Climate Change Action Task Force

Investment Committee's Final Report


Queen’s University is committed to making a real and lasting impact in the fight against climate change. One of the mechanisms by which it can achieve its goals is to reduce the carbon footprint of its investments. With that in mind, the Investment Committee’s Final Report on Climate Change Action Task Force (CCATF) Recommendations, which includes a commitment to lower the carbon footprint across the entirety of the University’s Pooled Endowment Fund (PEF) and Pooled Investment Fund (PIF) was approved and endorsed by Queen’s Board of Trustees on March 4, 2022.

The targets set out in the recommendations are impactful, and designed to align Queen’s with Canada’s net zero commitments. With a target of at least 25% below the broader global market’s emissions, the university will decarbonize its portfolios ahead of the market and without singling out specific industries. The benchmark target reduction approach is aligned with those taken by many large best-in-class institutional investors.

This approach will allow the funds to achieve strong, sustainable returns while enabling the university to do its part in working with other responsible shareholders to influence the companies in which it is invested to also decarbonize.

The Board of Trustees approved the following three key recommendations of the final report:

1. Reduce the carbon footprint of the PEF and PIF and sustain by the end of 2030 a public equity portfolio (and real assets and private equity where data are available) with 25% lower carbon emissions than the equities benchmark.

2. Allocate at least 15% of the PEF to a Queen’s Climate Action Allocation (QCAA) by the end of 2030, comprising investments across asset classes that are expected to outperform with the transition to a lower carbon economy. In taking this targeted allocation approach, the committee no longer recommends including the previously planned donor direction program.

3. Queen's should become a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

In 2019, the Board of Trustees struck the Climate Change Action Task Force (CCATF) to develop strategic recommendations for managing Queen's investments in alignment with sustainable development goals. 

Queen’s will engage the Institute for Sustainable Finance to:

  • survey existing and potentially research other appropriate measures of exposure to carbon emissions embedded in its portfolios, recognizing that such measures may vary across sectors and through time;
  • determine the most appropriate measures for Queen’s portfolios;
  • report on such measures in its portfolios; and
  • set reasonable objectives to reduce the portfolios' carbon intensity, recognizing the Board of Trustees’ fiduciary obligations.

Queen’s will:

  • explore investments that will outperform with the transition to a lower carbon economy;
  • allocate capital from its endowment to such investments, consistent with the Board of Trustees’ fiduciary obligations; and
  • allow donors to allocate capital directly to such investments, within the endowment, increasing the overall investment in the transition theme, with all endowment units receiving the same payout.

In addition to existing disclosures, Queen’s will:

  • provide a new Responsible Investing tab within the Investment Services webpage;
  • provide links to all publicly available investment manager ESG information, including UNPRI reports;
  • amend the current manager ESG questionnaire and make future ESG annual reports publicly available on the website; and
  • provide information on all renewable energy or other sustainable investments.

 Climate Change Action Task Force
Final Recommendations, February 2020
(PDF, 141 KB)