The Great Canadian ESG Championship announces winners of $104.5M investment pool and launches State of the Industry report
MONTREAL, Nov. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, the investors behind The Great Canadian ESG Championship announce the winners of their $104.5M investment mandate. Following the eight-month Dragon Den-style competition, they are also releasing a State of the Industry report, which takes a deep dive into the key trends and best practices of ESG investing observed throughout the initiative.
“The competition highlighted that the Canadian landscape for responsible investing is quite mature, as we had many great proposals to choose from. However, the lack of clarity around ESG labelling and definitions makes it challenging for investors to navigate,” says Éric St-Pierre, Executive Director of the Trottier Family Foundation and organizer of The Great Canadian ESG Championship.
Launched in March, The Great Canadian ESG Championship was driven by nine Canadian institutional investors as a response to the growing number of asset owners looking for responsible investment opportunities in a market that lacked clarity around ESG standards and labelling. The goal of the championship was to shine a light on the asset managers who are excelling in responsible investing so they can inspire others, and to give asset owners a curated jumping-off point to help accelerate their ESG investing.
“We wanted The Great Canadian ESG Championship to shine light on best practices to increase competitiveness amongst asset managers and identify the gaps where the industry can improve,” says St-Pierre.
From a pool of 60 submissions, 11 finalists were shortlisted and invited to present at the live event in front of a panel of judges, including Andrea Moffat, Vice President of the Ivey Foundation, Barb Zvan, CEO of University Pension Plan, and Daniel Simard, Management’s Advisor with Æquo Shareholder Engagement Services inc., resulting in Rally Assets taking home the audience choice award.
Judging criteria were based on both ESG and financial performance and assessed by expert validators Millani Inc., led by founder and CEO Milla Craig, and Normandin Beaudry, led by partner Jean Grégoire Morand, but each of the co-investors ultimately had the final say on where their funds would be invested based on their own responsible investing goals and internal processes. The nine co-investors included the Trottier Family Foundation, the Concordia University Foundation, the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, the Foundation of Greater Montreal, the Sitka Foundation, the Consecon Foundation, the McConnell Foundation and two private trusts.
The winning asset management firms ranged from large to small and were awarded based on their fund’s performance that met both high financial and high ESG criteria. Their rankings were also based on whether the fund’s strategy met the individual investment priorities and ESG goals of the co-investors. The winning firms allocated a piece of the total $104.5M investment pool included Alphafixe, Rally Assets, Jarislowsky Fraser, Schroders, UBS, Manulife and Phillips Hager & North.
The $104.5M investment mandates from nine institutional investors were divided between the 7 winners based on the investor’s priorities and goals within the ESG investment landscape.
The completion of The Great Canadian ESG Championship comes at a pivotal time in the face of increased greenwashing scrutiny around ESG investing and the global tightening of regulations for ESG financial products. While the appetite for responsible investment options in Canada has never been greater, neither has skepticism around what constitutes credible ESG.
Findings and key learnings from the competition in the rapidly evolving global ESG landscape are captured in the Millani-authored State of the Industry Report. The report highlights the need for clarity in communications from asset managers and comprehensive standards from regulators in order for the market to keep a strong footing and remain competitive.
“Throughout the competition, it became clear that some players are integrating ESG throughout their firms’ practices, but in other instances, we saw a disconnect between what funds were designed to achieve and how they were being marketed,” says Milla Craig, Founder and CEO of Millani, the competition’s expert ESG validator and author of The State of the Industry report. “While each winning firm had their own distinct ESG strategy, what they all had in common was their ability to clearly articulate their strategy well.”
In addition to key observations from investors, the report makes clear recommendations for how we can build more trust and transparency in the market. “While there is no right or wrong approach to an ESG strategy there is a need for more specific communications about a firm’s ESG criteria and goals, and how this is translated into investment decisions,” says Andrea Moffat, Vice President of the Ivey Foundation, who sat on the panel of judges and provided commentary to the State of the Industry Report.
“There are nuances to ESG. You can’t just make blanket statements. To help investment firms get there, we need more robust engagement and collaboration between government, regulators, investors and most importantly, standardized labels and taxonomies,” adds Craig.
Millani and co-investors of The Great Canadian ESG Championship will be hosting a free webinar on November 14 at 12-1 PM EST to review key findings and observations outlined in the report. To register, visit www.esgchampionship.ca.
To read the full State of the Industry report visit: https://esgchampionship.ca/wp-content/uploads/_documents/winners/ESG_state_of_the_industry_report_En.pdf
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About The Great Canadian ESG Championship
Inspired by the UK’s “ESG Investing Olympics,” nine Canadian co-investors (Trottier Family Foundation, the Concordia University Foundation, the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, the Foundation of Greater Montreal, the Sitka Foundation, the Consecon Foundation, the McConnell Foundation and two private trusts), have put forward $104.5M to invest with asset managers who demonstrate the most robust ESG investment approaches within three asset classes: equity and/ or fixed income, alternatives, and multi-asset.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at: https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/b8ab9ae7-bdc6-4366-a580-5de5e14f70ab