Climate Change

One of the greatest and most pressing sustainability issues of our time is climate change, a phenomenon that has already had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on ecosystems, economies and communities around the world. 

As an investor, employer, and contributor to the communities in which we are established, we recognize our responsibility 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 at our Montréal head office ― where the majority of our business activities are undertaken ― as well as at our Toronto office, our energy and carbon efficiency strategy is mainly focused on reducing the energy consumption from our office buildings. We engage with our 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 against key performance indicators regarding waste, water and energy.  

In addition, we engage with our major publicly traded operating companies, Great-West Lifeco and IGM Financial, as well as with our wholly owned operating companies, regarding climate and the energy and carbon management strategies they establish and implement. 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 to further strengthen its ESG integration analysis of company-specific climate change risks and opportunities, where relevant, such as: climate-related regulations, government incentives that support renewable energy markets, exposure to weather events that could impact our investments, corporate properties, and information technology systems, and business continuity plans at office locations. 

In 2020 and 2021, the Corporation also had ongoing discussions with its major group companies to understand their carbon and energy management strategies, including an awareness session held with third-party experts in the matter. Considerable efforts and progress were made by our major subsidiaries in the past year to strengthen their commitments on reducing GHG emissions and disclosing their climate change strategies. 

Climate Advocacy and Outreach

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. Canada Life, one of Great-West Lifeco’s subsidiaries, also supports the NCC and its mission. In 2021 the company acted as National Sponsor of the Big Backyard BioBlitz series, helping offer Canadians nation-wide a meaningful way to contribute as citizen scientists. More than 6,600 participants from across Canada used the iNaturalist mobile app, visited their local green space and made more than 36,800 observations as possible.

Earth Rangers – Power Corporation provides funding for Earth Rangers, covering the three-year period from 2021 to 2024. Earth Rangers is a kids’ conservation organization whose free programs aim to instill environmental knowledge, positivity and the confidence to take action. 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. For its part, Canada Life continued its support for Earth Rangers’ membership program, which offers families free, fun and environmentally themed activities and content through their new Earth Rangers mobile app. The app features mission like Habitat Hero, which teaches users about animals’ habitat needs by participating in activities like making a butterfly feeder, digging a toad house and building a brush pile. Canada Life’s support helped Earth Rangers add more than 41,000 new members and more than 129,000 mission completed, which is a 50 per cent increase from last year. 

The support we provide to these foundations is in line with our strategy to contribute to community projects and initiatives that increase awareness and knowledge on climate change. We also invest in companies that share our philosophy and values, supporting a wide array of causes, including organizations promoting environmental stewardship. 

Carbon Disclosure

2022 marked Power Corporation’s eleventh year responding to the CDP climate change questionnaire. We support the organization’s endeavours to increase transparency and disclosure on climate change governance, risks and opportunities, management and performance. Power Corporation was one of only three Canadian companies, to receive the top score of A (Leadership) from the CDP in 2021.

IGM Financial and Great-West Lifeco obtained scores of A- (Leadership) and B (Management), respectively, for their response to the 2021 CDP questionnaire.

Our Objectives
Steps Taken to Achieve our Objectives

Explore Renewable Energy

Established Power Sustainable, one of our alternative asset investment platforms. It is a sustainability-led global alternative asset manager that aims to create long-term value by actively investing in entrepreneurial management teams, companies and projects with sustainable business models. 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.  

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. We engage with our major subsidiaries through a group-wide Sustainability Committee on a range of sustainability initiatives, including GHG emission reduction and climate change related risks, opportunities and management strategies.

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 with which we engage, either through our Chairman of the Board or our President and CEO, include:

  • International Economic Forum of the Americas: in support of efforts to increase awareness and collaboration between international governments on a wide range of issues, including climate change. 

  • 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. 

We are also proud of the actions of our group companies, many of which have become supporters and signatories of important third-party-led initiatives such as the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the Climate Action 100+ initiative.

Climate Advocacy and Outreach

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. Canada Life, one of Great-West Lifeco’s subsidiaries, also supports the NCC and its mission. In 2021 the company acted as National Sponsor of the Big Backyard BioBlitz series, helping offer Canadians nation-wide a meaningful way to contribute as citizen scientists. More than 6,600 participants from across Canada used the iNaturalist mobile app, visited their local green space and made more than 36,800 observations as possible.

Earth Rangers – Power Corporation provides funding for Earth Rangers, covering the three-year period from 2021 to 2024. Earth Rangers is a kids’ conservation organization whose free programs aim to instill environmental knowledge, positivity and the confidence to take action. 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. For its part, Canada Life continued its support for Earth Rangers’ membership program, which offers families free, fun and environmentally themed activities and content through their new Earth Rangers mobile app. The app features mission like Habitat Hero, which teaches users about animals’ habitat needs by participating in activities like making a butterfly feeder, digging a toad house and building a brush pile. Canada Life’s support helped Earth Rangers add more than 41,000 new members and more than 129,000 mission completed, which is a 50 per cent increase from last year. 

The support we provide to these foundations is in line with our strategy to contribute to community projects and initiatives that increase awareness and knowledge on climate change. We also invest in companies that share our philosophy and values, supporting a wide array of causes, including organizations promoting environmental stewardship. 

Carbon Disclosure

2022 marked Power Corporation’s eleventh year responding to the CDP climate change questionnaire. We support the organization’s endeavours to increase transparency and disclosure on climate change governance, risks and opportunities, management and performance. Power Corporation was one of only three Canadian companies, to receive the top score of A (Leadership) from the CDP in 2021.

IGM Financial and Great-West Lifeco obtained scores of A- (Leadership) and B (Management), respectively, for their response to the 2021 CDP questionnaire.

Highlights from our Group Companies

COMMITMENTS

Since becoming a supporter of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) in 2019, IGM Financial established in 2021 a cross-functional, enterprise-wide TCFD Working Group of senior leaders to lead 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.   

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) and Great-West Lifeco have also become supporters of the TCFD in 2021 and 2020, respectively.

In 2021, IGM Financial’s subsidiary Mackenzie Investments became a founding participant in Climate Engagement Canada, a Canadian-focused initiative driving dialogue with industry to promote a just transition to a net-zero economy, and became a signatory to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, joining global asset managers committed to supporting the goal of net-zero financed emissions. Mackenzie Investments and IG Wealth Management also support Climate Action 100+ and became founding signatories to the Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change in October 2021. 

Irish Life Investment Managers (ILIM) is also a signatory to the Climate Action 100+, which is an investor initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change.

In October 2021, ILIM announced its Climate Action Pledge, which sits within the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainable investment and goes beyond a statement of ambition and sets out their action plan to deliver on this. ILIM’s pledge focuses on specific areas where they can meaningfully influence decisions and drive further change for the benefit of their clients’ longer-term interests. ILIM commits to continuing to strengthen the governance and accountability of its executive leadership in relation to the progress of their climate change agenda. The pledge is focused on six key areas: advocacy and leadership for climate action; strengthen governance of the climate agenda; integrate climate risk into overall risk management; ensure the robustness of climate related exclusions policy; integrate climate alignment into proprietary portfolios and wider solution set; and use stewardship to accelerate the climate agenda at the companies in which they invest. 

CARBON PERFORMANCE

Great-West Lifeco has a strong commitment to minimizing its environmental footprint, to reporting high-quality emissions data and to reducing emissions across its operations. In November 2021, the company announced its commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions well before 2050 for its operations and by 2050 for financial emissions, with interim science-based targets to be announced in 2022. In 2021, Great-West Lifeco also received a B rating on the CDP’s Climate Change Questionnaire for managing its GHG emissions and climate change-related risks and opportunities. 

In 2021, as part of its Climate Position Statement, IGM Financial declared its intent to be carbon neutral in its corporate offices and travel by the end of 2022. The company’s journey to carbon neutrality includes rationalizing office space, moving into higher-quality buildings, modernizing existing offices, enhancing responsible energy, water, waste and paper management practices, and reducing travel impacts. Moreover, the company obtained a score of A- (Leadership) for their response to the 2021 CDP questionnaire.

In addition, GBL committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in May 2021 and submitted its targets to SBTi. In January 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. Target 1 consists of a 50 per cent reduction of GBL’s Scope 1 (direct emissions) and Scope 2 (electricity-related emissions) greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from a 2019 baseline. Target 2 consists of 100 per cent of eligible portfolio positions aligned with SBTi climate strategy and targets aligned with a 1.5°C pathway approved by SBTi by 2030 from a 2020 baseline. For this target, an intermediary target of 50 per cent coverage by 2025 has been retained. In 2021, GBL achieved a climate-neutral company status by offsetting its carbon footprint (direct and indirect emissions excluding portfolio emissions).

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. IGM Financial also conducted annual waste audits in its corporate offices to highlight improvement opportunities and increase engagement with employees. For its part, GBL conducted its annual in-depth risk assessment of its portfolio companies, covering topics that included efficiency in the use of resources, pollution prevention and management, climate change, environmental supplier and procurement standards, and environmental product responsibility. In 2021, GBL’s risk assessment included an in-depth analysis of the biodiversity risk exposure and potential biodiversity impact of each portfolio participation.

SUSTAINABLE AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

Power Sustainable, one of Power Corporation’s alternative asset investment platforms, is a sustainability-led global alternative asset manager that aims to create long-term value by actively investing in entrepreneurial management teams, companies and projects with sustainable business models. Through its Power Sustainable Energy Infrastructure (PSEI) platform, it actively invests in the development, construction, financing and operation of renewable energy infrastructure assets across North America. PSEI applies Power Corporation’s principles of collaboration and building trusting relationships in industries that benefit from the global energy transformation. 

The following are PSEI’s wholly owned operating companies:

  • 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. 

In addition, Power Sustainable also has equity investments in the following standalone businesses: 

  • LMPG – an internationally recognized designer, developer, and manufacturer of a wide range of high-performance and sustainable specification-grade LED solutions for commercial, institutional, and urban environments.

  • Lion Electric – an innovative manufacturer of zero-emission vehicles that creates, designs and manufactures all-electric class 5 to class 8 commercial urban trucks and all-electric buses and minibuses for the school, paratransit and mass transit segments.

SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS

Great-West Lifeco's subsidiary, GWL Realty Advisors, is contributing to more safe, resilient and sustainable real estate assets. Its goal is to accelerate progress towards meeting the demand for smarter, climate-resilient, more sustainable and healthier buildings for tenants and residents. 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 reducing the energy and carbon footprint of its clients’ portfolios to support the transition towards a low-carbon economy. 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, waste and GHG emissions. Teams are currently on track to meet or exceed the overall five-year reduction target and will look to evolve their emission targets to be in line with the company’s net-zero commitment by the end of the SBCP next year. 

A majority of the buildings under GWL Realty Advisors’ management also have green building certifications, and a range of sustainability features that are enhancing the health, wellness and environmental performance of buildings for their tenants. At the end of 2021, 86 per cent of its eligible portfolio by floor area had at least one green building certification, BOMA BEST® and/or LEED®. The company’s “Going for Gold” challenge, which encourages all eligible office properties to attain or maintain a minimum BOMA BEST Gold certification by 2023, is also on track, with 84 per cent of offices having already achieved gold certification. All of Canada Life’s main office properties have now reached this milestone. Also in 2021, BOMA Canada, at their National Awards Gala, honoured Canada Life’s 330 University Ave. and 190 Simcoe St. with The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY®) awards in the ‘Historical Building’ and ‘Corporate Facility’ categories, respectively. Additionally, GWL Realty Advisors’ Dynamic Funds Tower took home a national TOBY in the 500,000 to one million sq. ft category. The TOBY award recognizes excellence in building management and all facets of operations, including community involvement, sustainability, and environmental management. 

In 2021, GWL Realty Advisors was recognized as a leader in sustainability by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), earning a Green Star ranking for the seventh year in a row and our fifth consecutive GRESB 5 Star rating. GWLRA also landed among the top 8 per cent of participants in the global Diversified/ Non-Listed/Core category. Moreover, the company’s Canadian Real Estate Investment Fund No. 1 (CREIF) made its fourth GRESB submission in 2021, earning a GRESB 5 Star rating and placing among the top 11 per cent of participants in the Diversified/Non-listed/ Core category. 

For IGM Financial, five of the floors the company occupies at 180 Simcoe Street in Toronto were upgraded in 2021, making them the first to incorporate their workplace of the future design principles. These six design principles – collaboration and community, technology enablement, wellness, quality of light, sustainability, and simplicity of materials – reflect the company’s goal of creating spaces that support employee well-being, promote collaboration, and stimulate innovation. For this upgrade, IGM Financial partnered with more than 12 companies to ensure sustainable practices throughout the process. Partners included Green Standards, a firm that facilitates charitable donations, resale and recycling to keep workplace furniture and equipment out of landfill while generating positive local community impact. In the coming years, this new design will be implements across all corporate campuses. 

In its head office Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (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 by 2023 and combined with the switch to 100 per cent 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. 

The IGM Financial Green Council 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 and community investments teams, and the chairs of the employee green committee. It oversees continuous environmental improvements to business operations within the company’s facilities, travel and procurement. Moreover, the company educated financial advisors on climate change and ESG integration to accelerate their role as change agents for climate action, and its subsidiary Mackenzie Investments provided foundational climate training across its investment teams in 2021. IGM Financial continued the work of its cross-functional, enterprise-wide TCFD Working Group of senior leaders focused on enhancing the company’s knowledge and tools to quantify climate risks in tandem with its industry, further integrating climate into its business strategy, operations and product offerings, evolving its engagement approach with investee companies, and addressing increased disclosure expectations. 

As for Great-West Lifeco (including its subsidiary GWL Realty Advisors), actions taken to limit the impacts of the above-mentioned environmental topics have also involved business relationships such as critical suppliers regarding products and services that could reduce the environmental footprint of its buildings, operations, and processes, as well as information sharing with, and awareness building of, tenants, residents, and occupants of its downstream real estate assets under management. 

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 2021, Canada Life continued to maintain beehives on its office rooftops in London, Toronto, Winnipeg and Montreal. The bees that live in these hives continue to pollinate community green spaces over the summer months and produce honey. In 2021, Beeproject Apiaries helped Canada Life harvest honey in both Winnipeg and in Toronto, where jars of honey were donated to Second Harvest, a food rescue charity with a dual mission of environmental protection and hunger relief. Finally, in London, Heff’s Hives maintained its two beehives, which produced 80 lb. of honey and was donated to a local charity. New in 2021, MicroHabitat created and managed a 500 sq. ft. urban farm rooftop garden for Canada Life at 330 University Ave. in Toronto. Through this garden, the company donated approximately 300 lb. of produce to local foodbanks. Moreover, through MicroHabitat, Canada Life also supported the Breakfast Club of Canada (BCC) – for every pot sold, a child received a free lunch from the BCC. MicroHabitat also hosted several webinars for employees to learn more about urban farming. 

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, all GBL employees are expected to be mindful of the company’s environmental impact and to respect the commitments made in this area. Through its commitment to the environment, the group raises its employees’ awareness by promoting ecological gestures at the office such as the use of water fountains and paper reduction and/or recycling.
 

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