OPTrust to divest from public market tobacco firmsPosted: November 9, 2017
TORONTO, November 9, 2017 – OPTrust today announced it is divesting from the tobacco industry. By the beginning of 2018, OPTrust will be divested from all equity and fixed income investments in public companies that derive a majority of their revenue from production or manufacture of tobacco products.
"At OPTrust, we prefer to use corporate engagement – the promotion of better business practices – in our investment and ownership practices," said Hugh O'Reilly, OPTrust President and CEO. "However, there is no such thing as a safe level of consumption of tobacco products. They cause only harm. As a result, investments in tobacco do not align with our responsible investing principles."
"I'm thrilled to hear that OPTrust is implementing a tobacco-free investment policy," said Dr. Bronwyn King, Radiation Oncologist and CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios. "This sets a new standard amongst Canadian financial institutions and will inspire others to follow suit. As an oncologist, I'm fully aware of the devastating impact of tobacco. It's heartening to see OPTrust take such a positive step, joining with the health and government sectors to address one of the greatest public health challenges of our time."
OPTrust's leadership recognizes that environmental, social and governance factors are key drivers of sustainable/long-term investment performance, and are consistent with the plan's responsible investing approach. This divestment keeps OPTrust at the forefront of responsible investing practices globally.
With net assets of $19 billion, OPTrust invests and manages one of Canada's largest pension funds and administers the OPSEU Pension Plan, a defined benefit plan with almost 90,000 members and retirees. OPTrust was established to give plan members and the Government of Ontario an equal voice in the administration of the Plan and the investment of its assets through joint trusteeship. OPTrust is governed by a 10-member Board of Trustees, five of whom are appointed by OPSEU and five by the Government of Ontario.
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