First-Ever Net Zero Assessment of Canada’s Top Reporting or Estimated Emitters on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The CEC Net Zero Benchmark provides a set of common standards for investors to evaluate corporate issuers’ progress towards aligning with the Paris Agreement’s ambition, limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.
TORONTO | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat – Climate Engagement Canada (CEC) is an investor-led engagement mechanism driving Canada’s business transition to Net Zero. The initiative has released its first-ever Net Zero Benchmark, allowing CEC participant investors to frame and measure their engagements with Focus List companies. These companies represent Canada’s top reporting or estimated emitters and/or corporate issuers with a significant opportunity to contribute to the transition to a low-carbon future in Canada. The CEC Net Zero Benchmark, provides a set of detailed and comparative common standards to support corporate issuers’ progress towards aligning with the Paris Agreement’s ambition.
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CEC Benchmark Insights and Roadmap
The Benchmark follows a rigorous evaluation process designed to provide a comprehensive view of each company’s progress in addressing climate-related challenges. Given the specific challenges faced by certain sectors, the results of the Benchmark also reflect the practical implications of addressing the net-zero transition. The Benchmark is provided as a roadmap for Canadian companies and investors, highlighting its purpose as a guiding tool rather than a conventional scorecard. It will be used to foster a constructive dialogue with Focus List companies on areas of strength, areas of opportunity, and areas requiring further effort.
- 98% of focus list companies explicitly commit to align disclosures with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations and/or are a public supporter of TCFD.
- Nearly half (44%) of CEC focus list companies have made a qualitative net zero ambition that covers all or nearly all of direct operations. However, the lack of 5°C-aligned short-term targets suggests that additional work is required to demonstrate credible net zero transition strategies.
- Overall, significant effort and further disclosures are required to demonstrate climate action plans i) have positive social and economic impacts for communities and workers; ii) meet thresholds of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent for Indigenous communities; and iii) are supported by sound financial planning and capital alignment.
- 41% of Focus List companies indicate that their CEO and/or at least one other senior executive’s remuneration specifically incorporates climate change performance as a key performance indicator (KPI).
- While several companies have begun mobilising their capital expenditures to align with action on climate, none have explicitly aligned capital expenditures to their targets in disclosures.
CEC participants will use the Benchmark for input and discussion in their collaborative engagement activities with Focus List companies. The results of the Benchmark also provide input to investor participants and other stakeholders on areas that require additional focus, research, or support. In the coming months, CEC will continue to provide insight and input into the Benchmark results, trends, and opportunities for collaboration and engagement. The Benchmark and ongoing efforts will continue to support CEC’s goal of driving dialogue with Canadian corporate issuers to promote a Just Transition to a Net-Zero economy.
CEC remains committed to working closely with investor participants and Focus List companies, leveraging their insights to refine and enhance the Benchmark’s impact on companies, investors, and the broader transition to Net Zero.
CEC Disclaimer and Data Usage Terms and Conditions
The CEC Net Zero Benchmark does not score or rank corporate issuers, nor does it use overall numeric or alphabetic ratings. Please see both the CEC Disclaimer and the Data Usage Terms and Conditions for additional information.
CEC Net Zero Implementation and Progress
CEC Research and Education Contributors Quinn+Partners and Manifest Climate Inc. undertook an assessment of the CEC Focus List Companies against the CEC Net Zero Benchmark, with supportive review from Ernst & Young and the Canada Climate Law Initiative. This process was guided by the CEC Joint Secretariat, with the approval and oversight of the CEC’s Technical and Steering Committees.
The CEC Net Zero Benchmark is a key element of the initiative’s engagement strategy and offers participant investors a common standard and a framework for dialogue with corporate issuers. The CEC Net Zero Benchmark includes ten disclosure indicators—as recommended by the Technical Committee (TC) and its Just Transition/Indigenous Issues Working Group (i.e., a subgroup convened by the CEC TC with labour, Indigenous, and finance experts)—whilst layering in additional context specific to Canada’s unique economy. The CEC Net Zero Benchmark was further refined by incorporating feedback from a consultation period, which involved CEC participant investors—including some of Canada’s largest asset managers and asset owners—, NGOs, and Indigenous representation.
The company assessments were based on the companies’ public disclosures from June 2022 to June 2023 and in line with the CEC evaluation guidance. Companies were provided with an opportunity to submit additional feedback or disclosures to be considered as part of the assessment process. The final results of the Benchmark assessment were completed by the Research and Education Contributors, with support from the CEC Joint Secretariat, and provided to CEC participants and Focus Companies in advance of the public release. Any disclosures that were published after the assessment period may be considered in future annual iterations of the Benchmark.
Over the coming months and following the approval of the program’s governance bodies, CEC will build on these assessments by publishing analysis and information on alignment indicators.
- Barbara Zvan, President & CEO, UPP, and CEC Steering Committee Chair – “By providing a comprehensive and comparable view of a company’s progress against the net-zero transition, the CEC Net Zero Benchmark enables constructive, action-oriented, and ultimately, measurable dialogue between investors and key Canadian corporate emitters. The Benchmark sets a new standard and roadmap for collaborative stakeholder engagement in Canada, adding important momentum on our path toward a more sustainable future.”
- Katie Wheatley, Head of Canada, UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and CEC Steering Committee Vice Chair – “The CEC Net Zero Benchmark brings together a comparable, consistent set of standards to assess Canadian corporate issuer alignment with the Paris Agreement. The CEC Benchmark will serve as an important springboard for participating investors to drive progress towards net zero among important emitters across the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). The time is now for leadership on climate action among Canadian corporates, and the CEC Benchmark empowers investors to support further momentum for a just transition to a low-carbon economy.”
- Maia Becker, Senior Director, Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management, and CEC Technical Committee Chair – “The CEC’s first Net Zero Benchmark provides investors with a comprehensive view of progress and areas of opportunity for the Focus List companies, helping investors target their engagement efforts on areas that will have the most impact. As the world seeks to advance the transition to a net zero economy, RBC Global Asset Management is proud to support and collaborate with our peers on this critical initiative.”
- Delaney Greig, Director, Investor Stewardship, UPP, and CEC Technical Committee Vice Chair – “The CEC Net Zero Benchmark is significant not only for its findings, but how it was developed – support from across the Canadian financial sector, alignment with global frameworks, and independent expert research and assessment. The Benchmark indicators channel both investor and issuer attention to the aspects of climate strategy and performance that matter most for economy-wide net-zero transition.”
- Katharine Preston, Vice President, Sustainable Investing, OMERS, and Chair of the CEC Industry Leaders Advisory Panel – “Climate Engagement Canada is making a critical step forward with the launch of the Net Zero Benchmark. This tool provides support to investors as we engage with companies, focusing on the most critical areas as we navigate the transition. We look forward to the ongoing partnership with CEC members as we continue to make progress towards our net zero ambition.”
- Peter Ellsworth, Senior Director, Ceres Investor Network, CEC Steering Committee Member and CEC Founding Organization – “By providing a structured framework for engagement between investors and companies, the CEC Net Zero Benchmark will help accelerate how companies align their business practices to net zero – and how investors can measure that progress. As one of the founding members of CEC, Ceres knows this formula works in successfully influencing the behaviour of companies engaged by investors. The CEC assessment, which promotes both disclosure and action, will contribute to the necessary transition of these Canadian companies to a net zero and just economy.”
- Pat Fletcher, CEO at RIA, CEC Joint Secretariat Co-Lead, and CEC Steering Committee Member – “The release of the CEC Net Zero Benchmark final assessment results represents another significant milestone for our initiative. Since its inception in 2021, CEC continues to foster constructive dialogue between investors and corporate issuers, accelerating Canada’s transition to Net Zero. These results acknowledge areas of positive progress among corporate issuers while identifying where additional strategic guidance and support are needed. This roadmap underscores the importance of ongoing engagement and dialogue to collectively elevate industry standards.”
- Kevin Thomas, CEO at SHARE, CEC Joint Secretariat Co-Lead, and CEC Steering Committee Member – “These results reveal that when it comes to achieving our country’s climate commitments, all of us have a lot more work to do. We’re in the turn-around decade on climate. We can’t afford to waste any time. Let’s use this benchmark as a mutual work plan between investors and companies and show how much we can get done together when the next year’s results come in.”
- Priti Shokeen, Vice President & Director, TD Asset Management Inc, CEC Industry Leaders Advisory Panel, and CEC Participant – The publication of the first Net Zero Benchmark is an important milestone for Climate Engagement Canada, and the results demonstrate there is steady progress in corporate climate action in Canada. The Benchmark provides investors with a blueprint for engagements with the CEC focus list of companies during this crucial early phase of the transition in Canada, while also providing companies with a roadmap and collaborative process to support them as they continue to improve on their goals and ambitions.
- Adam Rochwerg, Head of Climate Solutions, Operations, Manifest Climate – “The benchmarking is powered by Manifest Climate’s proprietary AI-powered software engine to identify relevant public company disclosures with precision, speed, and accuracy. Manifest Climate’s software accelerates climate risk planning and provides clients with a clear, actionable roadmap to reaching climate goals. Manifest Climate creates a common language for decision makers to incorporate climate risk and opportunities into financial decision making by harnessing AI to reduce and standardize the manual work to categorize disclosure and assess peers.”
- Tony Pringle, CEO and Co-Founder, Quinn+Partners – “We are delighted to help advance Canadian corporate climate action and a just transition toward a net-zero economy. The inaugural CEC Benchmark assessment is an important first step to foster constructive dialogue between leading corporations and investors. We look forward to seeing the Canadian market set the bar for climate engagement excellence and make meaningful progress.”
- Thibaut Millet, Partner, Climate Change & Sustainability Services, Ernst & Young LLP – “Climate-related disclosures have become mainstream for almost a decade now, and the need for action is more urgent than ever. The reality is that investors, government regulators, stakeholders and the public are demanding far more than just disclosures from companies. It is not enough to simply offer long-term ambitions without a clearly articulated plan of how to achieve them. The focus is now on action that drives measurable results, as exemplified by the results of the CEC Net Zero Benchmark. The good news is that when companies shift their mindsets from a mere tick-box exercise to a real strategic analysis, they discover opportunities to thrive and create value.”
- Sonia li Trottier, Director, Canada Climate Law Initiative – “We were pleased to contribute by reviewing the CEC Net Zero Benchmark as a Research Collaborator. The Benchmark will help investors assess and compare companies, and make informed investment decisions. We believe corporate engagement is key to driving climate actions, and the Benchmark will foster that engagement and collaboration between investors and the Focus List companies.”
About Climate Engagement Canada (CEC)
Climate Engagement Canada (CEC) is a finance-led initiative that drives dialogue between the financial community and corporate issuers to promote a just transition to a Net Zero economy. Through CEC, 41+ investor participants (with +$5.1T in assets under management covered by the initiative) (a) help Canadian public companies missed by global initiatives successfully evolve their business models and transition toward our country’s climate commitments, and (b) enhance the level of transparency into Canadian climate risk exposure and transition strategies. In 2019, Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance made a recommendation to establish a national engagement program to drive a broader and more consistent dialogue with Canadian issuers around climate risks and opportunities (Recommendation 10.2). CEC is a response to that call to action.
Through multi-year CEC engagements, company boards and senior leaders of Canadian companies can learn about the concerns and expectations of the financial sector as they relate to a timely transition to Net Zero emissions by 2050. This includes i) Strong governance frameworks with oversight of climate change risks and opportunities; ii) GHG-emission reduction strategies consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement; iii) Measurable, sector-relevant targets; iv) Global standard disclosures (e.g., Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures); and, v) Paris Agreement-aligned advocacy activities. CEC is coordinated by its Joint Secretariat: The Responsible Investment Association (RIA) and the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE). The initiative is also supported by the international investor networks the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and Ceres.
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