Groups urge PM to stop coal bid by CPP!

Nov 2nd, 2017 10:15 AM

Canada’s climate leadership claim undermined by coal bid by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

November 2, 2017 (Ottawa, Canada) - More than 20 Canadian and international organizations are concerned that the actions of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are undermining Canada’s leadership for a global phase-out of coal-fired electricity. In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, the groups have called on Mr. Trudeau to intervene to stop the CPPIB bid for Rio Tinto coal assets in Australia. The groups want the CPPIB to respect Canadian climate change policy in a manner consistent with their adoption of Canadian policy on landmines and human rights.

“Why is the CPPIB ignoring government policy and undermining Canada’s diplomatic efforts to lead a global phase-out of coal?” asked John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada.

The groups' letter to the PM was prompted by reports that CPP is bidding to buy the coal assets of the global mining company, Rio Tinto. The news came to light on the same day Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced an alliance with the UK government to lead the push for a coal phase-out at the climate to talks in Bonn next month.

On October 12, the New York Times revealed the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is bidding on the coal assets of Rio Tinto. The deal is expected to cost the CPPIB $2 billion. This isn’t an isolated case - the CPPIB has invested billions in more than 30 coal companies including Duke Energy, which has been fined millions for pollution.

“Canada needs clean hands if it is going to convince other countries to phase-out coal but, Canada won't have clean hands if the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board continues buying coal mines,” said Mr. Bennett.

The CPPIB is a professional investment management organization that invests the funds not needed by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to pay current benefits on behalf of 19 million contributors and beneficiaries; they control a $320 billion fund with approximately $5 billion annually to invest after benefits are paid out.

“The CPPIB is managing public funds collected from Canadian workers and employers,” said Mr. Bennett. “Its actions reflect on the government of Canada,” said Mr. Bennett.

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For More Information Contact: John Bennett - 613 291 6888 - johnbennett@foecanada.org