The Caisse introduces updated Policy on Responsible Investment
Montreal, April 8, 2011 - As part of its continuous policy and process improvement, aimed at streamlining its investment strategies and better managing risk, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced today it has updated its Policy on Responsible Investment, in effect since 2005. This update, which reflects the Caisse’s experience and industry trends in responsible investment, is built around the following key areas:
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.The integration of ESG criteria in portfolio management decisions is already entrenched in the Equity Markets group. The Caisse is enhancing the process of integrating these criteria into other asset class decision-making to improve the assessment of all investment-related risks and opportunities.
Exclusions. The Caisse shall exclude from its portfolio securities of companies that produce anti-personnel mines and cluster bombs for non-compliance with international conventions. Although shareholder dialogue and engagement remain principal policy tools, this intervention represents an exceptional circumstance in which a violation of local or international law will entail a review that could lead to exclusion.
Shareholder engagement. The Caisse’s shareholder engagement activities are conducted through a proactive dialogue with companies, independently or in collaboration with investor groups, to improve the level of information available to companies in which it invests and influence their responsible business practices. The Caisse will enhance its shareholder engagement efforts with these companies by targeting specific issues recommended by the Responsible Investment committee. The Caisse’s shareholder engagement activities also include the systematic exercise of its voting rights at shareholder meetings.
Responsible Investment Committee.A standing Responsible Investment Committee, consisting of independent members from the Caisse, is also being established to examine responsible investment issues, structure existing initiatives and develop a whole new approach reflecting the Caisse’s ongoing priorities.
“We strive to continuously improve our responsible investment policy and practices,” said Michael Sabia, Caisse President and Chief Executive Officer. “It is in the best interests of our depositors that the Caisse further enhances the quality of its investments – by strengthening its portfolio management tools to both better manage risks and seize opportunities.”
The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec adheres to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and was one of the first signatories when they were launched in 2006. The Caisse is also an active member of the Carbon Disclosure Project Canada Advisory Group and, since January 2011, a member of the CDP Water Disclosure Project.
Moreover, in terms of contributing to Québec's economic development and financial expertise, the Caisse is currently developing a professional certification program in sustainable investment in partnership with universities.
ABOUT THE CAISSE DE DÉPÔT ET PLACEMENT DU QUÉBEC
The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is a financial institution that manages funds primarily for public and private pension and insurance plans. As at December 31, 2010, it held $151.7 billion in net assets. As one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, the Caisse invests in major financial markets, private equity and real estate. For more information: www.cdpq.com.