Exploring Fossil Free Investing in Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region - As Canadians consider the global impact of climate change and the recognition that carbon emissions are the primary driver of global warming, they are seeking ways to remove or reduce their financial support for the fossil fuel industry and reinvest in solutions that will help hasten the shift to low-carbon technologies.

On Thursday March 5 at 7pm, local environmental leaders, elected officials, academics, students, financial planners, faith leaders, and concerned citizens from across Waterloo Region will come together at the Kitchener Public Library Central Branch to hear a panel of experts discuss the impact that climate change will have on investment portfolios, strategies to develop a fossil free portfolio, and opportunities to invest in local renewable energy projects.

Karen Lockridge, a principal, pension actuary and sustainability champion with Mercer and chair of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries‘ Committee on Climate Change and Sustainability, will start the evening by discussing Mercer’s work to identify the impact that climate change will have on institutional investment portfolios. Karen will identify a series of pragmatic steps for institutional investors to consider climate change risks throughout the investment process, including allocation to climate-sensitive assets, engagement and collaboration, and decarbonization strategies.

Timothy Nash “The Sustainable Economist“, president of Strategic Sustainable Investments, and the lead researcher for Ethical Market’s Green Transition Scoreboard® research report, will focus on the individual investor and explain how to create a high performance fossil free portfolio without sacrificing returns.

Shane Mulligan, General Manager of Local Initiative for Future Energy (LIFE) Co-op and Brian Unrau, President of Community Energy Development Co-operative Ltd will explain how to invest in local renewable energy projects to “save the planet, and make a great return while doing it”.

"For all of us talking about the dangers of climate change, divestment is literally a matter of putting your money where your mouth is” said Mulligan. “While we want to see big institutions divest, there are also loads of genuine opportunities for individuals, from insulating your home to putting solar panels on your roof, or investing in a local renewable energy co-operative that develops commercial scale solar projects."

“Climate change is an urgent and moral matter. Investing in oil, natural gas, and coal companies is a de facto endorsement of those companies' plans to find and extract more supplies and their efforts to obstruct action to tackle climate change” said Laura Hamilton of Divest Waterloo.”The divestment movement is motivating people to align their investments with their values but it turns out that divesting is not only an ethical choice, it’s also a sound financial decision.”

The need to phase out fossil fuels has been acknowledged by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Bank of England, as well as by many world leaders and a growing list of major corporations.

Divest Waterloo is promoting fossil-free investing for a better future. They want investors to stop adding fossil fuel stocks and bonds to their portfolios and to sell off existing fossil fuel holdings over a five-year period. A series of analyses have shown that there are already three times more fossil fuels in accessible reserves than can safely be burned if catastrophic climate change is to be avoided. The campaigners argue that it is a danger to both the environment and investors’ capital for companies to spend trillions of dollars exploring for more fossil fuels that can never be burned.

Divest Waterloo in partnership with CREW- WR (Community Renewable Energy Waterloo) are hosting Stop Funding Climate Change: Exploring Fossil Free Investing on March 5th at KPL’s Central Branch. Doors and displays open at 5:45 pm; "Do the Math", a short documentary that explains the 'math' of climate change, will be screened at 6:00 pm; and, the main program starts at 7:00 pm.

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