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Concordia University Foundation to divest and aim for 100% sustainable investments by 2025

Moving away from coal, oil and gas, the foundation commits to doubling its social and environmental impact investments
November 8, 2019
Graham Carr: “Promoting sustainability and fighting climate change are priorities for the Concordia community.”
Graham Carr: “Promoting sustainability and fighting climate change are priorities for the Concordia community.”

The Concordia University Foundation has committed to end investments in the coal, oil and gas sectors within five years. Going one step further, it is the first university foundation in Quebec to set a target of 100 per cent sustainable investments by 2025. This move will include doubling its social or environmental impact investment.

“We believe that being socially and environmentally responsible in our investments is the surest way to be Concordia’s best possible fund management partner,” says Howard Davidson, chair of the board of the foundation.

“Investing in sustainability is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. The foundation has already been working in that direction and this is a last push toward 100 per cent sustainable investments.”

The foundation, which acts as Concordia’s primary investment arm, has since 2014 succeeded in reducing the exposure of its investments to coal, oil and gas to just $14 million of its $243 million in assets — or 5.7 per cent.

‘Crucial next steps in our sustainability journey’

Its work over recent years and these latest commitments are in line with Concordia’s long-standing efforts to promote core values of environmental responsibility, social responsibility and sustainability. This September, Concordia signed a declaration with nine other Quebec universities committing to more sustainability education and research and carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest.

“Promoting sustainability and fighting climate change are priorities for the Concordia community,” says Graham Carr, interim president and vice-chancellor.

“Our researchers, students, faculty and staff are all engaged around this issue and want to be part of the solution. The foundation’s commitments are crucial next steps in our sustainability journey.”

The Concordia University Foundation has been a leader in green investment since 2014, when it created a sustainable investment fund, making Concordia the first university in Canada to start divesting from coal, oil and gas.

In 2016, the foundation established a joint sustainable investment advisory committee — which includes student and faculty representatives — to make recommendations on socially and environmentally responsible investment opportunities.

It became a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment in 2018. That same year, it implemented a new responsible investment policy that integrates environmental, social and corporate governance aspects into decision-making. It also includes an impact investment policy — which focuses on factors such as education, community development and affordable housing, among others.

Cleantech partnership

The foundation is now doubling the target of its impact investment from five to 10 per cent of its long-term pool allocation dedicated toward investments made into companies, organizations and funds that generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return by 2025.

An example of such impact investment is the partnership it signed this year with Inerjys Ventures, a global investment firm committed to accelerating the adoption of cleantech. This partnership also involves Concordia students and researchers exchanging with the portfolio of green companies.

Find out more about the Concordia University Foundation.

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