Current contribution: 2022-2025
Previous contributions: 2020-2022
Shift: Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health aims to protect both peoples’ pensions and the climate. They bring together beneficiaries and their pension funds, supporting people to track where their retirement wealth is being invested and how they can advocate for a shift towards more zero-carbon investments.
“We educate and empower distinct communities of workers across Canada to advocate for greening their pensions,” says Adam Scott, Director. “Shift works closely with groups of teachers, nurses and government employees so they can speak out to protect their retirement savings from climate risks, and to ensure those savings are not invested in a way that worsens the crisis.”
Canada’s top 10 pension funds manage more than $2 trillion in assets. Prior to 2020, only one pension plan in the country, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), had committed to a Paris Agreement-aligned climate target of net-zero by 2050. By the end of 2022, eight of the largest Canadian pension plans had made a similar commitment, thanks to the engagement of Shift. “This move towards climate-alignment has massive implications for our collective ability to address this crisis long term,” says Scott.
Influencing the investment strategies of pension plans may seem like an impossible, insurmountable task. But Scott has witnessed first-hand that change is possible.
“Fund managers, like many institutions, are only just learning what the climate crisis means for them and how to address it,” explains Scott. “They have moved surprisingly quickly, relative to their size and complexity, in response to education and member engagement.”
“It turns out that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can indeed change the world,” says Adam Scott, Director.