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290+ Business Leaders and 200+ Organizations, Led by Canada’s Clean50, Call Upon Federal Government to Move Forward with a Clean Investment Taxonomy - Environmental Communication Options/Huff Strategy

290+ Business Leaders and 200+ Organizations, Led by Canada’s Clean50, Call Upon Federal Government to Move Forward with a Clean Investment Taxonomy

Apr 22nd, 2024 10:55 PM

For Immediate Release

(April 22, 2024 - Toronto, Canada) - Disturbed by the Government’s failure to act on the recommendations of the Government-appointed Sustainable Finance Action Council (SFAC) in their 2022 Taxonomy Roadmap Report, 290 + Canadian business leaders from across the spectrum are today urging Ministers Freeland, Wilkinson and Guilbeault to urgently engage with industry, and define what will – or won’t – be considered an investment that qualifies as “clean” or sustainable, and implement the resulting taxonomy before the next election.

Over 230 past winners of Canada’s Clean50 awards, and another 60+ leaders and executives have signed an open letter, released today, and joined by over 200 diverse organizations that include major insurance companies, a bank, multiple pension funds, major investment firms and industry leaders, as well as numerous clean tech companies, venture capital firms, academics, industry experts and even federal and municipal politicians such as recent federal cabinet minister Joyce Murray, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Senator Rosa Galvez, former Vancouver mayor Gregor Roberstson, former Edmonton mayor, Don iveson, and Toronto city councillor Dianne Saxe, all recipients of Clean50 awards.

Finance industry signers include the CEOs or senior executive spokespersons from National Bank, insurance giants Aviva and Cooperators, Intact Insurance and major investment firms Addenda Capital, ArcTern Ventures, Chrysalix Venture Capital, Cycle Capital Management, Genus Capital, IA Financial Group, Mackenzie Investments, NEI Investments, University Pension Plan, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), and numerous others. Combined, the signatories represent billions of dollars of capital presently invested in Canadian companies.

“All of the signatories agree that Canada needs to act now”, says Clean50 Executive Director Gavin Pitchford: ”Every other member of the G7, all of the European Union, and 40 other nations representing the vast majority of developed nations world-wide have established criteria for what constitutes, effectively, a ‘sustainable investment’ – and yet Canada has not. The government has been sitting on the recommendations for two years now. That is why the signatories have come forward today; to push the government to act quickly”.

Member of the SFAC, and taxonomy expert Barbara Zvan, also President and CEO of the University Pension Plan, agrees, adding “The lack of a taxonomy mean investors are in the dark – and foreign investors are taking capital elsewhere, where such criteria are already established – leaving Canadian firms – especially emerging clean tech firms - at a disadvantage in raising capital”, she says.

Roger Beauchemin, President and CEO, Addenda Capital presses the point home, highlighting the need to act now: “This is no longer a pressing issue; it is now critical. Once a Canadian Taxonomy is greenlighted, it will immediately serve a dual purpose: enabling us to assess whether investments align with green and transition strategies and meet clients’ expectations, and allowing issuers to secure capital based on transparent science-based criteria. This will help firms to implement their transition plans and decarbonize their businesses. The capital and will are available. We are only missing the credible guidance to act at scale.”

The work of the SFAC is well advanced, has undergone considerable consultation garnering the support of the top 25 financial institutions in Canada, and there are a lot of recommendations already in front of the Ministers. The group is urging the Government to put the funding and process in place to further consult with stakeholders before finalizing the taxonomy, so that it reflects emerging standards world- wide – while pointing out that waiting any longer before doing so, especially with an election looming, is simply not acceptable.

The letter and signatories are below. 

For further information please contact:

About the Clean50:

The Canada’s Clean50 Awards program was established in 2011 to identify, recognize and connect sustainability leaders from across Canada, drawn from every field of endeavor. The group recognizes 100 honourees each fall: 50 individual leadership awards from 16 categories, 20 Emerging Leader awards, 5 Lifetime Achievement awards and up to 25 sustainability project awards. Winners meet in Toronto and participate with past winners in a full day Clean50 Summit each fall, looking for opportunities to share best practices and collaborate on meaningful climate action. Nominations are accepted between Earth Day (April 22) and Canada Day (July 1st) each year, with the next honourees to be announced on October 10th, 2024.

The group has previously put forward suggestions for policy action intended to advance Canada’s clean economy and greater prosperity.


Letter and signatures online here: https://clean50.com/open-letter-clean-taxonomy/

Toronto, ON, Canada

April 22, 2024

Dear Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, Minister Guilbeault and Minister Wilkinson:

On behalf of all Canadians, you and your Cabinet colleagues declared a national climate emergency in 2019, recognizing the immediate threat of climate change to our economy, environment, health and collective future.

We, the following Honourees of Canada’s Clean50 Award (and our organizations, when shown), are writing to ask you to urgently move forward with a Canadian Sustainable Finance Taxonomy that aligns with keeping warming to below 1.5C. The framework for a Canadian taxonomy and associated governance is the product of work started in 2019 by Canada’s finance experts and culminating in 2023 with a series of recommendations endorsed by over 25 of Canada’s largest financial entities.

Our delay in acting on these recommendations is already holding Canadian companies back from taking urgently needed climate action and is putting our emerging clean tech and transitioning carbon-intensive sectors at increasing competitive disadvantage.

A Canadian Taxonomy will serve as “sustainable investment guidelines,” providing investors, bankers and others with a valuable tool to target capital more confidently to projects that address the climate emergency. It will also enable Canada’s emerging and established clean tech industries to raise the capital they need to grow and successfully compete in international markets. A Taxonomy will help operating firms to attract investments needed to accelerate their transition to a zero-carbon business model at a faster pace.

We know that transitioning to a net-zero economy by 2050 will require a substantial infusion of climate investment. In the 2022 Federal Budget, the climate investment gap was estimated to be as high as $115B annually. As concluded and recommended by the Government appointed Sustainable Finance Action Council (SFAC) in their 2022 Taxonomy Roadmap Report, we believe that that sustainable investment guidelines offered by a Canadian Taxonomy will help investors to confidently channel capital into green and transition projects, helping to close this gap.

We are concerned that Canada has become an outlier amongst its G-7 peers and most of our other trading partners, and is falling further behind with every passing day.

We know that guidelines and taxonomies similar to those proposed by the SFAC have already been widely adopted by many countries including the EU, UK, Japan, China, Singapore, Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN countries) and resource-based economies including Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and South Africa. We are also aware of twelve jurisdictions that are reaching beyond climate to incorporate nature-related environmental objectives in their taxonomies for a truly sustainable future.
We also note that leading global organizations and others, including the G20, OECD, International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, International Platform on Sustainable Finance and Network for Greening the Financial System have all highlighted the potential for taxonomies to be important sustainable finance tools.

We believe that a Canadian Taxonomy has the potential to lead to positive outcomes for all segments of society, for nature and the economy at large.

A Canadian Taxonomy can make Canada a more attractive global investment destination, accelerating much needed transition finance and facilitating the deployment of new climate innovations. A Taxonomy will also help companies finance their transition plans and decarbonize operations at a faster pace, helping them to reduce their carbon footprints and remain competitive in an international trading market.

Lastly, a Taxonomy will help combat greenwashing and support our collective desire for enhanced transparency in corporate disclosures, ensuring that capital is allocated in ways that align with net-zero pathways. We are also encouraged by the opportunities posed by a Taxonomy to support the just transition and nature-based investments by targeting activities that bring greater benefits than harm to the environment and society.

Given the urgency of the climate crisis and our collective desire to meet our net-zero commitments by 2050 or sooner, we encourage you to immediately green-light Sustainable Finance Taxonomy for Canada as outlined in the SFAC’s Roadmap Report, and approve the governance structure and funding needed to consult, complete and deploy a Canadian Taxonomy.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to climate action. Sincerely,

The following members of Canada’s Clean50 (in mostly alphabetical order) and, where shown, their organizations:


And the following individual members of the Clean50:

The undersigned (and their organizations, as and when shown) endorse the Clean50 call for urgent adoption of a sustainable investment taxonomy




Andrew Bevan, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Joanna Dafoe, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Kyle Harrietha, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Minister of Natural Resources

Chris Forbes, Deput Minister, Department of Finance

JF Tremblay, Deputy Minister, Environment and Climate Change Canada Michael Vandergrift, Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada