocol that will require them to report on the amount of carbon pollution being generated by the companies in their portfolios. The Montreal Carbon Pledge was unveiled Thursday at the annual conference of the United Nationssupported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) organization, held this year in Montreal. It will require investors to calculate the carbon footprint of their stock portfolios, measuring each company s carbon emissions and displaying the total as a ratio to each million dollars the fund has invested. Eight funds are inaugural participants, including the $298-billion (U.S.) California Public Employees Retirement System, which is the largest pension plan in the United States, and France s public sector pension plan known as ERAFP. The only Canadian fund to commit so far is Montreal-based Bâtirente, which manages $1.2-billion in assets for members of unions affiliated with the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN). Bâtirente chief executive officer Daniel Simard sai d the pledge is the next step in the fund s commitment to socially responsible investing. We think we must move to a new stage in responsible investment, and that is about capital allocation, he said in an interview. For us, measuring our footprint means considering reducing our carbon footprint. So we will need to see how we can rethink our asset management in these terms. Toby Heaps, chief executive officer of Corporate Knights, which is participating in the PRI initiative, said there is now a perfect storm of comparable data available from companies about their carbon emissions, making it feasible for investors to monitor whether they are investing in more or less polluting companies within industry sectors, and to create investment goals aimed at reducing their impact on global warming. Mr. Heaps said 78 per cent of the 500 largest public companies in the world report publicly on their carbon emissions, as well as 335 of the 500 companies comprising the U.S. S&P 500 index. He said he is aware of 42 investment funds globally that already report the carbon footprint of their investments.
13 The availability of reported data has allowed consulting firms to develop software programs that investment funds can use to easily calculate the carbon emissions of their portfolio holdings without having to do the work themselves, Mr. Heaps said. Carbon is kind of the metric of prime time now because the majority of companies are reporting it, and there is really a lot of investor interest, he said. While carbon emissions are typically only one of several factors considered by investors as part of their socially responsible investing strategies, Mr. Heaps said it has become the most critical measure for many because of their concerns about the long-term risks of global warming on their investments. This brings together arguably one of the most pressing issues of our time climate change with one of the most powerful institutions of our time investors at the top of the economic food chain, he said. Mr. Heaps said a number of Canadian investors have been reviewing the pledge and may sign on. PRI is seeking commitments by a deadline of Jan. 16 in order for participants to collect data and have it included in a report coming out before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, Some of Canada s largest pension funds said they are still considering whether to participate in the pledge, which comes as funds are facing pressure to join a host of varying socially responsible campaigns. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board said it is assessing the new initiative, while a spokeswoman for the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan said the fund is studying the carbon reduction issue, but is not currently looking at participating in the pledge.
14 Responsible investing is a growing movement BY PETER HADEKEL, SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE SEPTEMBER 25, 2014 As a mainstream rather than an ethical investor, the caisse tries to work directly with the companies in which it owns shares and says it won t shy away from voting for shareholder resolutions to effect change. Photograph by: Pierre Obendrauf The Gazette MONTREAL Hundreds of investment professionals are gathered in Montreal this week to debate one of the hot topics in the industry: responsible investing. It s a big and all-encompassing subject that can include many kinds of environmental, social and governance issues. The shorthand term for it is ESG. Are you a shareholder in a company with a bad pollution record or a history of exploiting workers? Are you invested in a company with poor governance that routinely flouts shareholder rights or excessively compensates top executives? Those are just some of the questions that might confront investment managers. Perhaps their clients don t want them owning tobacco companies, weapons manufacturers or greenhouse gas polluters. A global movement has started up around the Principles for Responsible Investment, an initiative started in partnership with the United Nations Global Compact. Major investment firms and agencies like the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) have signed on to PRI s six principles, which commit signatories to incorporate ESG into their decision-making and investment practices. It might have started out as a radical or somewhat impractical dream. But the growth in signatories to PRI has been startling, to the point where managers of some $45 trillion U.S. worth of financial assets now adhere to the principles. The initiative calls for transparency and disclosure among the 1,300 signatories who must commit to full reporting on their progress. On Thursday, a panel of Canadian investment industry leaders assessed the industry s progress on ESG in this country.
15 Marie Giguère, executive vice-president of legal affairs at the Caisse de dépôt et placement, noted that the Caisse is a long-term investor because of its pension fund mandate. So it takes a long-term perspective on the investments it makes. As a mainstream rather than an ethical investor, it tries to work directly with the companies in which it owns shares. Responsible investing is integrated into all of our portfolios, Giguère said, and the Caisse won t shy away from voting for shareholder resolutions to effect change. Among the issues it has to grapple with is how to handle investments in extractive industries such as mining and oil and gas. A lot has been done to reduce their environmental impact, she said. But one problem is the way mining companies report on their activities. There are no common standards with which to compare one company against another. One issue that comes up a lot is the lack of women on corporate boards. Canada seems to be behind Europe on that front, Giguère said. And as the Caisse spreads its investment reach to emerging markets around the world, it must pay a lot more attention to ESG in places it doesn t know much about. It uses agents in some countries to monitor progress but it s now considering whether to make more in-person visits to companies in which it invests. On the hot topic of executive pay, Giguère said the Caisse has compiled an extensive database and it can now use that data to convince companies that might be out of line to change their compensation practices. The Caisse manages money for 32 depositors, she noted, and it solicits their views on ESG issues. We try to get feedback from them, they really appreciate that. Peter Pontikes, senior vice-president of public equities at Alberta Investment Management Corp., pointed out that investors are becoming more active in pushing for social change in countries like Bangladesh, where a major factory collapse last year left more than 1,100 dead and 2,500 injured. The PRI movement is taking action on a wide range of issues around the globe, including trying to improve the disclosure and practices of 36 oil and gas companies involved in hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Twenty-two investors joined a collaborative effort to foster sustainable production of palm oil among growers. Spencer Glendon, a senior vice-president of research at Wellington Management in Boston, said businesses need to take greater interest in the political process if they want to see real change. Expecting someone else to do it isn t realistic.
16 Des financiers s'unissent contre la pollution Publié le 26 septembre 2014 La divulgation de l'engagement de Montréal sur les émissions de gaz carbonique, qui est l'un des pires polluants atmosphériques dits à «effet de serre» survient aussi au lendemain du sommet de l'onu sur les changements climatiques. PHOTO ARCHIVES REUTERS MARTIN VALLIÈRES Réunis à Montréal en conférence sur l'investissemen responsable, quelques-uns des plus gros investisseurs du monde ont convenu de nouveaux objectifs communs afin de mieux surveiller les émissions de gaz carbonique des entreprises et des actifs où ils placent leurs milliards de dollars. Cet accord, nommé «Engagement de Montréal sur le carbone» (Montreal Carbon Pledge), a été dévoilé hier à la première journée de la conférencede l'organisation internationale Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Cette organisation, établie à Londres et affiliée aux Nations unies (ONU), regroupe quelque 1300 investisseurs institutionnels (caisses de retraite, fonds communs, etc.) et des firmes de gestion de placements provenant d'une vingtaine de pays et dont l'actif sous gestion totalise quelque milliards. La divulgation de l'«engagement de Montréal» sur le s émissions de gaz carbonique, qui est l'un des pires polluants atmosphériques dits à «effet de serre», survient aussi au lendemain du sommet de chefs d'état sur les changements climatiques, organisé par l'onu à New York.
17 Pour les gestionnaires d'actifs qui adhèrent aux principes de l'investissement responsable, souvent en réponse aux préoccupations croissantes de leurs clients ou déposants sur l'impact environnemental et social de leurs placements, le nouvel «Engagement de Montréal» veut les inciter à mesurer et à divulguer l'empreinte de carbone de leurs portefeuilles d'investissements sur une base annuelle. La principale instigatrice de l'«engagement», soit l'organisation internationale PRI, a comme premier objectif d'y faire adhérer l'équivalent de 3000 milliards en actifs sous gestion d'ici décembre 2015, avant la tenue de la prochaine conférence de l'onu sur les changements climatiques. Montréal bien en vue Entre-temps, le milieu financier de Montréal se réjouissait hier que la divulgation de cet engagement sur les émissions de carbone impliquant plusieurs des plus gros investisseurs du monde ait lieu chez lui. «Il s'agit d'un accomplissement concret qui contrib ue à positionner Montréal comme un centre financier avant-gardiste qui encourage les principes d'investissement responsable», a indiqué Éric Lemieux, directeur général de Finance Montréalet du Centre financier international de Montréal. Principal regroupement de ce secteur à Montréal et au Québec, Finance Montréal prévoit d'ailleurs ajouter l'investissement responsable parmi ses thèmes prioritaires de développement du secteur des services financiers dans la métropole québécoise. Déjà que, parmi la cinquantaine d'investisseurs institutionnels et de gestionnaires de placements canadiens qui sont membres de l'organisation PRI, près de la moitié sont établis au Québec. On y retrouve notamment la Caisse de dépôt et placement, le Fonds de solidarité FTQ et Investissements PSP, dont les actifs totaux approchent les 300 milliards. S'y trouvent aussi d'importantes firmes de gestion de placements telles que Fiera Capital, Placements Optimum, Montrusco Bolton et Addenda Capital qui supervisent en tout des dizaines de milliards en actifs provenant de leurs clients investisseurs. La participation de ces firmes québécoises aux délibérations de l'association PRI ne les oblige pas à adhérer au nouvel «Engagement de Montréal sur le carbone». En fait, une seule firme québécoise - Bâtirente, la caisse de retraite de l'industrie de la construction - fait partie des adhérents initiaux à l'«engagement de Montréal» qui ont été annoncés hier. Mais la porte ne semble pas fermée ailleurs. À la Caisse de dépôt et placement, par exemple, la première vice-présidente aux affaires juridiques, Marie Giguère, a admis lors d'une table ronde en début de journée que la mesure et la réduction de l'impact environnemental des «industries d'extraction de ressources» au Canada (mines, sable s bitumineux, etc.) constituent de «gros défis» en matière d'investissement responsable pour des portefeuilles de l'ampleur de celui de la Caisse.
18 (Édition régulière) INVESTISSEMENT RESPONSABLE Un portefeuille plus propre, sans être tout à fait vert Se départir de ses intérêts dans les énergies fossiles n est peut-être pas la meilleure solution 27 septembre 2014 Karl Rettino-Parazelli Actualités économiques Photo: La Presse canadienne Le rideau se ferme sur la conférence annuelle des Principes pour l'investissement responsable (PRI) des Nations unies, qui s'est déroulée cette semaine à Montréal. L'événement aura permis aux participants de discuter des meilleures pratiques et des progrès accomplis, mais surtout de définir les pierres d'achoppement. Regard en trois temps sur le mariage parfois difficile entre la finance et le développement durable. Tout comme les consommateurs, plusieurs investisseurs sont devenus " dépendants " aux énergies fossiles. Il est possible de se défaire de cette emprise en faisant des choix d'investissement plus responsables, mais encore faut-il que les rendements attendus par les clients soient au rendez-vous, préviennent plusieurs acteurs du monde de la finance. Les gestionnaires de portefeuilles doivent-ils se départir des actions à fort rendement qu'elles possèdent dans des compagnies polluantes pour placer leurs billes en terrain plus vert? Bien sûr, a répondu vendredi Jagdeep Bachher, chef de l'investissement à l'université de la Californie. Mais renoncer à des investissements liés aux industries polluantes ne réglera pas tout. " Décarboniser un portefeuille a un impact, mais à mon avis c'est un jeu à somme nulle. Si quelqu'un renonce à son investissement, quelqu'un d'autre va prendre sa place. "
19 Les clients accordent une grande importance aux gains à long terme, a renchéri la gestionnaire de portefeuille au sein du groupe norvégien Storebrand Christine Torklep Meisingset. " Le désinvestissement n'est pas la réponse à tout. Je pense que la diversification des investissements est encore plus importante. " Plus catégorique, le directeur de l'établissement du régime additionnel de la fonction publique (ERAFP), Philippe Desfossés, a réclamé que les investissements " sanscarbone " deviennent obligatoires pour les caisses de retraite publiques comme la sienne. Industrie minière sous pression Mises sous pression par leurs investisseurs, les compagnies minières n'ont plus le choix : le respect des droits de la personne, de l'environnement et des communautés avec lesquelles elles cohabitent est aujourd'hui devenu indispensable. " Les compagnies minières ont toujours été très bonnes pour trouver une mine, l'exploiter et la fermer. Nous savons aujourd'hui que nous devons aller plus loin parce que les communautés nous le demandent et que nos investisseurs nous le demandent ", a lancé jeudi Glenn Nolan, vice-président des affaires autochtones chez Noront Ressources, une compagnie minière junior basée à Toronto. Lors d'un atelier consacré au respect des droits de la personne dans l'industrie extractive, différents intervenants du secteur minier ont vanté les progrès réalisés au cours des dernières années. Sur la scène internationale, des principes adoptés par l'onu en 2011 guident les entreprises dans leurs actions pour favoriser le respect des droits de la personne, tandis qu'une autre liste de principes publiés conjointement par les Nations unions et les PRI conseille les compagnies et les investisseurs dans leurs pratiques d'affaires en territoire à risque ou en conflit. La conseillère principale au conseil de déontologie du Fonds de pension mondial du gouvernement norvégien, Pia Rudolfsson Goyer, a cependant avoué que toutes les compagnies ne sont pas sans reproches. Son équipe et elle doivent donc consacrer beaucoup de temps pour trouver les entreprises dans lesquelles le fonds désire investir. La ligne est parfois mince entre une compagnie " responsable " et une autre qui ne l'est pas, a-t-elle laissé entendre. Obligations : gare au verdissement La popularité grandissante des obligations vertes, ces titres émis pour financer des projets environnementaux, oblige les ambassadeurs de ce nouveau marché à redoubler leurs efforts de transparence, a avancé jeudi le cofondateur et président-directeur général de la Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), Sean Kidney. " La transparence et la divulgation d'information sont des facteurs clés pour conserver la crédibilité de ce marché ", a-t-il lancé devant l'auditoire d'investisseurs. La CBI estime actuellement à un peu plus de 500 milliards le marché des obligations vertes à travers le monde, en forte hausse depuis les 346 milliards enregistrés en mars Les émetteurs sont encouragés à faire approuver le caractère " vert " de leurs obligations par une tierce partie, mais cette mesure n'est encore pas obligatoire. Voilà donc le grand défi de ce marché lancé à la fin des années 2000 : éviter que certaines compagnies interprètent à leur avantage la définition d'un projet " vert ". " À mesure que le marché prendra de l'ampleur, nous devrons être encore plus vigilants ", a résumé la directrice des investissements responsables chez Aviva Investors, Adeline Diab.
20 (Édition régulière) L investissement responsable s invite à Montréal 26 septembre 2014 Gérard Bérubé Finances personnelles Tout le gratin de l investissement responsable se donne rendez-vous à Montréal du 22 au 26 septembre. Ce sera l occasion pour quelque 500 participants venant de 25 pays de faire le point sur la situation et, surtout, sur ce qui définit cet univers. Déjà, les principes pour l'investissement responsable (PRI) des Nations unies comptent de plus en plus d'adhérents. Placements Mackenzie et le Groupe Investors, deux filiales de Power Corporation, avaient annoncé en août dernier leur a dhésion à cette initiative internationale lancée en On s'engage à intégrer les facteurs environnementaux, sociaux et de saine gouvernance dans les décisions d'investissement. Ces deux nouveaux joueurs portent à 53 le nombre de signataires du PRI au Canada, pour un total de 1267 participants à l'échelle mondiale, pouvait-on lire dans Le Devoir. S'y greffent les noms du Mouvement Desjardins, des fonds de travailleurs québécois ou encore de la Caisse de dépôt. La rencontre de septembre permettra de mesurer le chemin parcouru et celui qu'il reste à franchir. Depuis les débuts de l'initiative, les signataires s'engagent à divulguer une série d'informations sur la qualité de leurs pratiques en s'appuyant sur une série d'indicateurs. Mais s'ils font voeu de transparence, reste encore la difficulté de mesurer la véracité des renseignements fournis. La normalisation fait encore défaut, quoiqu'un leadership émerge. Obligations vertes Pour se faire une idée de la complexité de l'exercice, on peut s'en remettre à l'expérience des " obligations vertes ". L'initiative d'émettre de tels titres est venue de la Banque mondiale qui a, en définitive, donné le coup d'envoi à cette forme d'investissement dit socialement responsable avec une première émission d'obligations vertes effectuée en auprès d'investisseurs institutionnels. On créait ainsi un lien direct entre les investisseurs et les projets environnementaux, avec rendement mais sans les risques inhérents à l'investissement direct. Aujourd'hui, on dénombre une trentaine d'émetteurs utilisant au moins 11 noms différents pour leurs obligations vertes. Ils ont donné leur appui à un ensemble de principes guidant l'émission de telles obligations. En avril, un groupe formé de banques d'investissement provenant d'un peu partout sur le globe rendait publique une série de dispositions assurant des " Principes sur les obligations vertes " retenus en janvier. Ces principes étaient présentés comme étant des lignes directrices volontaires pour uniformiser le traitement et l'élaboration d'obligations consacrées au financement de projets environnementaux. On faisait notamment ressortir que l'association internationale des marchés de capitaux se voyait confier les tâches administratives et celles associ ées à l'échange d'informations entre les émetteurs d'obligations et les investisseurs. La réflexion était également amorcée autour de l'avènement et de la définition d'un encadrement unique ou uniformisé.
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