The Divestment Movement has one overarching theme that lets you use your economic might (great or small) to send a powerful message about your priorities for our collective future: Remove your investments from companies supporting Fossil Fuel extraction, processing and transportation; Reinvest in the Regenerative Economy.
Since the launch of the original fossil fuel divestment campaign in 2010, that message has been delivered by an increasingly powerful voice: a September 2018 report by Arabella Advisors indicates that nearly 1,000 institutional investors with $6.24 trillion in assets have committed to divest from fossil fuels, up from $52 billion four years earlier – an increase of 11,900 percent.
To help you along this journey, Divest Waterloo has assembled a list of fossil free investment options that includes local cooperatives, fossil free funds (FFF), green bonds, and related investment resources. While by no means exhaustive, this list should help you fulfill your commitment to investing with impact and contributing to the re-imagined future so many of us hope to share.
We encourage you to make that a public commitment, to express your support for this movement and to signal to friends, your family, and your financial institution that divestment is a choice worth making. The people at divestinvest.org have created a divestment pledge to demonstrate the growing public demand for fossil-free funds to all financial institutions. You can sign their pledge here.
Before You Begin
With a myriad of investment options, knowing where to begin with your reinvestment strategy can be a challenge. Tim Nash, the “Sustainable Economist”, has assembled a model portfolio that includes diversified investments across a range of funds which exclude companies directly involved in fossil fuel extraction, processing or transportation. He has also created a company, Good Investing, that “offers investment coaching services for do-it-yourself sustainable investors.”
Local Renewable Energy Projects
Renewable energy co-operatives were initially formed in response to the Ontario government’s Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program, which provided long-term contracts for producers of renewable energy. While the final round of FIT contracts was awarded in 2017, these co-operatives continue to explore ways to invest in a clean energy future.
The Community Energy Development Co-operative (CEDCO) builds solar power systems in Waterloo Region, Guelph, and the City of Greater Sudbury.
LIFE Co-operative renewable energy co-operative builds local renewable energy projects in Southern Ontario.
SolarShare’s Community Solar Bonds support investments in solar projects across Ontario.
Fossil Free Investment Options*
- AGF Management Limited is a global asset management firm that offers several funds focused on socially responsible investments and sustainable development. These include the AGF Global Sustainable Growth Equity Fund which invests in energy and power technologies, waste management and pollution control, water and waste water solutions, and environmental health and safety companies.
- This fund invests “primarily in a globally diversified portfolio of issuers and excludes investments in issuers that are primarily involved in the development and infrastructure of fossil fuels.”
CIBC Wood Gundy Blue Heron Advisory Group has a suite of fossil free funds, although they are only available through CIBC’s Advisor Managed Account Program.
- CoPower is a Canadian investment firm operating since 2013 to provide individuals with access to RSP eligible Green Bonds – “a diversified portfolio of loans to clean energy and energy efficiency projects. The projects generate steady revenues from the sale of clean energy or energy savings, allowing you to earn competitive fixed returns while reducing carbon emissions.” CoPower isn’t able to hold registered accounts on their platform; however they do work with the online brokerage Questrade, and they provide an online guide that explains how to do this. The minimum investment is $5,000.
- Fossil Free Portfolios were created at the request of the David Suzuki Foundation (story). They are managed directly through Genus rather than a fund you can purchase within another account, and generally require a $50,000 initial investment.
- The company provides its Greenchip Global Equity Fund and investment research to high net worth individuals, foundation endowments, and pension funds, exclusively in Canada. The fund focuses on companies involved in the transition to a green economy, especially those supporting the transition to sustainable energy solutions.
- This fund is now fully divested from oil, gas and coal production companies while maintaining or increasing investments in companies with a competitive advantage in a low-carbon future: companies developing transformative products and services, technologies, mitigation plans and diversification strategies. This is part of their suite of socially responsible investment (SRI) funds.
- This fund was launched in October 2018 through a partnership between Mackenzie Investments and Greenchip Financial. Background on the new fund is provided in this press release.
- These funds are provided through MD Financial Management, which was acquired by Scotiabank in October 2018 and provides financial management services for Canadian physicians and their families. The funds exclude companies involved in fossil fuel extraction as well as processing and transportation.
- NEI Investments is a Canadian owned investment firm specializing in responsible investment portfolios and is partially owned by the five Provincial Credit Union Centrals. The NEI Environmental Leaders Fundinvests globally in four key areas: water infrastructure, energy efficiency, waste recovery, and sustainable food.
- Launched in August 2017 by RBC Global Asset Management, this fund focuses on long-term growth through investments in “companies that operate in different countries around the world while avoiding companies that are directly involved in extracting, processing or transporting coal, oil or natural gas or those included in ‘The Carbon Underground 200’.” The minimum investment is $500.
- Green Century invests in environmental leaders and innovators, including renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, and healthy food companies as well as companies leading their industry in environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
*Divest Waterloo cannot verify the fossil-free nature of these investments, so we encourage you to do your research.
Divest Waterloo is not an investment organization, nor should any information offered here be understood as investment advice; each individual, group, institution, or other entity making investment decisions should consult with trusted investment advisors and/or financial consultants before making any investment decisions. We do hope, however, to offer as many resources as possible. If your financial institution recommends a fossil-free fund that is not on the above list, please let us know.
- The Climate Bonds Initiative is an investor-focused not-for-profit organization working to mobilize the $100 trillion global bond market to support climate change solutions. Their site provides a range of information, including a comprehensive blog on current developments in the green bond and climate bond markets internationally.
Clean Energy Canada’s Clean Energy Review
- Provides a weekly digest of the 10 most important climate and clean energy developments.
- Ethiquette is an independent web platform developed and managed by the Responsible Consumption Observatory (RCO) of Université De Québec À Montréal’s School of Management Sciences and Ellio. The site includes an extensive list of resources related to responsible investing, including in renewal energy and clean technology.
- Produced by the Capital Institute, a non-partisan think-tank, this guide outlines 8 principles of a Regenerative Economy, one in which our economy and financial system can operate to promote a more just, regenerative, and thus sustainable way of living on this earth.
- Supported by As You Sow, a US-based shareholder advocacy organization, this site lets you search mutual funds by name or asset manager to see their carbon footprint and status as socially responsible investments. While it focuses on US-based mutual funds, it includes several options from RBC Global Asset Management, and you may be able to include other US mutual funds in your portfolio.
- FTSE Russell is part of London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSEG) information Services Division. It provides a range of equity and bond indices as tools to help investors and investment firms benchmark the performance of their investments. The FTSE Smart Sustainability Index Series and the FTSE Global Climate Index Series provide performance measures for funds guided by Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles and climate change considerations, respectively.
- This site provides a comprehensive stock market listing of companies active in the green economy, as well as a range of mutual funds with an environmental or green economy focus.
- SHARE is a Canadian leader in responsible investment services, research and education. While its primary focus is on services for foundations, pension funds, religious investors and asset managers, the SHARE site has a wealth of information including research reports, case studies and investor briefs.
- This site is produced by the publishers of Environmental Finance and provides comprehensive information about green and sustainable bonds issued around the world. This is a subscription service, but a free trial is available.
Additional Reading (in chronological order)
- Religious institutions amplify their impact through international investor collaboration.
Canadian market for green bonds poised for growth. Canada’s green bonds often trade at a premium in the secondary markets.
The greening of the Emerald Isle: Dublin’s divestment decision. In July 2018, the Republic of Ireland became the first country to commit to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies. Additional coverage is available in this article from the Guardian UK.
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to Issue Green Bonds. CPPIB has announced plans over the past year to invest more than C$3 billion in the renewable energy sector, as it works to ensure the CPP Fund is well-positioned for the expected global transition to a lower-carbon economy.
Jeff Rubin, Globe & Mail article For Canadian investors, carbon-free portfolio a tricky task
Make a Clean Break: Your Guide to Fossil Fuel Free Investing, a report by 350.org, Green Century Funds, and Trillium Asset Management
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canada’s Carbon Liabilities: The implications of Stranded Fossil Fuel Assets for Financial Markets and Pension Funds.
The Climate Has Changed report (July 2014) from Canada’s Responsible Investment Association exploring the investment potential of fossil fuel free portfolios and the challenges for Canadian investors.
Now Magazine article: “How do we get investment funds and pensions off fossil fuels?”
Institutional Pathways to Fossil-Free Investing, a report by J. Humphreys, Tellus Institute
Billion Dollar Green Challenge, Green Revolving Funds – research, case studies and white papers.