A letter from our CIO

The world is changing and so is our role as an investor. Charged with the stewardship of our members’ retirement futures, it is a role we take to heart. Thinking long into the future we seek out the highest quality assets around the globe - those responsible, sustainable businesses and services that think about, and are built for the future.

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and we see the world transitioning to a lower-carbon economy. The pace and scope of this transition will largely be determined by governments and communities, as well as by innovation and technology. As investors, we play a role in supporting accelerators of this change and are partnering with our portfolio to find opportunities to evolve business practices and grow sustainably.

Across OMERS we have made a commitment to becoming a leader in Sustainable Investing. We made that same pledge within our Oxford Properties portfolio several years ago and are now the gold standard amongst real estate peers worldwide ranking #1 in North America in the office/retail sector by GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) for six of the last seven years. Oxford is also building Canada’s first two zero-carbon office towers and has committed to make a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from its global property portfolio by 2025. With this blueprint in hand, we are actively working across our portfolio, ensuring that the values we believe in are integrated into every aspect of our investment approach. And we’re on our way, anchored by a strategy that will see us grow our investments in clean energy, beyond our more than $3B in the sector currently.

OMERS is involved in a number of institutional investor collaboration efforts focused on ESG and climate change issues. We believe that by collaborating with both our portfolio as well as other institutional investors, governments and regulators, we can have a greater influence and impact. As signatories to The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), we believe that more transparent disclosure of climate risks will assist us in continuing to make thoughtful decisions as our portfolio shifts and grows. Over time, climate change-related financial disclosure practices and metrics will evolve to provide a better understanding of the long-term impact of climate change on our investments and on our ability to deliver the returns required to meet our pension promise to members.

Finally, leadership in sustainable investing requires a nimble mindset to adapt to emerging issues. We continually advance our capabilities and practices to deepen our knowledge of Sustainable Investing and come to work every day ready to act in the best interest of our members.

Satish Rai, Chief Investment Officer, OMERS