Climate Change

As one of the greatest and most pressing sustainability issues of our time is climate change, we recognize our responsibility – as a long-term active shareholder, employer, and contributor to the communities in which we are established − to help create a future where prosperity is harmonized with addressing the critical challenge of climate change.  

We work to reduce the energy use and environmental impacts associated with our activities and collaborate with our group companies in their efforts to likewise reduce their impact. Finding ways to reduce energy consumption is essential to operating a sustainable business. It enables the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change, while helping our businesses address the rising demand for, and cost of, energy.

Our Strategy

Our strategy for adapting to climate change is focused on positioning our business positively within the context of a low-carbon economy and supporting policies that advance solutions that address the tangible impacts of climate change. At the holding company level, we worked diligently to reduce our environmental footprint and limit the impacts associated with the topics mentioned above by focusing our environmental priorities on:

  • Reducing our energy and carbon footprint

  • Increasing the use of renewable resources

  • Preventing, reducing and diverting waste from landfills

  • Procuring products and services responsibly 

To that end, we provide training to our employees on our Environmental Policy and Responsible Procurement Policy. Since our limited energy and carbon footprint is mostly tied to business travel and the use of electricity and natural gas in our buildings, our energy and carbon efficiency strategy is mainly focused on reducing the energy consumption from our office buildings. We engage with our wholly owned subsidiary Square Victoria Real Estate regarding opportunities to further reduce our energy consumption and GHG emissions, as well as with our suppliers and contractors to influence the provision of environmentally friendly products and services for our business. We monitor and track our performance regarding waste, water and energy.  

In addition, we engage with our major publicly traded operating companies, Great-West Lifeco and IGM Financial, regarding climate. This engagement is twofold: first, as part of our annual data collection process for the purposes of our environmental public disclosure, and second, as part of our active ownership approach, recognizing that climate change could potentially impact the companies in which we have investments. The Corporation engages the senior management of its major operating and portfolio companies regarding the energy and carbon management strategies they establish and implement.

Climate Change Awareness Building

In line with our contributions to community projects and initiatives that increase awareness and knowledge on climate change impacts and management, Power Corporation supports various organizations that are focused on issues related to climate change. The following provides examples of the research organizations we support:

Nature Conservancy of Canada – Power Corporation has been supporting Nature Conservancy of Canada since 2005. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner, NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for the country’s most natural areas and the plants and animals that sustain them.

Earth Rangers – Power Corporation provides funding for Earth Rangers, Canada’s largest children-focused conservation organization specifically committed to educating young people and their families about biodiversity, adopting sustainable behaviours, and empowering them to become directly involved in protecting animals and their habitats. The organization also works with a variety of national, regional and local conservation organizations to develop projects to protect endangered animals, ranging from conservation research to land acquisition and habitat stewardship.

Carbon Disclosure

Power Corporation supports the CDP and its endeavours to increase transparency and disclosure on climate change governance, risks and opportunities, management, and performance.

The year 2023 marked the twelfth year we responded to the CDP climate change questionnaire. In 2022, Power Corporation received a score of A- (Leadership) from the CDP, the same score received by its publicly traded operating companies, Great-West Lifeco, IGM Financial and Groupe Bruxelles Lambert

Our Objectives
Steps Taken to Achieve our Objectives

Explore Renewable Energy

Established Power Sustainable, one of our alternative asset investment platforms, a pure-play sustainable investment manager investing in companies and projects that contribute to decarbonization, social progress and quality growth. Through its Power Sustainable Energy Infrastructure platform, it actively invests in the development, construction, financing and operation of renewable energy infrastructure assets across North America.  These includes:

  • Potentia Renewables – a renewable energy generation company that is a fully integrated developer, operator and manager of solar and wind energy assets, active in North America.

  • Nautilus Solar – a U.S based company that acquires, develops, finances and manages distributed solar projects across community, municipal/utility-scale, commercial and industrial markets.

Minimize Investment Risks

Continue to integrate economic, environmental, social and governance factors into our investment process and active ownership approach, which includes climate change risks and opportunities, where relevant.

Invest in Sustainable Businesses

Companies in which we invest are adapting to the impacts of climate change on their businesses through products, services, markets and operations.

Engage with Trade Associations and Stakeholder Groups

We engage with trade associations on climate action as well as with non-profit groups that support various climate-related issues. Trade associations and non-for-profit groups with which we engage, either through our Chairman of the Board or our President and CEO, include:

  • Brookings International Advisory Council: in support of efforts to develop effective, pragmatic policies for addressing national and global issues, including energy and environmental issues. 

  • C.D. Howe Institute: to collaborate with a distinguished group of Canadian business leaders, academics, former public officials and other experts in support of the development of strategic perspectives about emerging policy challenges, including climate change and the environment. 

  • Business Council of Canada: to share expertise and support the development of unique insights, in-depth analysis and data-based policy recommendations across a broad range of economic, social and environmental issues, including climate change. 

Climate Change Awareness Building

In line with our contributions to community projects and initiatives that increase awareness and knowledge on climate change impacts and management, Power Corporation supports various organizations that are focused on issues related to climate change. The following provides examples of the research organizations we support:

Nature Conservancy of Canada – Power Corporation has been supporting Nature Conservancy of Canada since 2005. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner, NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for the country’s most natural areas and the plants and animals that sustain them.

Earth Rangers – Power Corporation provides funding for Earth Rangers, Canada’s largest children-focused conservation organization specifically committed to educating young people and their families about biodiversity, adopting sustainable behaviours, and empowering them to become directly involved in protecting animals and their habitats. The organization also works with a variety of national, regional and local conservation organizations to develop projects to protect endangered animals, ranging from conservation research to land acquisition and habitat stewardship.

Carbon Disclosure

Power Corporation supports the CDP and its endeavours to increase transparency and disclosure on climate change governance, risks and opportunities, management, and performance.

The year 2023 marked the twelfth year we responded to the CDP climate change questionnaire. In 2022, Power Corporation received a score of A- (Leadership) from the CDP, the same score received by its publicly traded operating companies, Great-West Lifeco, IGM Financial and Groupe Bruxelles Lambert

Highlights from our Group Companies

COMMITMENTS TO GLOBAL AND REGIONAL INITIATIVES

Power Corporation’s publicly traded operating companies Great-West Lifeco, IGM Financial and Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) have all become supporters of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), respectively in 2020, 2019 and 2021.

Since becoming a supporter of the TCFD, IGM Financial has set up a cross-functional, enterprise-wide TCFD Working Group of senior leaders who collaborate on the planning and implementation of the TCFD recommendations. The group is focused on enhancing the company’s knowledge and tools to quantify climate risks in tandem with their industry; further integrating climate into its business strategy, operations and product offerings; evolving their engagement approach with investee companies; and addressing increased disclosure expectations. In addition, IGM Financial’s companies engage in regulatory and policy dialogue and collaborate with industry peers to advance science-based approaches through membership and participation with CERES, the Net Zero Asset Managers (NZAM) initiative, the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials, and Climate Engagement Canada.

Furthermore, Great-West Lifeco’s subsidiary Irish Life Investment Managers as well as IGM Financial’s subsidiaries IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie Investments have joined Climate Action 100+, an investor initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change.

In 2021, IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie Investments became founding signatories to the Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change, a Canadian-focused initiative driving dialogue with industry to promote a just transition to a net-zero economy. Also in 2021, Mackenzie Investments became a founding participant in Climate Engagement Canada and a signatory to the NZAM initiative. In 2022, Irish Life Investment Manager also became a signatory to the NZAM initiative.

Canada Life also support the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) which performs coordinated research, provides advice and develops policy based on climate change. In 2022, Canada Life’s support of their work on climate adaptation helped provide solutions to achieve a stable climate, sustainable resources and fair economies, with a focus on driving action on risk management and climate adaptation in Canada.

Finally, GBL committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in May 2021.

CARBON PERFORMANCE

In 2021, Great-West Lifeco committed to achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050 for both operations and investments. Also in 2021, the IGM Financial group of companies issued its Climate Position Statement, which included a commitment to be carbon neutral in 2022 across its corporate offices and travel. Finally, in 2022, GBL became the first investment holding company to have climate targets aligned with a 1.5°C pathway approved by SBTi for both its own operations and its eligible portfolio of participations. More information on our publicly traded operating companies’ climate commitments, targets and carbon management strategies and reporting can be found in their respective disclosure, including their respective responses to the CDP climate change questionnaire.

In addition to the above, Great-West Lifeco and IGM Financial continued to monitor and track their performance in furtherance of energy use, water use, waste, and GHG emissions reduction targets. For its part, GBL conducted its annual in-depth ESG due diligence of its portfolio companies, covering topics that included efficiency in the use of resources, pollution prevention and management, ecosystem and biodiversity, climate change, environmental supplier and procurement standards, and environmental product responsibility.

SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS

Great-West Lifeco's subsidiary GWL Realty Advisors aims to minimize its environmental footprint by driving cost efficiency and improving the sustainability performance of the buildings under its management, while working collaboratively with service providers to support environmentally conscious activities, products and services. Through its leadership and expertise, GWL Realty Advisors believes it can have the greatest impact by influencing the development of sustainable cities and communities; encouraging more responsible consumption and production within its managed portfolio; and managing and reducing the risks posed by climate change to its clients’ portfolios in support of a resilient world and  low-carbon economy. In 2022, the company made progress towards its net-zero commitment and in making its assets more resilient to the impacts of climate change. To advance this important work, GWL Realty Advisors hired a specialized consultant to assist in helping to identify priority assets and build out an organizational strategy to meet its ambitions. In the past two years, its teams conducted 22 assessments for reducing carbon emissions for high-priority, high-opportunity office and residential assets, with another 20 scheduled in the next 18 months. The company also launched its first carbon emission reduction project in Vancouver, which when complete will see a reduction of 110 tonnes CO2e/year through the conversion of conventional gas heating equipment to electric over five years. Its office portfolio also continued its participation in GWL Realty Advisors’ Sustainability Benchmarking and Conservation Program (SBCP), where teams set and drive toward five-year (2019–2023) reduction targets for energy, water and waste. GWL Realty Advisors continues to develop programs and provide support to help its properties meet their reduction targets.

GWL Realty Advisors’ work is being recognized by industry peers. In 2022, it received the Stakeholder Engagement Innovator Award and the Climate Leader Award at the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan’s Leadership in Environmental Advancement Program Awards Show, which celebrates property managers and tenants for excellence in areas such as sustainability and stakeholder engagement.

A majority of the buildings under GWL Realty Advisors’ management also have green building certifications. To learn more about these efforts, please visit the SDG 11 section of this website.  

IGM Financial's environmental management efforts focus on four areas of its operations, including rationalizing and modernizing existing offices and moving into higher-quality buildings. In 2022, the company opened 12 new sites with sustainability considerations in mind. It seeks out landlords who are equally concerned about sustainability and can track key sustainability metrics such as GHG emissions and water usage. IGM Financial engages with landlords whenever possible to see where they can enhance sustainability initiatives at its office locations in areas such as onsite recycling, composting facilities and EV charging stations.

In its head office, GBL promotes leading energy efficiency. GBL’s Marnix head office building is currently being renovated with the aim to achieve HQE (“Haute Qualité Environnementale”), BREEAM Outstanding and CO2 Neutral certifications. The renovation works are expected to be completed in 2023 and combined with the switch to 100 % renewable energy sourcing, these initiatives will strongly contribute to reduce GBL’s energy consumption and direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions.

EMPLOYEE AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Through the work of employee green committees, sustainability/green councils, working groups and internal promotion, Great-West Lifeco, IGM Financial and GBL continued to educate their workforce on these topics, building capacity and creating a consistent culture of environmental awareness.

In 2022, IGM Financial amalgamated its operating company green teams to form an IGM Green Business Resource Group (BRG), which drives employee engagement around sustainability and climate change by organizing sustainability-focused events throughout the year. The IGM Financial Green Council, for its part, is responsible for creating a consistent culture of environmental awareness and practices across its operating companies. The council consists of leaders from the facility management, human resources, corporate sustainability, information services, finance, and community investments teams, and the chairs of the employee green BRG. In addition, IGM Financial’s subsidiary Mackenzie Investments provided best practices and training to strengthen investment management sustainability practices.

Great-West Lifeco’s commitment to the environment extends beyond its own operations and into the communities where it lives and works each day, including through the following initiatives. In 2022, Canada Life worked with MicroHabitat, an urban farming company, to create and manage a 500 sq. ft. urban farm rooftop garden for its Toronto office. Through this garden, the company donated approximately 300 lb. of produce to local foodbanks and 30 meals to Breakfast Club of Canada. In addition, GWL Realty Advisors also hosted rooftop gardens on 17 managed office properties across Canada. In total, the gardens yielded a harvest of over 6,400 pounds of vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers in the 2022 season. Sharing the harvest with local food banks and community organizations allowed GWL Realty Advisors to directly help fill a need for accessible and fresh nutritious food at a time when Canadian food bank use is quickly rising. Furthermore, the rooftop gardens help reduce its environmental footprint by limiting the heat island effect that is common in urban areas. The urban farms have also played an important role in engaging and educating their tenants. 

In addition to supporting organizations that are focused on issues related to climate change, our major publicly traded subsidiaries encourage their staff to play their part in preserving the environment. As an example, during Canadian Environment Week in 2022, Canada Life’s employees across Canada participated in Green Action Centre’s National Commuter Challenge. Employees logged sustainable commutes or activities to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the places where they live and work. Together, they collectively logged more than 37,500 km and prevented nearly 8,000 kg of GHGs from entering our atmosphere.

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