Responsible Investing

As UTAM works to generate the required returns for the University of Toronto’s Pension, Endowment and short-term working capital assets, we consistently take into account ESG factors in our analysis and decision-making.

Responsible Investing at UTAM

Over the past several years, UTAM has worked with University of Toronto leadership to strengthen and formalize our shared commitment to responsible investing.

We define responsible investing as the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decision-making processes, active ownership and disclosure. We pursue this approach because we believe that material ESG factors can have a significant impact on investment returns. ESG considerations are an integral part of our investment analysis and decision-making processes, particularly in our selection of investment managers, and in our commitment to active ownership and transparency.

We have committed to following and promoting best practices, including the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). We are an active owner, applying an ESG view to proxy voting and engaging with companies on ESG-related risks. Moreover, we regularly disclose our responsible investing activities, on this website and in our annual responsible investing reports.

As UTAM’s approach to responsible investing has evolved over time, we’ve moved from playing catch-up to taking on leadership roles in various responsible investment organizations. We now actively participate in discussions to identify and shape best practices.

ESG Factors Defined


Factors relating to a company’s interactions with the physical environment. These include (but are not limited to) climate change; greenhouse gas emissions; biodiversity loss; deforestation; air, water or resource depletion or pollution; waste management; change in land use; and ocean acidification.


Factors relating to business practices that have an impact on the rights, well-being and interests of people and communities. These include (but are not limited to) human rights; labour standards in the supply chain; child, slave and bonded labour; workplace health and safety; freedom of association and freedom of expression; human capital management and employee relations; diversity; relations with local communities (including indigenous communities); activities in conflict zones; health and access to medicine; consumer protection; and controversial weapons.


Factors relating to the governance of a company. These include (but are not limited to) board structure, composition, size, diversity, skills and independence; executive pay; shareholder rights; stakeholder interactions; transparency; business ethics; bribery and corruption; internal controls; and conflicts of interest.

Responsible Investing Timeline

The following timeline shows significant events in UTAM’s responsible investing journey.

  • Became a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) on behalf of U of T’s Endowment and Pension portfolios
  • Became a signatory to CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project)
  • Joined the Responsible Investment Association (RIA)
  • Initiated proxy voting under Institutional Shareholders Services’ Sustainability Policy
  • Doug Chau, UTAM’s CRO, joined the PRI’s Asset Owner Advisory Committee
  • Lisa Becker, UTAM’s COO, joined the Pension Investment Association of Canada’s (PIAC) Investor Stewardship Committee
  • Signed the Montréal Carbon Pledge
  • Published Responsible Investing Policy
  • Published first annual responsible investing report, covering 2016
  • Joined Climate Action 100+
  • Lisa Becker joined the Board of the Responsible Investment Association (RIA)
  • Released first PRI Assessment Reports, which gave strong marks
  • Published the carbon footprint of the Pension and Endowment portfolios
  • Joined the Investor Group of the 30% Club Canada
  • Joined Intentional Endowments Network (IEN)
  • Joined Standards Board for Alternative Investments (SBAI)
  • Joined the 30% Club Canadian Investor Group
  • Daren Smith, UTAM’s President, joined the Board of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance
  • Received high scores for our second PRI assessment
  • Signed the Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change
  • Adopted a target to reduce the carbon footprint of the Pension and Endowment portfolios by 40% or more by the end of 2030 compared to 2017 levels
  • Endorsed the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations
  • Daren Smith is appointed Vice-Chair of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance’s Environmental & Social Committee
  • Joined the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN)

Responsible Investing Policy

Our comprehensive Responsible Investing Policy is designed to guide all of UTAM’s decision-making in this area and covers topics including our internal processes, proxy voting, engagement, advocacy and transparency. The policy applies to all of our assets under management.

Responsible Investing Committee

The Responsible Investing Committee (RIC) oversees all matters relating to the development and implementation of UTAM’s responsible investing practices. The RIC is composed of senior leaders at UTAM and typically meets quarterly.

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ESG Integration

We believe that integrating an ESG lens into our activities allows us to make better-informed decisions and ultimately results in better outcomes for the university’s Pension, Endowment and short-term working capital assets.

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Active Ownership

As an active owner, UTAM considers ESG factors in proxy voting, engages with companies on ESG issues, and participates in advocacy efforts.

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Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

In December 2016, UTAM became a signatory in support of the PRI, a set of six aspirational principles designed to encourage and assist investors in integrating ESG issues into their investment processes.

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Carbon Footprint Reports

As a signatory to the Montréal Carbon Pledge, UTAM has committed to measuring and disclosing the carbon footprints of U of T’s Pension and Endowment portfolios.

Responsible Investing Affiliations

We believe that our impact is magnified when we join forces with like-minded investors. UTAM collaborates with other responsible investors on joint initiatives and advocacy efforts across Canada and around the world.

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Responsible Investing Reports

Our responsible investing reports provide an in-depth look at how we consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in our investment analysis and decision-making processes, and how we undertake active ownership.