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The firm is investing $1.4 billion to install two cogeneration units, which simultaneously produce heat and energy, at its plant near Fort McMurray, Alta. The units, which Suncor plans to be up and running in 2023, will also reduce operating costs and nearly double how much power the plant transmits to Alberta’s energy grid. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The firm, Canada’s second-largest oilsands producer, said replacing its coke-fired boilers with cogeneration units will reduce overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the province by 2.5 megatonnes per year. That’s a modest portion of Canada’s overall GHG production—Canada produced 716 megatonnes in 2017—but significant for a single producer, given that the oil sands account for about 10 per cent of the country’s emissions. The use of cogeneration technology in Alberta has steadily increased over the past 15 years, and is already being used by other large producers, including Cenovus Energy and MEG Energy. The move comes as energy companies face increased pressure from investors, regulators and consumers to clean up their operations. In June, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, whose investments in Canada total US$28 billion, divested from firms that do oil and gas exploration and production unless they have renewable energy operations, like Suncor does. And, also in June the government released its first-ever report on sustainable finance, which included recommendations for oil and gas companies to focus on low-emissions infrastructure.

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The Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation will be built in St. Peters Bay, giving researchers at the 45,000-square-foot facility access to wetlands, forests and coastal habitats in the area. The federal and provincial governments are contributing a combined $9.7 million, the University of Prince Edward Island will provide $4.8 million and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is contributing $4 million. Research from the centre is meant to inform new green technologies, although the government did not say what exactly the facility would be studying or provide details of its R&D plans. (Canadian Press)

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Talking point: While the centre has been in the works for three years, its mandate fits with recent recommendations from Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance. In its final report published in June, the group urged regulators to require companies to follow global standards for reporting their businesses’ impact on the climate, and the climate’s impact on their bottom lines. But the panel said complying with those standards is difficult because of a lack of consistent information on climate change and how it impacts the economy. As a solution, it suggested setting up a climate research centre to tackle some of the same problems the new PEI centre may now address.

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The four-person panel is asking the federal government to create a “super tax” incentive that gives Canadians a rebate for making investments in companies or products that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Among the report’s 15 recommendations, the panel is asking regulators to ensure companies comply with global standards for reporting their businesses’ impact on the climate and the climate’s impact on their bottom line; if they don’t, they need to explain why those standards aren’t relevant to their business. The federal government, which formed the panel, did not say whether it would follow the recommendations. “We look forward to working with the finance community and all Canadians to help position us as a global low-carbon leader,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The recommendations would help Canada catch up to G20 countries that have made more progress on the sustainable-finance file, particularly in the European Union, which is seeking to pass laws on environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure. While voluntary guidelines around ESG disclosure have been outwardly embraced, early reports show they aren’t always followed, even by proponents, as The Logic reported on Thursday. The Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) status update in June shows that only 25 per cent of companies that committed to the global guidelines complied with five or more of its 11 recommended disclosures. The Canadian expert panel’s recommendations, if passed, would make it mandatory to follow the TCFD and help companies navigate how to do it. That piece is essential in verifying whether the green investments Canadians make would be eligible for the super tax.

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An analysis of 215 of the world’s 500 biggest companies found that climate change could cost their businesses about US$1 trillion in the next decade if the companies do not take steps to mitigate the risks, according to a report from CDP, a non-profit that helps companies publicly disclose the risks and opportunities climate change poses to their businesses. The majority of companies said they expect to start feeling the impacts within the next five years. (New York Times)

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Talking point: There are two primary ways climate change might impact businesses: extreme weather—including droughts, floods and heatwaves—could directly interfere with operations, and public and political pressure could dissuade consumers from doing business with certain companies. Both factors are driving a global push for companies to track their environmental—as well as social—impacts and disclose their records to the public: more than 7,000 companies worldwide reported to CDP in 2018. Canada is anticipating the final report from the expert panel on sustainable finance to land sometime this month; stakeholders are expecting the report to recommend companies and investors disclose their climate record, if they don’t already.

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The funding will go to a group of organizations and funders that will invest the money in companies that meet specific feminist principles, such as pay equity and women’s representation on boards. Participants include women’s rights organization Match International, as well as Oxfam Canada and RBC. The consortium has raised $100 million on top of the government’s contribution; it aims to raise $1 billion total and spend the funds over the next 15 years. (Toronto Star)

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Talking point: The move comes ahead of the final report from the expert panel on sustainable finance, which is expected to offer Ottawa and industry recommendations on environmental, social and governance investing. The Equality Fund has a two-part mandate: first, the fund will invest in organizations that adhere to its feminist principles; then, it will take those returns and distribute grants to activist groups in Canada and globally, with the goal of “disrupting the charity model,” said Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef. The structure of the fund is designed to be election-proof. Whether or not the Liberals win in October, it’ll be difficult for any future government to claw back investments once the deals are inked with groups like RBC.

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The risks include insuring against damages to infrastructure caused by extreme-weather events, and the cost of shifting to a low-carbon economy. This is the first time the central bank has included climate change among its list of vulnerabilities to the financial system in its annual financial health report card. Alongside household debt and the housing market, cyber attacks were named as a significant threat. (Canadian Press)

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Talking point: This isn’t the first time the central bank has raised concerns around climate risk. In March, it joined a network of central banks that study climate change’s impact on financial systems and develop risk-management policies to deal with it. The federal government is starting to consider the issue, too. The 2019 federal budget included recommendations that companies disclose their carbon footprints and, later this spring, Ottawa’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance is expected to deliver its final report to the finance and environment ministers.

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The central bank will research climate-related risks to Canada’s economy and financial system. The BoC has also joined the Central Banks’ and Supervisors’ Network for Greening the Financial System, an international association of central banks that studies finance for sustainability and environmental projects and produces risk management policies for dealing with climate and environmental issues. (National Observer)

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Talking point: Investors pay attention to the BoC’s warnings about vulnerabilities in the financial system and economy, so more may start to consider climate-related risks following this change. And, while the bank operates mostly independently of the government, Ottawa is increasingly focused on accounting for such risks, including through an Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance set up to advise the environment and finance ministers. The group’s interim report, released in October 2018, said Canada needs better climate data and financial analysis based on that information, as well as regular disclosures from companies about the climate-related financial risks they face. And, the panel shares some people with the BoC—former senior deputy governor Tiff Macklem is the chair, while its creation was inspired by a taskforce established by former governor Mark Carney, now governor of the Bank of England.

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The streaming giant’s most popular plan will increase by 18 per cent, from US$11 per month to US$13. Its basic plan will increase by 13 per cent, from US$8 per month to US$9. This is the fourth time Netflix has raised its prices in the U.S.—the last was in late 2017—but it’s the first time increases will hit all 58 million of its U.S. users. It is not currently raising prices for Canadian users. (Associated Press)

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Talking point: While the increases help Netflix become sustainable, the company built up its massive consumer base partially through its original low-cost plans. By continuing to increase prices, the platform risks losing its customers and alienating new users. Its premium, ultra-HD plan now costs US$16 per month, while the once-pricier HBO Now is US$14.99 per month. Netflix has spent aggressively—up to US$8 billion in 2018—on original content and programming to distinguish itself from competitors like Amazon and Disney. The extra funds will be used to help finance the heavy debt the platform has amassed. Investors seemed to like the move—as of publication time, Netflix stocks were up 6.5 per cent.