TORONTO: The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is hunting for investments in the world’s transition to renewable energy as it aspires to be a global leader in sustainability, the head of the company told Reuters on Thursday.
“One of the keys here is investing in the transition with a view that for the world to transition to a zero carbon world, many of the existing conventional players are going to be leaders in the future,” John Graham, president and chief executive of CPPIB, said in an interview after the company reported a record net annual return of 20.4% in its financial year ended March.
The pension manager last month announced it was creating a new investment group that would generate investment opportunities in renewables, conventional energy and new technology and service solutions.
CPPIB’s exposure to renewable energy producers rose to C$7.7 billion at March 31 2021, from C$6.6 billion at March 31, 2020, according to a spokesman for the firm.
“This is a group where I truly believe that we should be a global leader,” said Graham.
CPPIB’s net assets rose by 21.4% to C$497.2 billion ($410.4 billion) at the end of March 2021 from a year earlier helped by strong gains in energy and resources real assets.
While most asset classes made gains over the period, Canadian public equities and energy and resources real assets were the most profitable, returning 40.8% and 45.8% respectively.
Real estate investments, which struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, lost 4.1% for the fund during the fiscal year after gaining 5.1% in the previous year while marketable government bonds lost 10.9% in 2021 compared with gains of 16.1% in 2020.
Graham was appointed to his new role in February after former CEO Mark Machin tendered his resignation over a trip to the United Arab Emirates where he received a vaccination against COVID-19. ($1 = 1.2115 Canadian dollars)