NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ - Hugh O'Reilly, President and CEO of OPTrust, one of Canada's largest defined benefit pension plans, delivered a call for action to investors in a keynote address during a Climate Week NYC seminar today. The seminar, Accelerating the Path to Climate Action, was organized by MSCI in partnership with the UN supported Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI).
"Whether we take action or not, climate change is already having profound impacts, and markets are responding accordingly," said O'Reilly. "Integrating climate risk is not only necessary, but it is in the best interests of all our Plan members, both today and over the long term."
During his address, O'Reilly detailed the steps OPTrust has taken on its journey to climate action, including the release of a Climate Change Action Plan in June. The plan contains eight areas for action, including building climate risk into OPTrust's investment approach and pushing for increased disclosure of climate change-related information from portfolio companies. In 2017, OPTrust also became one of the first pension plans to report in accordance with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
"Measurement matters," said O'Reilly. "Accurately pricing risk in a world without commitments to proper climate-related disclosure from corporations is almost an impossible task. We are focused on developing and using measures and tools that accurately support pricing climate change-related risk. This is a quick, reliable way to set the stage for action and start gathering the critical data that we need for proper benchmarking and targets."
With net assets of over $20 billion, OPTrust invests and manages one of Canada's largest pension funds and administers the OPSEU Pension Plan, a defined benefit plan with over 92,000 members and retirees. OPTrust was established to give plan members and the Government of Ontario an equal voice in the administration of the Plan and the investment of its assets through joint trusteeship. OPTrust is governed by a 10-member Board of Trustees, five of whom are appointed by OPSEU and five by the Government of Ontario.