Montreal joins the C40 Accelerator network for fossil fuel disengagement

07 May 2024


Go back to NewsMontreal joins the C40 Accelerator network for fossil fuel disengagementJuan Pablo Barrientes / C40

Against a backdrop of climate urgency, Montreal is strengthening its leadership as an international hub for sustainable finance, where climate and financial solutions are aligned. As Vice-President of the C40, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante today joined the C40 Network Accelerator at the Climate Summit, to encourage disengagement from fossil fuels and investment in a sustainable future.

In concrete terms, the City of Montreal is starting a strategic collaboration with the Caisse Commune des régimes de retraite des employés municipaux, to repatriate to Montreal almost all the management of its investments, valued at $10 billion. Currently, only 23% of these assets are managed locally. In keeping with the Caisse's independence, the ultimate aim of this approach is to divest from fossil fuels, thereby promoting a green, local economy. In addition to benefiting Montreal's entire financial ecosystem, this initiative will strengthen the Caisse's ability to manage climate and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

“By joining the C40 Network Accelerator, we are mobilizing public and financial players towards the sustainable and resilient economy we all need. Our collaboration with the Caisse commune will not only benefit Montreal's entire financial ecosystem, it will also enable us to begin divesting from fossil fuels. It's courageous, but it's also necessary. This commitment is a concrete first step and sends a strong signal to other cities, governments and public pension funds to strengthen the green economy,” declared Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.

“This initiative demonstrates our commitment to combining economic performance with environmental responsibility. In the age of climate change, these two elements are inseparable; we can't talk about finance without talking about ecological transition, and the reverse is equally true. This move towards the decarbonization of Caisse Commune Montréal's investments is in addition to the major gestures our administration has made recently, with the first climate budget in 2024 and our investment target for adaptation to climate change, which represents 10% to 15% of our ten-year capital expenditure program (PDI)", said Luc Rabouin, President of the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal and responsible for finance and economic development.

“This collaboration illustrates our shared commitment to financial management that respects and promotes the principles of sustainability, while strengthening our operational autonomy. I am convinced that municipal pension funds have a vital role to play in promoting responsible and sustainable financial practices. The benefits of our collaboration are manifold: it will increase access to investment resources and opportunities, reduce the costs associated with managing pension funds, and strengthen governance to ensure the long-term interests of beneficiaries and active members. Doing it here, in Montreal, at lower cost and with the flexibility we need to achieve our objectives,” added Richard Audet, President of Caisse Commune.

Mark Watt, President of the C40 network, warmly welcomed the initiative, saying: “I congratulate Mayor Plante on her bold and innovative collaboration with the City's pension fund to redirect investments towards a safer, more sustainable future for all, rather than an increasingly risky fossil fuel sector and industries that perpetuate our dependence on fossil fuels. As in so many other areas, Mayor Plante is once again showing what climate leadership looks like. Montreal joins other pioneering C40 cities that are using every tool at their disposal to ensure that funding goes to the green economy and away from industries that pollute our planet and harm our communities.”

“What a great example of collaboration to accelerate the realization of projects that promise better risk-adjusted returns. The C40 Network Accelerator will enable Montreal's sustainable finance players to share their best ideas, and take advantage of the best ideas from elsewhere to implement them here at home. The Caisse Commune, for its part, is firmly committed to supporting the transition to more resilient and sustainable business models, and will benefit from the talent, creativity and leadership of players in the Montreal financial marketplace to develop innovative financial models to support sustainable growth projects,” said Anne-Marie Hubert, Co-Chair of the Climate 2024 Summit and Senior Partner at EY.

“ Montreal is resolutely positioning itself as a leader in sustainable finance on the North American scene. The City of Montreal's involvement in the C40 Network Accelerator is a testament to finance's ability to act as a catalyst for positive change by strategically mobilizing institutional assets. By bringing together expertise from Montreal and elsewhere, we're not only improving our local practices, we're establishing a model that the rest of the world can follow to align financial strategy with long-term environmental objectives,” concluded Jacques Deforges, General Manager of Finance Montréal.

The City of Montreal and the Caisse Commune hope that this initiative will inspire other entities to follow suit, thereby contributing to a more sustainable future for all.