Knowledge Hub

Caring for Climate – Putting a Price on Carbon
About this Webinar

Carbon Pricing is the method favoured by many economists and companies to reduce CO2 emissions. This momentum was featured during the webinar organized by Global Compact Network Canada on October 7, 2015. The webinar outlined the champions in carbon pricing, and the benefits and challenges that these industry leaders are experiencing. Global Compact Network Canada had the pleasure to invite four experts to speak at the session on topics including the Business Leadership Criteria, investor perspectives, and leadership in the Canadian landscape.


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    Lila Karbassi – Head of Environment and Climate Change, UNGC
    Eliot Metzger – Senior Associate, WRI Business Center
    Paul Chandler – Investor Engagements Manager, Environmental Issues, UNPRI
    Jamie Bonham – Manager, Extractives Research & Engagement, NEI Investments
    Caring for Climate

    Lila Karbassi started by introducing the UN Global Compact Caring for Climate Initiative and its three criteria for business leadership:

    • Set an internal carbon price high enough to affect materially investment decisions
    • Publicly advocate the importance of carbon pricing through policy mechanisms
    • Communicate on progress

    Lila also introduced some reports released in the last months on the subject, including one by the World Bank – Carbon pricing watch 2015. As a lead-up to COP21/CMP11 forum this year, Lila stated that from the recently released agenda of the conference, it seems that there would be no expected provisions on carbon pricing. However, outside of the text agreement, the INDC (Intended National Determined Contributions) do mention carbon pricing, and individual countries’ efforts to reduce emissions would affect the final agreement at COP21. To learn more about the INDC, COP21 agenda and Caring for Climate, please click on the links provided.

    Executive Guide to Carbon Pricing Leadership

    Eliot Metzger presented a guide written by executives for executives on Carbon Pricing Leadership. The guide was put together through 15+ interviews and 90+ surveys and is taking advantage of this momentum on carbon pricing to research and understand executive challenges to lead the initiative.

    From the study, Eliot noticed 3 main takeaways – the different perceptions of carbon pricing between government and businesses; the most common benefits and challenges faced by executives; and lastly, different interests among different industries when implementing carbon pricing tactics into sustainability strategies. According to Eliot, energy-intensive companies are very interested in the methodology and innovative technologies to ascertain the best way to count carbon. On the other side, non-energy intensive companies are more interested in costs and ROI.

    Eliot ended his presentation with a call for input – please share your experiences, take part in the online discussion, and download the guide here – Executive Guide to Carbon Pricing Leadership.

    Carbon Pricing – the Investors’ Perspective

    Paul Chandler started his presentation by showing the link between investors and carbon pricing. Paul mentioned that because of long-term investments, investors do care about risks in the long-term and this includes environmental risks. Therefore, the first link is risk reduction. The second link is flexibility – carbon pricing is a flexible mechanism that reduces emissions most efficiently and could be incorporated into a broader sustainability strategy. Lastly, the demand to count carbon more efficiently translates into new innovations and investment opportunities.

    The presentation also mentioned that the investors’ view is indeed aligned with the business leadership criteria imposed by the Caring for Climate initiative. For more information visit Investors On Climate Change.

    For more information on the Principles for Responsible Investment, please visit its website.

    Carbon Pricing Engagement in Canada

    Jamie Bonham is the Manager for Extractives Research & Engagement at NEI Investments, a Canadian investment management company owned by Desjardins and Credit Union Centrals of Canada, which is Canada’s oldest and largest SRI funds family.

    Jamie introduced NEI to the attendees along with the company’s initiatives in support of the Business Leadership Criteria. The company has two parallel tracks – engaging companies to adopt/ disclose internal carbon pricing systems, and engaging government to enact carbon pricing.

    Regarding carbon pricing engagement among Canadian companies, Jamie mentioned that the initial focus was on oil & gas companies. The initial challenge back in 2007 with these companies was that transparency on the proxy price of carbon used was hard to achieve. Currently, the challenges relate to the impacts and outcomes of scenario planning. Additionally, the initiative is now shifting focus to demand-side industries, such as retail (e.g. supply chains).

    In the lead-up to COP21 in December, the webinar panelists attempted to mobilize executives to seek out influential colleagues within the company to form cross-functional groups that can drive change within the company. As one of the presenters said, “every company works differently, and hence, executives need to be creative with carbon pricing; they need to make it work and fit their company, shape it in the way that makes more sense, and align it with their sustainability strategies.”

    To learn about how you can participate in mobilizing action against climate change and integrate sustainability to your business strategy, please visit Global Compact Network Canada.