Several months ago I penned an article about the Royal Bank of Canada and their push to be seen as ESG (environmental, social and governance) compliant. ESG is a concept pushed by the WEF (World Economic Forum) principally to get the world to halt “Runaway climate change, environmental degradation and social inequality”. The concept has been endorsed by all the major international audit firms (Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC)! Presumably they see the opportunity to increase auditing charges by creating math formulae much different than the basic math one would expect to be applied in a financial audit!
ESG is fully endorsed by others who will benefit financially such as Bloombergs, and some former central bank governors such as Canada’s very own, Mark Carney. Certainly, most Canadians are aware that our PM, Justin Trudeau and his Minister of the Environment, Jonathon Wilkinson are big on the E. and the S. of ESG but the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated their complete failure on “G” ie: Governance!
At the time I penned the above noted article I had no reason to believe other Canadian banks had jumped into the fray however I was alerted to the fact that none other than my former employer, TD Bank, was an enthusiastic supporter of the ESG concept.
Following up; led to the discovery TD had issued their initial ESG report titled, “Adapting with Purpose 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance Report “. The report was 112 pages whereas their 2020 Financial report was only 91 pages. It almost appears as if TD’s management ranks shareholders below “climate change” advocates!
Looking through the report is interesting if one starts with a simple word search. When searching “ESG” you get 400 hits, searching “environmental” the hits are 216, “sustainable” garners 150 and “governance” 177. Repetition for emphasis perhaps? The words “climate change” generates 80 appearances but net-zero only brings 3 references. The report devotes page 109 of the report to just “Acronyms” which number 79 and 7 (including the UNIPCC) of them are devoted to UN (United Nations) initiatives. Naturally the WEF amongst many others are included.
The press release announcing TD’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 was upsetting as they have accepted the belief; CO2 emissions are a climate control knob. It was also upsetting because their one and only endorsement was from none other than Bruce Lourie of the IVEY Foundation a CRA charity where he has sat as President since early 2005. Under his guidance the Ivey Foundation has been dedicated to eliminating fossil fuels as their “vision” suggests: “Ivey’s Economy and Environment program supports Canada’s transition to a sustainable economy by identifying opportunities to enhance resource efficiency, foster innovation and advance the field of sustainable finance.” I wrote a series of articles* about Lourie many years ago pointing out his ability to influence politicians while enriching the numerous entities he created or strongly influenced, frequently with our tax dollars.
If one searches Government Grants it is surprising a charitable foundation with over $100 million in net assets would actually apply for a grant but an “Ivey Foundation” search netted two grants totaling $37,500. One for $7,500 was granted when Catherine McKenna was Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and the other $30,000 grant came from the Minister of Natural Resources when Jim Carr was in charge. It is worth remembering Bruce Lourie played a major role in Ontario under the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals as he and Gerald Butts were very influential in getting them to pass the GEA. The GEA was reputedly going to create 50,000 jobs and as then Energy Minister, George Smitherman stated; would only raise electricity rates 1%. Ontario’s ratepayers know how that turned out!
Lourie and Butts are both members of the “Task Force for a Resilient Recovery” and the Ivey Foundation is one of its funders. A prior article outlined their close relationship and even how they, together with our current PM, Justin Trudeau, were together for a seven day canoe trip back in 2003.
What TD Bank is doing will alienate TD’s clients in Western Canada, those dependent on fossil fuels in numerous businesses here in Ontario, etc. including petrochemicals, refining, plastic manufacturing (including health related products), mining, infrastructure projects, farming, etc. etc.
It is truly ironic TD have also released a report suggesting; “Three-quarters of oil and gas sector could be displaced in move to cut emissions“. It almost appears TD’s Chief Economist, Beata Caranci, penned the report in support of the ESG push knowing TD will be partially responsible as many of the jobs affected will be TD customers and many of the companies cutting those jobs will also be customers. One of the conclusions in the report notes: “The clean energy transition represents an enormous economic opportunity to redefine and reinvigorate the Canadian energy sector and become established as a globally competitive leader in a net zero world.” Ms. Caranci’s report suggests the science is settled and fails to cite any opposing scientific studies to those touted by the WEF or those pushing the narrative that mankind can somehow control earth’s temperature! I also fail to see how that will “reinvigorate the Canadian energy sector” in any way! This belief that the “science is settled” so we must act does not bode well for the bank or its shareholders.
As a former employee and current shareholder my message to TD’s executive is; “rethink your position”! Fossil fuels are not the control knob for global warming and are essential to Canada’s needs and the rest of the world, no matter what philosopher Bruce Lourie or his ilk tell you.
*This was the last in the series but a Google search of “Bruce Lourie’s Spider web” will show others.