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Projects & Reports

Understanding Voluntary Carbon Markets, Part 1

To better inform the heated debate over carbon markets, it is necessary to improve our understanding about how VCMs function, and how to critically assess the quality of a carbon credit. A new study, the first in a series by the Institute for Sustainable Finance, CPA Canada and the International Federation of Accountants, provides a crucial resource for existing and potential market participants on the state of VCMs and their future development.

English Version (PDF 674KB) Version française (PDF 488KB)

Advancing Regenerative Agriculture in Canada

A new study from the Ivey Centre for Building Sustainable Value, supported with a Canadian Sustainable Finance Network Grant from ISF, examines the latest regenerative farming techniques and identifies barriers to investment in sustainable agriculture. The paper recommends a system-level change to position Canadian agri-food production to address the severe impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss on Canadian farms, and also contribute significantly to GHG emissions reductions and preserving natural assets.

Executive Summary (PDF 355KB) Full Report (PDF 3.1MB)

Carbon Pricing: Necessary But Not Sufficient

Carbon prices around the world must rise quickly, and broader policies are needed to meet Paris targets and avoid the most severe costs associated with climate change, an ISF study finds.

Report (PDF 779KB)

Canadian Corporate Performance on GHG Emissions, Disclosures and Target Setting

Taking stock of climate commitment: ISF’s latest study finds that most of Canada’s large public companies are reporting on their greenhouse gas emissions to some extent. Increasingly, firms are also setting targets for reducing emissions. But there is plenty of room for setting more and more ambitious targets, and adopting detailed plans for meeting them.

2023 Report (PDF 416KB) 2021 Report (PDF 676KB)

Partial Disclosure: Assessing the state of physical and transition climate risk disclosure in Canada

The latest ISF study demonstrates that in aggregate, climate-related disclosures by Canadian companies are inadequate, both in terms of quantity and quality. This impedes the ability of financial institutions to properly price the opportunities and risks associated with climate change, which has significant consequences for Canadian competitiveness and the functioning of Canadian markets. The solutions are complex, but manageable if approached cooperatively, with clarity of intention, and with strong regulatory leadership and support.

Partial Disclosure: Assessing the state of physical and transition climate risk disclosure in Canada Report (PDF 608KB)

A Closer Look at the GHG Protocol: Observations and Implications for Standards Setters and Regulators

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol supplies the most commonly proposed and used national and global standard for companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions. But what the Protocol is and how its standard should be used are often misunderstood. A new report by the Institute for Sustainable Finance and CPA Canada finds that while the Protocol has been wildly successful, its expanded role in securities law requires a rethink. The Protocol makes a good start but it offers much more guidance than defined, prescriptive standards, and there is much work needed to provide companies with clear direction for the gathering and reporting of emissions data that will soon be required.

The GHG Protocol Report (PDF 369KB)

The State of Corporate Sustainability Data in Canada – Survey Results

A major reallocation of capital will be required to transition Canada to its goal of Net Zero carbon emissions. However, to make the decisions that will get us there, financial institutions, regulators, investors and other stakeholders will need quality information and data about corporate GHG emissions and climate risks. The Institute for Sustainable Finance recently surveyed researchers, investment professionals and academics to better understand the current state of sustainability data.

The State of Corporate Sustainability Data in Canada – Survey Results Report (PDF 357KB)

The Physical Costs of Climate Change, A Canadian Perspective

Canada is highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. But until now, we haven’t had an effective assessment of the physical risks and the potential cost to Canada from loss of biodiversity, sea-level rise, and infrastructure damage due to fires and floods. ISF fills this void with a new report which finds the total value of capital output lost due to climate change under different scenarios. The costs range from $2.773-trillion with 2°C warming by the end of the century, to almost double that amount at $5.520-trillion under a 5°C warming scenario. The report also compares the investments required to fight climate change to the cost of global warming, and finds the additional physical risks associated with higher warming scenarios are larger than the required investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, tackling climate change more than pays for itself in terms of avoided physical damage alone.

The Physical Costs of Climate Change, A Canadian Perspective Report (PDF 737KB)

Changing Gears: Sustainable Finance Progress In Canada

ISF's latest report assesses Canada’s progress to scale sustainable finance and bolster Canadian competitiveness. The report uses the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance’s 2019 recommendations as its starting point, and reveals that while progress has been made against the recommendations, Canada needs to move faster in aligning financial systems with a global low-carbon transition.

This report is available in English and French.

Learn more about the state of sustainable finance in Canada

Capital Mobilization Plan

On September 29, 2020, the Institute for Sustainable Finance launched landmark research to provide a concrete, data-driven capital blueprint for Canada’s low carbon transition. The Capital Mobilization Plan for a Canadian Low Carbon Economy highlights that cooperation between the public sector, private sector, and financial system is critical to securing investments needed to meet Canada’s 2030 climate targets.

Learn more

Green Finance: New Directions in Sustainable Finance Research & Policy

As we increasingly experience the physical impacts of climate change (flooding, extreme weather, forest fires), we will experience the financial impacts as well. The challenge for Canada is: how do we attract global investment while, at the same time, protecting Canadian assets, investors, and firms from risk in the context of climate change? In essence, this is what sustainable finance is about — harnessing our financial systems to help accelerate the activities, decisions, and structures that will put Canadian industries and our economy ahead of the curve.

Green Finance Report (PDF 522KB)