Frequently Asked Questions
The Canadian companies within the Initiative’s scope are likely small and have not been engaged by investors in any significant or coordinated manner. Consequently, the average Canadian company engaged with will be at an earlier stage in their strategic assessment, risk management, governance, and disclosure of climate change. The Canadian engagement approach is typically based on active dialogue between company and investor, and investor guidance on expectations or support in adopting leading practices. Canada has a successful track record of engaging with both management and boards; this Program will consider both depending on the company and the focus of a particular engagement.
Investors should expect companies to outline near-term accountability measures (i.e., interim targets) that provide them with confidence that their mid and long-term commitments will be met. This could include disclosures such as the indicators within the upcoming Climate Engagement Canada Net-Zero Company Benchmark—short and medium-term emissions reduction targets; detailed decarbonization strategies explaining the changes the company plans to make to achieve its commitments; as well as changes to executive compensation structures to incentivize company executives to achieve these commitments.
In May 2021, CEC finalized a report with logistical and technical recommendations for a Canadian approach to CA100+. These recommendations included a methodology for prioritizing companies for engagement. The list was initially constructed with the top 40 reporting or estimated emitters on the TSX as of the time of the analysis (October 21, 2021). This assessment included various datasets that grouped companies on both the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).
Further consideration has been given to suggestions made by Technical Committee members as well as CEC participants. Companies in the revised focus list have been ranked according to their GHG emissions as reported by MSCI. Company selection allows strategic clustering of company peers in sectors that are critical to the decarbonization of the Canadian economy. These cohorts create opportunities for themed engagement narratives (e.g., net zero transition at oil & gas companies, net zero energy transition amongst utilities, reducing scope 3 emissions along the value chain of food retailers, etc.). The list is composed of the following sectors: 1. Oil & Gas – 10 companies (25% of all focus list companies); 2. Utilities – 8 companies (20%); 3. Mining – 8 companies (20%); 4. Agriculture and food – 5 companies (12.5%); 5. Transportation – 3 companies (7.5%); and 6. Other (Materials, Industrial, and Consumer Discretionary) – 6 companies (15%).
Canadian corporations often have complex structures and a high level of diversification within their own business segments. Companies often do not fit squarely into these classification systems. Instead, efforts were made to cluster companies in sectors that are likely to face similar climate-related risks and opportunities. These clustering efforts were also adopted to ensure that investor teams were able to engage companies with similar businesses or that face similar circumstances related to their net-zero transition.
Every CEC focus company has received an initial communication outlining CEC expectations. Our engagement teams began their work with 25 of those companies in June and July. The remaining 15 companies are being approached now and in early fall.
CEC Participants are encouraged to follow a series of Principles of Collaboration (below) which are meant to act as a guide for how they will be working together.
- No surprises – Participants should communicate early and often with other Participants engaging the same Focus List Company, if alternative interventions are planned to ensure any action is fully considered and serves to amplify rather than divide;
- Respect different perspectives – Participants should take time to understand different perspectives, approaches; and limitations. They should also seek ways for different approaches to be complementary;
- Trust in the goals – Participants should keep their focus on the outcomes they are seeking to achieve and remember that all Participants have signed up to the same goals (and have mutual accountability).
Investors are also expected to provide quarterly progress reports (confidential) to CEC using a simplified framework (provided by the Program). Reports will include, at minimum, information on engagement outreach in the reporting period, correspondence received, meetings held, and any progress against engagement objectives. Reports may also identify challenges and other relevant information to assist in the development of the overall strategy of CEC. As Focus List Companies make public commitments, these advances may be reported by CEC publicly.
CEC seeks to protect the privacy of Participants. Participants can disclose the companies they are engaging with as part of the Initiative, as well as the collaborative engagement groups they are participating in, at their own discretion. However, they must first obtain explicit permission from each relevant Participant before disclosing the following:
- Participants assigned as Lead Engagement Participant for any collaborative engagement group;
- Names and identities of other Participants in a collaborative engagement group;
- The Focus List Companies engaged by other Participants; and
- Any other involvement that other Participants may have in CEC.
Many of Canada’s major asset owners and managers seek a collaborative approach to support the corporate sector in the transitioning economy. Engaging constructively with top emitters is critical for the success of Canada’s transition to a low carbon economy and the long-term prosperity of Canadian communities as we move toward a net zero world. Engagements will inform company boards and senior leaders on the concerns and expectations of the financial community as this relates to a timely transition to a low carbon economy, to spur organizational change. Through these engagements, corporate issuers will be encouraged to achieve the following: 1) Define accountability and oversight of climate change risks and opportunities; 2) Develop a clear roadmap anchored in comprehensive strategies to reduce their GHG emissions across their value chains; 3) Set measurable targets of relevance to their sector; 4) Disclose their climate data in alignment with the best-in-class standard of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD); and 5) Align advocacy activities, including those done through industry associations, with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
CEC was formed to focus on high-emitting carbon sectors, with the aim of encouraging companies in sectors to build climate resiliency across the value chain consistent with Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. While it is understandable that companies have complex business structures, the ultimate goal of their decarbonization strategies needs to ensure that, as a whole, it will be able to meet the conditions for a 1.5-degree scenario. Therefore, investors will expect to see climate action plans that outline an overall strategy and the contributions of all company activities that will help to eliminate GHG emissions by 2050.
These FAQs have been updated as of July 2022 to reflect the most recent information of Climate Engagement Canada (CEC).