Quebec's financial firms come together to support sustainability

More than 20 players representing nearly $1 trillion in AUM unveil North America-first statement for sustainable finance

Quebec's financial firms come together to support sustainability

On the heels of the alarming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and on the eve of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the financial sector of Quebec has pledged to make the province a beacon of leadership in the sustainable finance ecosystem.

The newly unveiled Statement by the Quebec Financial Centre for Sustainable Finance, a first in North America, has been signed by more than 20 financial players in Quebec, representing over $900 in assets under management. Based on their capacity and specific contexts, the signatories to the statement have agreed to several objectives including:

  • Developing local expertise in sustainable finance and investment;
  • Promoting the establishment or growth of local teams and business units in sustainable finance in Quebec;
  • Supporting the local development of sustainable finance products and services;
  • Promoting the growth of funds managed by locally established managers with leading-edge expertise in responsible investment;
  • Strengthening disclosure and transparency in sustainable finance; and
  • Strengthening the integration of ESG factors into signatories' operations, internal processes and practices, and encourage our partners to integrate ESG factors

"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,” said Jacques Deforges, CEO of Finance Montréal, which will be monitoring the implementation of initiatives that have been declared by the various signatories of the statement. “This important engagement will help position Quebec as a centre of sustainable finance excellence in North America."

“We're facing a climate emergency. We need to act together to speed up the transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Desjardins President and CEO Guy Cormier. Aside from aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, he said the organization has committed to train most of its 52,000 employees in sustainable development by the end of 2023, support transparency and reporting and sustainable finance, and to continue integrating ESG into its operations, among other efforts.

“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,” said Laurent Ferreira, chief operating officer National Bank. Ferreira is set to take over the role of president and CEO from Louis Vachon, who’s stepping down this month.

Some of the other signatories to the statement include KPMG Canada, iA Financial Group, Jarislowsky Fraser, and Fiera Capital.

“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,” said Louis Morisset, president and CEO, AMF. “There cannot be finance and sustainable finance. Finance must be sustainable, period.”