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

Climate change has emerged as one of the defining economic as well as environmental and social issues of our time. For Canadian pension fund trustees, this has created debate about how climate change should be factored into trustee decision-making, including how trustees can engage with public policymakers. As fiduciaries, pension fund trustees owe a duty to beneficiaries and plan members to act prudently and in their sole interest. Faced with the impact of climate change on fund portfolios and by the potential for funds to exacerbate or mitigate climate change by their investment decisions, what are trustees’ obligations and how should they respond?

As a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving investment practices that protect the long-term interests of investors, working people, communities and society as a whole, the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) believes that a greater understanding of the relevance of climate change to trustee decision-making will help improve outcomes for pension plan members and other beneficiaries of trusts.

 

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