assets by 2025
Since 2017, the fight against climate change has been at the heart of our organization’s culture. We encourage our portfolio companies and our peers to take concrete actions to support the transition toward a sustainable world.
Guided by the ambition of our second climate strategy, adopted in 2021, we are continuing our efforts to help decarbonize the real economy and limit the impacts of climate change. To that end, we are investing our constructive capital in sustainable projects. We also leverage our expertise to move the industry forward and accelerate the transition.
Achieve a net-zero portfolio by 2050
assets by 2025
reduction in our portfolio’s carbon intensity by 2030 compared to 2017
transition envelope to decarbonize the highest-emitting sectors
complete our exit from oil production
Over the years, CDPQ has become an international leader in sustainable investment. We have focused our efforts on three areas in particular: low-carbon real estate, renewable energy and sustainable transportation. We also target investment opportunities in innovative areas such as green hydrogen, electricity storage and energy efficiency.
$54 billion in low-carbon assets
Our low-carbon assets are defined according to the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) taxonomy, one of the most rigorous in the world. As at December 31, 2022, the value of our low-carbon assets totalled $47 billion, up $29 billion over five years (Chart 2). These investments are making a direct contribution to the decarbonization of the real economy.
in low-carbon assets in Québec
In addition to our low-carbon assets, nearly $37 billion is invested in companies with a science-based decarbonization target certified by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi). As a result, we have over $84 billion in assets aligned with the Paris Agreement.
in assets aligned with the Paris Agreement
* Includes the new sectors from CBI’s taxonomy.
In 2022, our investment teams added several assets located around the world to our low-carbon portfolio.
In November 2022, CDPQ issued a second green bond—the first in Canadian dollars—in an amount of $1.25 billion. This represents another important milestone in our financing program in support of our sustainable investing strategy.
This debt issue is aligned with our climate commitments and a framework based on industry best practices. It also allows us to diversify our funding sources globally by leveraging our sustainable assets, such as the Réseau express métropolitain (REM).
This second issue brings the value of our green bonds to over $2.5 billion since the program’s launch in 2021.
Through various partnerships with S2G Ventures, Energize Ventures and bp ventures, we have targeted new investment opportunities. We have paid particular attention to two innovation sectors: the energy transition (cleantech) and sustainable agri-food (agtech).
In 2022, in collaboration with S2G Ventures, we led a USD 125-million financing round in Soli Organic. This agriculture company uses controlled environments to grow fresh food in indoor vertical farms. Its production methods allow it to grow products that are certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
We are also closely monitoring developments in our past investments, including:
Each year, we measure our portfolio’s carbon emissions per dollar invested using the methodology recognized by the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. This allows us to compare the carbon impact of our assets, regardless of the sector, and to raise awareness among the highest-emitting companies in our portfolio on the importance of optimizing their processes to limit their repercussions on the environment and become more resilient.
Reduce the carbon intensity of our portfolio
by 60% compared to 2017
In 2022, the carbon intensity of our portfolio decreased by 53% compared to our 2017 starting point.
It was 37 tCO2e/M$ at December 31, 2022, compared to 79 tCO2e/M$ on the same date in 2017 (Chart 3). This decrease was largely due to our low-carbon assets, the decarbonization efforts of our portfolio companies and our exit from oil production and refining. The details of the carbon intensity calculation, which covers the entire corporate portfolio but excludes the transition envelope, can be found in Appendix 2.
Our efforts have put us on track to meet our 2030 goal. However, the trend in carbon intensity is not necessarily linear and could be influenced by various factors, such as asset values and investment opportunities in the transition sectors.
Our portfolio includes a variety of assets with low carbon emissions, including low-carbon assets (12%) and investments in low-intensity sectors (67%) such as finance, health and telecommunications. They represent only 21% of the total footprint of our portfolio (Chart 4).
+$300 Bin low‑carbon assets or in low‑intensity sectors
Our assets in the highest-emitting sectors represent only 21% of our portfolio. However, some of these sectors are necessary for the manufacturing of key components for the transition.
CDPQ considers that the transition of the highest-emitting industries is a key component of the fight against climate change. This is why we offer companies constructive and innovation-based support to assist them on their decarbonization journey.
A $10-billion envelope to decarbonize the highest-emitting sectors
In 2022, we completed three transactions that meet the criteria of the transition envelope. These investments were evaluated by our teams and reviewed by independent external experts to validate the rigour of their respective decarbonization plans and to ensure alignment with the Paris Agreement. The selected companies had to meet specific standards set by the CBI or the SBTi:
As a result of these first three transactions, the carbon footprint of the transition envelope is 0.6 MtCO2e, or a carbon intensity of 1,489 tCO2e/M$. This validates the importance of this capital for companies’ decarbonization processes and explains why the footprint of this envelope is accounted for separately from the rest of CDPQ’s portfolio – see Appendix 2.
Moreover, this footprint is subject to the same external review as that of the portfolio, and it evolves according to the trajectories of its constituent companies and their implementation of decarbonization plans aligned with the Paris Agreement (Chart 5).
Based on the decarbonization plans of these three companies, the footprint of these investments could decrease by almost 60% by 2030 and close to 70% by 2035.
This demonstrates how CDPQ deploys its capital to reduce the transition risk of these companies and help decarbonize the planet, while generating attractive returns.
Oil production is a sector that does not meet either our long-term goals or our sustainability requirements. With this in mind, we announced in 2021 our intention to divest from our assets in this sector. Our teams ensure that this commitment is fulfilled while ensuring that our depositors’ returns are protected through promising investments in transition energies. Thus, we also finalized our exit from the coal mining industry and we support our companies’ transition to more sustainable energy sources.
We are also tracking our exposure to natural gas, an industry still necessary to meet today’s energy needs.
Complete our exit from oil production by the end of 2022
In 2022, we continued our orderly exit from oil production and refining assets (Chart 6).
As at December 31, 2022, we had only $0.2 billion in assets under active management in this sector, or 0.05% of our net assets.
Our exit from the sector is essentially completed. We only have a single investment left, which we will divest from in the course of 2023.
We have completed our exit from coal mining, as it is one of our investment exclusions (Chart 7). Since 2017, we have divested from all of our assets under active management in this sector.
We are making clear demands on portfolio companies in the thermal coal-fired power generation sector to implement a concrete transition process.
To that end, we encourage the companies in our portfolio that are currently using coal to upgrade their facilities to use renewable sources of energy. Our three transition envelope transactions are examples of companies committed to deploying more sustainable energy solutions.
As a member of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, CDPQ has made strong commitments regarding coal in 2020:
For now, we consider natural gas a necessary energy source for the transition and an alternative to more polluting energies, such as coal. At the same time, we continue to raise awareness among our portfolio companies, encouraging them to adopt best practices and meet our high sustainability requirements.
We are the majority shareholder of Énergir, a Québec-based energy company that distributes natural gas, renewable natural gas and electricity.
Énergir has made several concrete changes in recent years, including the implementation of a detailed decarbonization plan for 2030, and it recently adopted an ESG policy. This will enable the company to become a North American leader in sustainability and accelerate the energy transition where it operates.
In 2022, we voted against the re-election of the Board members of 10 companies to underscore their lack of ambition on decarbonization. These individuals are responsible for sustainability and climate-related issues on their Boards.
These companies have been targeted by Climate Action 100+, an investor group that promotes best practices in terms of climate strategies among the highest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters. This type of initiative aims to encourage them to integrate climate risks into their activities by demonstrating the importance of these factors in the successful long-term operations of an organization.
We continued our efforts, begun in 2020, to raise the company’s awareness on ESG issues. Since then, Berkshire Hathaway has assigned responsibilities on its Board of Directors for managing climate-related issues, and one of its subsidiaries, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has set a net-zero target for 2050. Despite this progress, much remains to be done to ensure that the company adopts best practices.
This is why, at the 2022 annual meeting, we filed, in partnership with Brunel Pension Partnership Limited, represented by EOS at Federated Hermes, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), and the State of New Jersey Common Pension Fund, a new shareholder proposal requesting that the company set GHG emissions reduction targets as well as disclosure targets for their climate risks for the entire conglomerate, in accordance with the framework of the TCFD.
With an initial budget of $2.9 million, this initiative launched in 2017 by our subsidiary CDPQ Infra in partnership with the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), led to the creation of the REM agricultural trust. The goal of this social utility trust is to acquire land and lease it to the next generation of farmers or others as a way to protect this heritage in perpetuity, while limiting urban sprawl around the REM terminal in Brossard.
An initial 11 hectares of land was acquired at this location in spring 2022, followed by another 33 hectares in Carignan in December, for a total of 44 hectares of protected land. A call for projects from farmers will be launched in the coming months.