British Columbia Investment Management Corp., Victoria, provided updates on its quest to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and how it manages risks associated with environmental, social and governance factors, noting 260 ESG reviews for investment opportunities, in its annual ESG report for 2022 released on Wednesday.
The company also noted it conducted 38 ESG evaluations of external managers and partners across asset classes and that it voted at 3,478 public company meetings, increasing "expectations on climate change disclosure and performance, diversity and protection of shareholder rights."
BCI also said it participated in "public markets collaborative engagement initiatives" that targeted 2,294 companies on such issues as climate change, gender diversity and sustainable finance.
In addition, BCI said it escalated engagement with companies on "key issues through shareholder proposals filed on climate risk disclosure and freedom of association."
Moreover, QuadReal Property Group, a BCI-owned firm that manages its real estate equity and debt programs, also affirmed its commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
During the year, BCI participated in 26 sustainable bond issuances valued at more than C$1.45 billion ($1.07 billion), thereby increasing total historical participation to more than C$4 billion. By 2025, BCI expects this figure to reach C$5 billion.
On March 7 of last year, BCI made its first direct investment in solar energy in its infrastructure and renewable resources program by acquiring Reden Solar, which builds and operates solar power plants across Europe and Latin America. That deal was made in partnership with Canadian asset manager Macquarie Asset Management and MEAG, which manages the assets of German insurance giant Munich Re.
"Active asset managers are playing a critical role in advancing ESG objectives within an increasingly nuanced and fast-changing environment," said CEO and CIO Gordon J. Fyfe.
Jennifer Coulson, senior managing director and global head-ESG, said in the report that BCI is using its size and influence "to drive tangible ESG improvements" and that it continues to raise its "expectations for portfolio companies, investment partners and other players in the capital markets."
BCI has C$211.1 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2022, the report added.