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SFU ACCELERATES TOWARDS DECARBONIZING ITS INVESTMENTS
In the last few years, we've seen a steady increase in weather-related disasters, including hurricanes, droughts, flooding, heatwaves and windstorms, causing the loss of many lives and billions of dollars in damages. With predictions for a steady increase in similar extreme weather events in the future, climate change is a rapidly growing systemic and existential threat for our communities, people and planet.
It is now widely accepted that transitioning to a low-carbon economy is a pressing priority and must play an integral role in shaping investment decisions presently and in the future. At Simon Fraser University (SFU), we remain committed to sustainability, climate action and a better future by taking concrete steps to address climate change. Our inaugural Carbon Footprint Factsheet details our efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of our investments.
The factsheet outlines the university's responsible investing strategy and commitment to reducing carbon intensity by 45 per cent by 2030 (using 2016 as a base year) and targeting full divestment of all endowed and non-endowed funds by 2025.
"SFU is a leader among Canadian universities for taking action in responsible investing and fulfilling our deep commitment to making a positive impact at SFU and in the world," said Karamjeet Heer, associate vice-president, finance. "We continue to integrate climate-related risks and opportunities into our investment processes and support the transition toward a net zero economy."
Starting from 2014, the factsheet highlights our progress towards responsible investing practices and the continued work in achieving our longer-term climate targets.
Our 2022 achievements included:
- Achieving 74 per cent Carbon Footprint Reduction against the 2016 baseline (March 2022)—29 per cent above the original target of a 45 per cent reduction and three years ahead of the 2025 deadline.
- Committing to full divestment from Fossil Fuel Investments by 2025.
- Ranking eighth university worldwide for our impact on sustainable cities and communities (Times Higher Education 2022 Impact Rankings).
- Signing the Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change.
- Being the founding member of Investing to Address Climate Change—a Climate Charter for Canadian Universities.
- Making our Global Equity Investment portfolio 100 per cent fossil fuel-free.
- Allocating eight per cent of Endowment to Socially Responsible Investment Funds (SRI)—plans are underway to increase SRI funds allocation to 10 per cent.
- Investing $10-million in Vancity Impact GIC fund—to support transformational work in communities across Canada, including affordable housing, underserved businesses and entrepreneurs, charities and more.
"We are working closely with our investment managers to decarbonize our investment portfolio, ensuring they understand our responsible investing commitments and beliefs and continue integrating environmental, social and governance factors into our investment process," said Jacky Shen, director of treasury.
The factsheet also highlights SFU's adoption of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations and its commitment to using the TCFD framework to identify and manage climate-related risks and opportunities.
"The university will monitor trends and measure its carbon footprint investment portfolio annually to ensure accountability and transparency to our community," added Shen.
As SFU steps on the accelerator towards decarbonizing its portfolio and achieving other climate goals, let's remember that we all—staff, faculty, students, alumni and community members—have a role to play in building a more sustainable and climate-just future for ourselves and beyond.
Learn more about SFU's 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan and how we prioritize climate justice, resilience and action in all our work.
This story is the first in a series highlighting the VPFA portfolio's work towards SFU's 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. For more information on VPFA sustainability work, please visit sfu.ca/VPFA. For more information on SFU's goals and actions within the sustainability and climate action plan, please visit sfu.ca/sustainability.