The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is one of the world’s largest public pension funds, with $409.5 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2020. The mandate of the CPP Investment Board (CPPIB) is to manage the funds of the CPP in the best interests of Canadian Pension Plan contributors and beneficiaries, and to maximize investment returns without undue risk of loss. As CPP Investments CEO and President Mark Machin has recently observed, “our investment mandate and professional governance insulate our decision-making from short term distortions and gives us license to help shape the long-term future.” (In 2020, CPPIB rebranded itself CPP Investments. Since CPPIB is the legal entity with the statutory authority to manage CPP assets, and since many of the quotes in this report or actions being described were taken prior to the rebranding, we will continue to use the term CPPIB in those quotes and in discussing those actions. We will use the term CPP Investments if we are specifically quoting from the 2020 Annual Report, where CPPIB uses the term CPP Investments, or if we are specifically referring to actions taken in 2020. Both “CPPIB” and “CPP Investments” refer to the asset management entity that has the statutory authority to invest CPP assets under the CPP Investment Board Act.)
Our view is that CPP Investments should be, and could be, making a substantial contribution to Canada’s future economy by supporting new technologies, new companies, and the just transition to a low-carbon economy. We argue that doing so would be more consistent with its statutory mandate to manage the assets of the CPP Fund in the best interests of the twenty million Canadian contributors and beneficiaries than is its current approach. It would also be more consistent with its common-law fiduciary duties, which require intergenerational equity. Thus, we urge CPP Investments to fundamentally re-evaluate its role in Canada in order to make that contribution.
Williams, Cynthia, "‘Troubling Incrementalism’: Is the Canadian Pension Plan Fund Doing Enough to Advance the Transition to a Low-carbon Economy?" (2020). Canada Climate Law Initiative. 7.