OTTAWA/TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE —
Canada’s key financial regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) has released its Guideline B-15: Climate Risk Management. The guideline will require large banks and insurance companies to disclose the financial risk they face as the world faces the growing impacts of climate change and moves to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
Alan Andrews, Ecojustice climate program director, responded to the release of these guidelines, saying:
“Canada’s big banks and insurance companies will now have to reveal how dangerously exposed they are to the risks of climate change.
“But this guideline won’t tackle rampant greenwashing by Canada’s financial giants. It will allow them to continue to claim to be acting on climate while investing in the fossil fuels that are fueling climate collapse.
“We need to see immediate action from the federal government to align the financial system with its climate goals, or this will undermine Canada’s entire climate policy.
“After a year of silence on sustainable finance from the responsible ministry, the Prime Minister needs to step in now to require financial institutions to prepare credible climate plans that are consistent with Canada’s climate goals and allow the public, investors, and regulators like OSFI to hold them to account.
“OSFI needs to be tasked with reviewing and rejecting climate plans where they don’t chart a credible path to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“The International Energy Agency has warned that if we are realistically going to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement — to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius — then there must be no new fossil fuel developments.
“But Canada’s big banks continue to fund fossil fuel development with billions of dollars, while marketing themselves as sustainable.
“Allowing the banks to develop climate plans voluntarily has produced inadequate results and is leading to a haphazard approach across the industry. Financial institutions must promptly adopt mandatory Credible Climate Plans that align with the goals of the Paris Agreement and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”