The Quebec government’s sustainable development strategy for 2015 – 2020 includes responsible investment as a priority!
2014 was a significant year for Responsible Investment (RI) in Quebec. In September, Montreal hosted the prestigious United Nations International Conference of the Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). This event marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the first responsible investment policy by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (which manages the public pension plans in the province).
Not only have we seen dramatic growth in responsible investment since 20101, but we now have a clear idea of the interest of Quebecers for responsible investment, and values that accompany it. The study, Quebecers and responsible investment (Les Québécois et L’ISR, portrait 2014), published by the Observatory on responsible consumption (OCR) of the University of Québec in Montreal’s School of Management, highlighted the need to better inform citizens on the subject, and by extension, paved the way for the creation of Ethiquette.ca, an interactive web tool designed especially to educate and raise awareness, help individual investors and facilitate interaction among all players involved in responsible investment. The Mouvement Desjardins further contributed to this space a little later with the launch of http://letsthinksri.com.
2015: A pivotal year for responsible investment
2015 also shapes up to be an important one in Quebec on matters related to responsible investment. The major difference, however, could be seen from the government. Although the Caisse de depot is already contributing to the development of responsible investment as an investor of Quebecers’ public pension plans, the government itself has been rather shy on the promotion of responsible investment. But this trend could change.
As part of the recent draft Sustainability Strategy, the government now includes responsible investment as a key element in the transition to a sustainable, green and responsible society. Over the next five years, the various Québec government ministries and agencies should increase the implementation of measures and practices in responsible investment. Concretely, they should take steps to “revise their investment criteria, granting criteria and all related policies as well as contribute to the advancement of knowledge and valuation of responsible investment practices among financial institutions, private fund managers and applicants for financing. “2
The inclusion of responsible investment marks a significant improvement since the 2008-2013 Sustainability Strategy. At first glance, the Québec government seems to show that it is becoming increasingly aware of the impact that responsible investment will play in the fight against climate change, and on the path to a more sustainable future.
OCR invited to public hearings
On Thursday, January 29, 2015, The Observatory on responsible investment (OCR) and Ethiquette, participated in the public hearings required by law before the formal filing of the bill. Organized by the National Assembly of Quebec, these special consultations were an opportunity for the Observatory and Ethiquette to share their unique expertise and ensure that the government’s draft strategy adequately incorporates a number of considerations related to responsible consumption and responsible investment. The OCR is expected to submit it’s brief on the draft Strategy in the coming weeks.
1 See ZERDANI et al. (2014). « Portrait 2013 de la finance responsable au Québec, volet investissement responsable », CAP Finance, 54 pages.
2 Liberal translation of GOUVERNEMENT DU QUÉBEC (2014). « Stratégie gouvernementale de développement durable révisée 2015-2020 », p. 39.