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Photos from RIA Fall 2015 Social Event

Over 80 responsible investment (RI) professionals attended the RIA’s fall 2015 social event, ESG AfterWork, which took place October 1st Montecito Restaurant in Toronto. Special thanks to Bloomberg for helping to make this event possible and to Gregory Elders for sharing insights on water scarcity risks. View the photos here.

RIA Welcomes SHARE as Associate Member

The RIA is pleased to welcome the Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE) as an RIA Associate Member. By increasing its RIA membership to the Associate level, SHARE has further demonstrated its commitment to supporting and growing RI in Canada. Read more here.

RIA Blog: Volkswagen: Why this Matters

AGF portfolio managers Martin Grosskopf and Hyewon Kong have authored a new blog on the RIA website titled Volkswagen: Why this Matters. The article discusses the significance of the Volkswagen scandal and outlines five key issues for investors to consider. Read the article here.

RIA Staff & Member Receive 2016 Clean50 Awards

Each year, Clean50 recognizes Canada’s outstanding contributors to sustainable development and clean capitalism. Dustyn Lanz, RIA Director of Member Relations and Communications has received a 2016 Clean50 Emerging Leader  award, which recognizes leaders under 35. Pauline D’Amboise, VP, Governance, Social Responsibility and Secretariat General with RIA Associate Member Desjardins Group, was recognized with a 2016 Clean50 award.

Submit Ideas for the 2016 RIA Conference

The next RIA Conference will take place June 6th and 7th, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. We welcome your suggestions for speakers and session topics. More.

RIA Members Invited to Submit RIA Blogs

RIA Members are invited to submit educational articles to be considered for publication on the RIA blog, which has been gaining an increasing amount of attention from RI professionals and investment media. RIA Blogs are sent to over 2500 RI professionals. If you wish to submit a blog article, please contact Dustyn Lanz, RIA Director, Member Relations and Communications.

RI Industry News

AGF Fund Discloses Environmental Footprint
The AGF Global Sustainable Growth Equity Fund is the first mutual fund in Canada to publicly disclose environmental footprint. The Fund’s disclosure covers a range of factors including GHG emissions, water, waste, pollutants and natural resource usage. More.

MSCI to Report Carbon Footprint of Global Equity Indices

MSCI will publicly report the carbon footprints of its global equity indices beginning with its flagship MSCI ACWI, MSCI world and MSCI emerging markets index families. More.

NEI Investments Encouraged as Banks Rein in Executive Compensation

NEI Investments has been encouraged by steps that some of Canada’s biggest banks have taken to rein in executive pay. Yet there is more work to be done. More.

RBC GAM Becomes Signatory to the UN-Supported PRI
“While ESG integration is not new to our investment process, adopting the UN PRI further demonstrates our ongoing commitment to responsible investing,” said Dan Chornous, chief investment officer of RBC GAM. More.

Investors Support Carbon Pricing in Alberta

A coalition of 120 investors, representing over $4 trillion AUM, have written to the premier of Alberta to voice support for the planned increase of its carbon price. More.

PRI in Person 2015 Highlights

Highlights from the PRI’s global responsible investment conference are available here.

Coal Divestment Bill Passes California State Legislature

A bill requiring California’s state pension funds Calpers and CalSTRS to sell their investments in coal companies has been passed. More.

ESG News

Canadian Firms Weak on Gender Diversity Policies

Just 14% of companies on the TSX have adopted a formal policy for improving the proportion of women on their boards in line with recommendations introduced this year by securities regulators, while the vast majority have rejected gender diversity policies. More.

Volkswagen was Warned About Risk of Emissions Fines

Volkswagen was among companies warned in February they could risk fines for failing to meet stringent emissions targets. More.

VIDEO: Understanding the Issues: Excessive Executive Compensation

NEI’s Michelle De Cordova breaks down the issue of excessive executive compensation in a short, client-friendly Youtube video. Watch.

Mark Carney Warns Climate Change Could Lead to Financial Crises

Bank of England governor Mark Carney warns that climate change could lead to financial crises and falling living standards. More. Watch Carney’s speech here.

Consumers File Suit Against Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars for Child Slave Labor

Lawsuit alleges that candy companies knowingly use forced child labor in the production of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat, Twix, M&Ms and other candy bars. More.

General Mills Aims to Reduce GHG emissions by 28% in 10 years

General Mills has set an ambitious goal of reducing its GHG emissions 28% by 2025 – not just within its own operations but from farm to fork to landfill. More

Research & Analysis

Climate Change and the Fiduciary Duties of Pension Fund Trustees in Canada

New Canadian legal research finds that climate change denial is not an option for trustees. Foreword by Peter Chapman of SHARE. Full study here. Media release here.

PRI: Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century

New report finds that fiduciary duty is not an obstacle to asset owner action on ESG factors. It looks at fiduciary duty across eight markets including Canada through a series of events, interviews, case studies and a legal review. More.

Investors, Climate Risk and Forceful Stewardship: An Agenda for Action

A blueprint for asset owners to act on portfolio climate risk and to protect themselves against legal liability for negligence. Summary here. Full report here.

Bloomberg and Natural Capital Declaration: Water Risk Valuation Tool

This white paper discusses how water scarcity is emerging as a potentially material risk, and identifies ways to understand and assess water scarcity risks. More.

Mining the Disclosures: An Investor Guide to Conflict Minerals Reporting

Report from Responsible Sourcing Network analyzes corporate due diligence procedures that address conflict mineral risks & ranks human rights performance of 155 firms. More.

Sustainalytics: Steel: Forging Sustainability and Competitiveness

The steel industry is struggling with overcapacity and volatility in the price of raw materials. In this sector research report, Sustainalytics assesses the key ESG investment risks and opportunities for 84 public and private companies. More.

New research indicates sin stocks do not outperform

New research refutes the notion that “sin stocks” such as alcohol and tobacco companies outperform other publicly listed companies. Summary here. Full study here.
Policy & Legal News

Results from Women in Executive Roles Disclosure Requirements
Canadian regulators have released the results of compliance with new disclosure requirements on women on boards and in executive officer positions. More.

Sustainalytics: Pensions and ESG Disclosure – It’s Time to Act
Max Zehrt, Sustainalytics’ Director, Institutional Relations, Canada shares insights on the new ESG disclosure requirements for pension plan administrators in Ontario. More.

SHARE: Safety strategy is a Business Strategy
SHARE’s Kevin Thomas writes that a holistic view of business strategy would incorporate the value created by the responsible use of all types of capital, including financial, natural and human capital. That idea is gaining momentum. More.

Purpose Capital: How to Invest with Impact
Purpose Capital Co-Founder Karim Harji explains how impact investing is an approach that brings intentionality to how you align profit and purpose. More.

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Is Reputation More Important Than Morals in Responsible Investing?

Academic research has found that “moral duty” is no longer an important consideration when adopting ESG principles. A new article in the Chief Investment Officer discusses the motivations behind why investment companies sign up to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Read the full article here.

New Independent Resource on RI for Individuals

Fabien Durif, professor at UQAM’s School of Management and director of the latter’s Responsible Consumption Observatory (RCO), and Brenda Plant, senior consultant at Ellio, proudly announce the launch of Ethiquette, a new, independent, interactive, educational Web platform dedicated to responsible investment (RI). The new tool follows in the wake of the findings of a study entitled “Québecers and Socially Responsible Investment: Portrait for 2014“, published in February of this year. According to this study, individual investors were found to be little aware of responsible investment (RI), and information available to them insufficient to elucidate the complexity of RI financial products.

Ethiquette is the first independent, bilingual Web platform intended for individual investors. The platform’s unparalleled interactive content will enable individual investors to familiarize themselves with RI concepts and challenges through a mix of videos, testimonials and surveys, as well as a blogs published simultaneously with NGO partners in their networks. Because it is a university-based initiative, they will also be doing continued research into this growth market, offering information that the industry will want to follow.

Ethiquette was made possible through the support of Desjardins – Wealth Management, Fondaction CSN, the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change Control (Québec), and Employment and Social Development Canada.

RII Partners release Canada’s National Advisory Report on Impact Investing

Impact investing in Canada is on the rise, but it will require leadership from governments, foundations, pension funds, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations (NPOs) and others to reach its full potential. This report advances priority recommendations for governments—the federal government in particular—to enable and catalyze impact investment in Canada.

Responsible Investment Association Canada performance numbers for Canadian RI mutual funds, ETFs and retail venture funds are now available

Read the complete, fund-by-fund spreadsheet or the short, two-page report on some of the strongest performing categories of RI funds for more information!

Responsible Investment Association Canada – New Report

Although many Canadian mutual fund companies support environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards for corporations over the long-term, only those fund companies with a responsible investing (RI) mandate are consistently pushing for change through proxy voting, according to a study released by the Toronto-based Responsible Investment Association (RIA). RIA’s Canadian Mutual Fund Proxy Voting Survey finds that “mainstream” fund companies are voting for management resolutions 95% of the time whereas RI mandated funds are voting in favour of such resolutions only 56% of the time. Read the full article here.

Maastricht University launches Sustainable Finance Master’s specialization

Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics has launched the very first Sustainable Finance specialization as part of their MSc. International Business Program.

Starting in September 2014, it is possible to participate in the Msc. Programme International Business / Sustainable Finance at Maastricht University. The track is the very first to offer a unique set of courses that jointly address sustainability issues at the interface between mainstream finance and relevant complementary disciplines. In combining finance with a multidisciplinary perspective on material sustainability issues, IB/Sustainable Finance teaches students to become the new-generation finance professional as well as an essential linking pin in organizations that want to create value through sustainability. For more details on the track, please contact Jeroen Derwall at For enrollment criteria, please visit the MSc. Programme overview at Maastricht University: or the ECCE education platform at

Webinar series

You are invited to register for the free webinar series, and experience online  presentations about the Sustainable Finance specialization, course topics, prerequisites, and study material. As a participant of the webinar series you will be able to submit live questions and receive answers from the webinar host directly. Next webinar date: 9 April 2014, 16:00 – 17:00 hrs. (Amsterdam time, GMT +1): click here to register for free.

Desjardins on SRI

RII partner Desjardins has created a short animated educative video that presents the concept of SRI.  They hope that it will go viral and increase awareness about SRI. That way, together, we will be able to invest in a sustainable world! Click here to see the video.

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Responsible Investment Newsletters

Heartland Capital Strategies (HCS) Thursday Morning Espresso E-Journal – November 2014

HCS has released its November 2014 e-journal. Read the full journal here.

David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise (DOCSE) Newsletter – October 2014

DOCSE has released its Fall newsletter for 2014. Read the full newsletter here.

Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) Newsletter – June 2014

GIIN has released its newsletter for June 2014. View the full newsletter here.

ESG@NEI Newsletter – August 2014

ESG@NEI has released its newsletter for August 2014. View the full newsletter in English or French.

SHARE Newsletter – May 2014

SHARE has released its newsletter for May 2014. View the newsletter here.

Heartland E-Journal – April 2014

Heartland has released its e-journal for April 2014. View the journal here.

Responsible Investment Association Newsletter – March 2014

The Responsible Investment Association, formerly the Social Investment Organization, has released its newsletter for March 2014. View the full newsletter here.

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