Women in finance | Montreal, leader in sustainable finance

When it comes to sustainable finance, Montréal is a leader. The Canadian metropolis leads the sector, and it will also host the North American office of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). Overview of a place where women shine.

Posted at 8:00 am

Emilie Laperriere

Emilie Laperriere
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What is the nature of sustainable finance?

Unlike its traditional counterpart, sustainable finance is more than just the financial aspect. “It takes into account environmental impacts, social dimensions and governance. It can also take into account territorial elements,” describes Geneviève Morin, President and CEO of Fondaction. “He was interested in the more global impact of money on the economy beyond simple performance”, sums up the latter. For Anne-Marie Hubert, managing partner for Quebec at EY, it was a profound financial transformation. “This is a major movement that began in 2002 when the UN summoned 25 institutional investors, including Caisse depot et placement du Québec, to ask them to invest their money in a way that can contribute to the goals of sustainable development. development of the United Nations. The group has not stopped growing since then. »


PHOTO OF ROBERT SKINNER, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Geneviève Morin, President and CEO of Fondaction

What are the different approaches?

There are various ways to ensure that responsible funds, known as ESG, are developed. “We can use filters to avoid investing in companies with poor performance in this regard,” Geneviève Morin emphasizes. We can also engage in shareholder engagement and hold companies accountable. “Then we take advantage of the fact that we own the shares to intervene,” explains the CEO of Fondaction. It is often used for carbon footprint disclosure or for women’s place on boards of directors. Another approach is to select the companies with the best environmental and social performance within a particular sector. For example, “instead of banning oil companies, we choose the most renewable energy makers,” Geneviève Morin said.


PHOTO IVANOH DEMERS, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Anne-Marie Hubert, Managing Partner for Quebec in EY

What is its significance?

In recent years, we have witnessed strong growth in responsible funds. “Sustainable finance is gaining momentum,” remarks Anne-Marie Hubert. According to Bloomberg data, US $ 1.6 trillion of ESG-aligned bonds were issued in 2021. ESG funds also attracted approximately US $ 600 billion last year, and their assets grew 53% to reach of 2700 billion US.

Why is Montreal so special?

For Anne-Marie Hubert, sustainable finances are part of Montreal’s DNA. “The Caisse de dépôt has been involved in the movement since the earliest hours. The Desjardins have had social values ​​and put money into community service since it started. Same thing for the Fondaction. We have very special role models in Montreal, with influence and made sure we developed skills like few other places in the world.Having a large scientific community also helps the metropolitan city stand. ”This is good news for Montreal, he believes Natalie St-Pierre, President of SDG Capital Corporation. This has been going on for many years and there are efforts in this direction. »


PHOTO FROM UQAM WEBSITE

Natalie St-Pierre, President of SDG Capital Corporation

What explains why there are so many women there?

Sustainable finance is a “pioneer zone” for women, according to Natalie St-Pierre. “Women see the consequences of climate change up close, especially in Africa. They are also traditionally more inclined to care for others, think community. Anne-Marie Hubert, for her part, sees no yet made opportunity to marry accounting and social values.If women first invested in it, the sector now shows more equality. “The concerns brought up by women have allowed many men to take an interest in them, “says Geneviève Morin. It is now quite well distributed.»

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