Canadian Investment Review

Caisse investing in electric scooters, Norway’s largest pension fund divesting from Canadian oil sands

Written by Benefits Canada Staff on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 at 8:21 am

Electric scooter stands on a bridge in the street. © Volodymyr Bondariev /123RF Stock PhotosThe Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is making a US$50 million equity investment in San Francisco-based electric scooter share firm Bird Rides Inc.

The organization operates electric scooters in more than 100 cities around the world. It’s currently expanding into Canada, with launches in Calgary and Edmonton earlier this year. And it undertook a 10-day pilot in Toronto’s Distillery District in early September.

In a press release, the Caisse said the investment falls within its strategy of investing in disruptive technology sectors. “This new partnership also supports our commitment to take part in the transition toward a less carbon-intensive global economy,” said Jeffrey Smith, the Caisse’s senior managing director of digital investment strategy. “We look forward to continue building a business which provides micromobility solutions in cities around the world.”

In other environment-related investment news, Norway’s largest pension fund, Kommunal Landspensjonskasse, is divesting its holdings in five oil sands companies, four of which were Canadian.

KLP’s stake in Canadian firms Cenovus Energy Inc., Husky Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc. and Russian company Tatneft PAO was a combined US$58 million, with US$33 million in equity and US$25 million in bonds.

In addition to divesting from those companies, the fund said it’s fully divesting from the oil sands by excluding companies that derive more than five per cent of their revenue from oil sands-based companies.

“This full exit from oil sands is great news for KLP’s customers as we continue to reduce our exposure to companies involved in an activity that is not aligned with a two-degree Celsius temperature target,” said Sverre Thornes, KLP chief executive officer, in a press release. “By excluding these companies, KLP continues to align its investments so that they contribute to a movement towards a low-emissions society.”

The announcement follows KLP’s May 2019 commitment to going coal-free. The fund sold about US$350 million in stocks and bonds in 46 coal companies, including BHP Group.

“By going coal- and oil-sands free, we are sending a strong message on the urgency of shifting from fossil to renewable energy,” Thornes said.

On a similar note, MP Pension, a Danish pension fund worth US$20 billion, announced in September that it planned to sell its stakes, worth a total of US$95 million, in the 10 largest oil companies globally. The fund no longer holds stakes in BP, Chevron Corp., ExxonMobil Corp., PetroChina Co. Ltd., PJSC Rosneft Oil Company, Royal Dutch Shell, Sinopec, Total S.A., Petrobras and Equinor ASA.

MP Pension said the firms hadn’t done enough work to meet the Paris Accord climate goals.

This article originally appeared on CIR’s companion site, in two parts. Read the full story on the Caisse here and read the full story on the KLP here

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