Responsible investing is a priority for the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers'), Canada's largest single-profession pension plan. The organization invests the pension fund's assets of CAD$171.4-billion and administers the pensions of 316,000 active and retired teachers.
When considering investment risks and opportunities, Ontario Teachers' considers a broad range of financial and non-financial factors, including risks associated with environmental, social and governance issues.
The pension fund's responsible approach to investments is illustrated by its ownership of Cadillac Fairview and GCT Canada, both of which are 2017 Clean50 project honourees.
For its part, Cadillac Fairview's Toronto-Dominion Centre (TDC) – one of the largest LEED Platinum-certified office complexes in North America – is a 2017 Clean50 Top 15 Projects winner.
"We have long recognized that superior sustainability performance is important to many businesses and that our commitment to bringing the highest environmental standards to our office complex helps us attract and retain the best tenants," says David Hoffman, Cadillac Fairview general manager at the TDC.
The six buildings in the complex are all certified to the LEED Platinum standard. To achieve this high performance standard, over the last five years TDC invested $200-million into various capital upgrades such as building interiors, building exterior, and mechanical and electrical systems. Among the results: a 30 per cent reduction in energy use, and an 80 per cent waste diversion rate. Overall, the complex reduced carbon emissions by 28 per cent or 7,500 tonnes of carbon.
TDC provides transparency into its environmental programs, performance outcomes and future plans through its annual Sustainability Report. In addition, it was one of the first commercial properties in Canada to implement a comprehensive occupant engagement program, through the creation of a Tenant Green Council.
Cadillac Fairview's Toronto-Dominion Centre (TDC) – one of the largest LEED Platinum-certified office complexes in North America. Supplied
"TDC is firmly committed to the belief that the highest performing buildings are achieved when decisions are made collectively, with our tenants, with a transparency that builds trust and encourages action," says Mr. Hoffman.
GCT Canada was also recognized as a 2017 Clean50 Top 15 Projects winner for decreasing emissions through innovative truck processing at its container terminal operations in the Port of Vancouver.
The company, which operates two container terminals in the port, provides service to more than 2,000 trucks every week day. It saw an opportunity to transform the truck component of its business, recognizing that road congestion and idling trucks lining up at its gates were affecting the environment, local communities and the economic viability of largely independent truck operators.
"We knew we had to take action. As a responsible marine terminal operator, we have a track record of protecting the environment and supporting economic growth in the communities in which we operate," says Kwang Chen, vice-president of terminal support services at GCT Canada.
To address this challenge, GCT Canada designed a business model that enhanced its truck reservation systems and added night gates. The systems and extension of operating hours enabled its terminals, GCT Vanterm and GCT Deltaport, to achieve an average truck turnaround time of 31 minutes – the fastest in North America – and to increase business through densification, while reducing negative environmental impacts.
While company volume increased by 13 per cent in 2015, carbon emissions decreased by 5 per cent – equivalent to a 20 per cent reduction in emissions per transaction. The results included creation of 377 jobs and more than $2-million in fuel cost savings for truck operators.
"The success of this initiative shows that reducing emissions and better protecting the environment can be compatible with economic growth," says Mr. Chen.
"We believe our approach to sustainable growth sets us apart. By investing in technology and new processes, we enhance operations and produce not only business benefits, but benefits to people and the planet."
This content was produced by Randall Anthony Communications, in partnership with The Globe and Mail's advertising department. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation