In a matter of a few years, it seemed nearly every company, government and investment firm in Canada made bold announcements to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
But behind the scenes, a dedicated group of change makers has been toiling for decades, convincing stakeholders that climate change—as well as social issues like human rights and diversity—have economic implications that can’t be ignored.
Canada’s sustainable finance leaders have played no small role in helping to mainstream the environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement—the idea that business and investing can have positive impacts on society and the environment, and that neglecting these issues will have dire economic consequences.
Now, after decades of promoting the concept to business leaders, regulators and politicians, the movement is at a crossroads. A politically motivated ESG backlash in the U.S. has prompted some firms to soften their social and environmental commitments, threatening progress south of the border.
While Canada has its own challenges—including the government’s slow implementation of changes stakeholders say are desperately needed—these leaders are steadfast in their mission to bolster sustainable finance and business.
Here’s a look at some of the key players shaping the industry.