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New Institute for Sustainable Finance will harness Canada’s “best and brightest” to advance a prosperous transition to a sustainable economy

Posted on November 19, 2019

Housed at Smith School of Business, Institute is first of its kind in Canada

Toronto, Ont. – Today marks the official launch of the new Institute for Sustainable Finance. Building on its mandate to align mainstream financial markets with Canada’s transition to a prosperous sustainable economy, the Institute unveiled the establishment of the Canadian Sustainable Finance Network (CSFN), an independent and diverse alliance of academics, researchers and educators who will address the most pressing questions of this field, and our time.  

“The Institute for Sustainable Finance aims to create the most credible and robust body of sustainable finance knowledge in the country. Establishing the CSFN as a critical resource for Canadian leaders is one way we can help guide the massive transition to a sustainable economy,” says Institute executive director, Sean Cleary, BMO Professor of Finance and Founding Director of the Master of Finance program at Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

The 44 members from 16 universities of the CSFN, which include Queen’s University, the University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, Concordia University, the University of Victoria, and the University of Manitoba, will serve as an engine and collaboration platform for academia, industry and government to move sustainable finance forward in Canada. Its initiatives include expanding research partnerships and joint funding opportunities, creating a repository of education resources and growing program offerings, and collaborating with like-minded organizations such as the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investments (GRASFI). 

“Climate change is becoming a mainstream policy issue, and increasingly understood to have potentially serious financial consequences as well as being the source of significant opportunity. As a result, it is becoming an increasing focus for the global financial system, given the multi-faceted role finance plays in allocating capital and managing risk within key sectors of the economy,” says Andy Chisholm, a member of the Institute’s advisory board and a member of the Canadian Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance. 

“Canada needs to keep up, and where appropriate, take a leadership role if we are to stay globally competitive. The longer we delay, the more risk we take on and the more opportunity we forego or cede to others in a low-carbon transition. Universities have an important role to play and will be most effective in this space if they are encouraged to build off of and leverage each other’s strengths and advances. That is why this collaborative cross-country network is critical,” adds Andy Chisholm. 

In addition to launching the CSFN, the Institute has undertaken education initiatives to foster a deeper base of knowledge and expertise in Canada. In addition to the development of traditional academic courses, the Institute and Queen’s Executive Education are launching programs for business professionals. The first on Sustainable Investing will run April 15-17, 2020 in Toronto with more to follow. These efforts align with the Institute’s overall goal to significantly boost Canada’s capacity—in both the long and the short-term—to implement sustainable finance approaches that will enable the country to thrive through a low-carbon transition. 

“Working collaboratively on sustainable finance solutions, our world-class Canadian talent will help shape the financial system Canada’s future needs,” says Professor Cleary. 

The Institute for Sustainable Finance is based at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University and is supported by the Ivey Foundation, the McConnell Foundation and the McCall MacBain Foundation. 

For a full list of Canadian Sustainable Finance Network members and to learn more about the Institute for Sustainable Finance, please visit:


For media inquiries:

Amber Wallace
Smith School of Business
613.533.3151 /