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The Great Canadian ESG Championship announces winners of $104.5M investment pool and launches State of the Industry report

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The report illustrates that Canadian asset managers are doing well with regards to responsible investment strategies but there needs to be better alignment on how ESG is being communicated externally

MONTREAL, Nov. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, the investors behind The Great Canadian ESG Championship announce the winners of their $104.5M investment mandate. Following the eight-month Dragon Den-style competition, they are also releasing a State of the Industry report, which takes a deep dive into the key trends and best practices of ESG investing observed throughout the initiative.

“The competition highlighted that the Canadian landscape for responsible investing is quite mature, as we had many great proposals to choose from. However, the lack of clarity around ESG labelling and definitions makes it challenging for investors to navigate,” says Éric St-Pierre, Executive Director of the Trottier Family Foundation and organizer of The Great Canadian ESG Championship.

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Launched in March, The Great Canadian ESG Championship was driven by nine Canadian institutional investors as a response to the growing number of asset owners looking for responsible investment opportunities in a market that lacked clarity around ESG standards and labelling. The goal of the championship was to shine a light on the asset managers who are excelling in responsible investing so they can inspire others, and to give asset owners a curated jumping-off point to help accelerate their ESG investing.

“We wanted The Great Canadian ESG Championship to shine light on best practices to increase competitiveness amongst asset managers and identify the gaps where the industry can improve,” says St-Pierre.

From a pool of 60 submissions, 11 finalists were shortlisted and invited to present at the live event in front of a panel of judges, including Andrea Moffat, Vice President of the Ivey Foundation, Barb Zvan, CEO of University Pension Plan, and Daniel Simard, Management’s Advisor with Æquo Shareholder Engagement Services inc., resulting in Rally Assets taking home the audience choice award.

Judging criteria were based on both ESG and financial performance and assessed by expert validators Millani Inc., led by founder and CEO Milla Craig, and Normandin Beaudry, led by partner Jean Grégoire Morand, but each of the co-investors ultimately had the final say on where their funds would be invested based on their own responsible investing goals and internal processes. The nine co-investors included the Trottier Family Foundation, the Concordia University Foundation, the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, the Foundation of Greater Montreal, the Sitka Foundation, the Consecon Foundation, the McConnell Foundation and two private trusts.

The winning asset management firms ranged from large to small and were awarded based on their fund’s performance that met both high financial and high ESG criteria. Their rankings were also based on whether the fund’s strategy met the individual investment priorities and ESG goals of the co-investors. The winning firms allocated a piece of the total $104.5M investment pool included Alphafixe, Rally Assets, Jarislowsky Fraser, Schroders, UBS, Manulife and Phillips Hager & North.

The $104.5M investment mandates from nine institutional investors were divided between the 7 winners based on the investor’s priorities and goals within the ESG investment landscape.

The $104.5M investment mandates from nine institutional investors were divided between the 7 winners based on the investor’s priorities and goals within the ESG investment landscape.

The completion of The Great Canadian ESG Championship comes at a pivotal time in the face of increased greenwashing scrutiny around ESG investing and the global tightening of regulations for ESG financial products. While the appetite for responsible investment options in Canada has never been greater, neither has skepticism around what constitutes credible ESG.

Findings and key learnings from the competition in the rapidly evolving global ESG landscape are captured in the Millani-authored State of the Industry Report. The report highlights the need for clarity in communications from asset managers and comprehensive standards from regulators in order for the market to keep a strong footing and remain competitive.

“Throughout the competition, it became clear that some players are integrating ESG throughout their firms’ practices, but in other instances, we saw a disconnect between what funds were designed to achieve and how they were being marketed,” says Milla Craig, Founder and CEO of Millani, the competition’s expert ESG validator and author of The State of the Industry report. “While each winning firm had their own distinct ESG strategy, what they all had in common was their ability to clearly articulate their strategy well.”

In addition to key observations from investors, the report makes clear recommendations for how we can build more trust and transparency in the market. “While there is no right or wrong approach to an ESG strategy there is a need for more specific communications about a firm’s ESG criteria and goals, and how this is translated into investment decisions,” says Andrea Moffat, Vice President of the Ivey Foundation, who sat on the panel of judges and provided commentary to the State of the Industry Report.

“There are nuances to ESG. You can’t just make blanket statements. To help investment firms get there, we need more robust engagement and collaboration between government, regulators, investors and most importantly, standardized labels and taxonomies,” adds Craig.

Millani and co-investors of The Great Canadian ESG Championship will be hosting a free webinar on November 14 at 12-1 PM EST to review key findings and observations outlined in the report. To register, visit www.esgchampionship.ca.

To read the full State of the Industry report visit:
https://esgchampionship.ca/wp-content/uploads/_documents/winners/ESG_state_of_the_industry_report_En.pdf

Media Inquiries and Interviews:
English:
Caelan Crerar
Argyle PR
647-853-0894
ccrerar@argylepr.com

French:
Marie-Eve St-Onge
Copticom
514-601-5504
mestonge@copticom.ca

About The Great Canadian ESG Championship
Inspired by the UK’s “ESG Investing Olympics,” nine Canadian co-investors (Trottier Family Foundation, the Concordia University Foundation, the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, the Foundation of Greater Montreal, the Sitka Foundation, the Consecon Foundation, the McConnell Foundation and two private trusts), have put forward $104.5M to invest with asset managers who demonstrate the most robust ESG investment approaches within three asset classes: equity and/ or fixed income, alternatives, and multi-asset.

Website: www.esgchampionship.ca
Hashtag: #ESGChampionship

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at: https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/b8ab9ae7-bdc6-4366-a580-5de5e14f70ab

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Zacks Investment Ideas feature highlights: Alphabet, Tesla, Shopify, Amazon and Palo Alto

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – February 2, 2023 – Today, Zacks Investment Ideas feature highlights Alphabet GOOGL, Tesla TSLA, Shopify SHOP, Amazon AMZN and Palo Alto Networks PANW.

Which of These Stocks Has Been the Best Buy, Post-Split?

Stock splits have been a regular occurrence in the market over the last several years, with many companies aiming to boost liquidity within shares and knock down barriers for potential investors.

Of course, it’s important to remember that a split doesn’t directly impact a company’s financial standing or performance.

In 2022, several companies performed splits, including Alphabet, Tesla, Shopify, Amazon and Palo Alto Networks. Below is a chart illustrating the performance of all five stocks over the last year, with the S&P 500 blended in as a benchmark.

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As we can see, PANW shares have been the best performers over the last year, the only to outperform the general market.

However, which has turned in a better performance post-split? Let’s take a closer look.

Tesla

We’re all familiar with Tesla, which has revolutionized the EV (electric vehicle) industry. It’s been one of the best-performing stocks over the last decade, quickly becoming a favorite among investors.

Earlier in June of 2022, the mega-popular EV manufacturer announced that its board approved a three-for-one stock split; shares began trading on a split-adjusted basis on August 25th, 2022.

Since the split, Tesla shares have lost roughly 40% in value, widely underperforming relative to the S&P 500.

Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks offers network security solutions to enterprises, service providers, and government entities worldwide.

PANW’s three-for-one stock split in mid-September seemingly flew under the radar. The company’s shares started trading on a split-adjusted basis on September 14th, 2022.

Following the split, PANW shares have struggled to gain traction, down roughly 15% compared to the S&P 500’s 3.3% gain.

Shopify

Shopify provides a multi-tenant, cloud-based, multi-channel e-commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses.

SHOP shares started trading on a split-adjusted basis on June 29th, 2022; the company performed a 10-for-1 split.

Impressively, Shopify shares have soared for a 50% gain since the split, crushing the general market’s performance.

Alphabet

Alphabet has evolved from primarily being a search engine into a company with operations in cloud computing, ad-based video and music streaming, autonomous vehicles, and more.

Last February, the tech titan announced a 20-for-1 split, and investors cheered on the news – GOOGL shares climbed 7% the day following the announcement. Shares started trading on a split-adjusted basis on July 18th, 2022.

Alphabet shares have sailed through challenging waters since the split, down 10% and lagging behind the S&P 500.

Amazon

Amazon has evolved into an e-commerce giant with global operations. The company also enjoys a dominant position within the cloud computing space with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) operations.

AMZN’s 20-for-1 split was a bit of a surprise, as it was the company’s first split since 1999. Shares started trading on a split-adjusted basis on June 6th, 2022.

Following the split, Amazon shares have lost roughly 18% in value, well off the general market’s performance.

Bottom Line

Stock splits are typically exciting announcements that investors can receive, with companies aiming to boost liquidity within shares.

Interestingly enough, only Shopify shares reside in the green post-split of the five listed.

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Media Contact

Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339

support@zacks.com

https://www.zacks.com

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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$13 million investment in Campbellford Memorial Hospital

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The Campbellford Memorial Hospital will be receiving a $13 million investment from the Ontario Government to address infrastructure concerns.

The announcement was made at the hospital by Northumberland—Peterborough South MPP David Piccini.

The $13 million is broken down as follows:

  • $9,639,900 will be going to CMH as one-time capital funding to address the HVAC and generator
  • $1,874,929 for reimbursement of CMH’s COVID-19-related capital expenses
  • $771,797 in COVID-19 incremental operating funding
  • up to $600,000 in one-time funding to support the hospital’s in-year financial and operating pressures
  • $163,600 in pandemic prevention and containment funding
  • $81,132 through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund
  • $46,884 in health human resources funding.

Interim President and CEO Eric Hanna welcomed the news, saying much needs to be done about the HVAC and generator.

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At the announcement, Hanna spoke of the issues with the generator.

“I’ve got the wee little generator up at the lake and then I’m thinking well, everything should be going well at the hospital,” Hanna told the audience in attendance.

“You get a call from the person in charge who says, ‘Guess what Eric? Generator didn’t start. Oh, so what does that mean? There’s no power in the hospital.’  That’s happened a couple of times in the past year and the generator is over 30 years old.”

Hanna says the solution was not as easy as replacing the generator.

“You can go buy the generator and that may be about a million dollars. But then when we found out afterwards, we came to hook up the new generator to the electrical distribution system and said it won’t work with that because your electrical distribution system is 1956. You can’t plug this generator into that. So now we’re putting close to $5 million into a whole electrical distribution system so the generator will work. It’s part of that ongoing thing and that’s why these costs continue to go up.”

The HVAC system was also something addressed by Hanna.

“It’s a contract close to $7 million to replace that. This wing, for example. There’s no fresh air in this wing. It hasn’t worked in here for 15 years. So now this is administrative areas and the concern was that in some of the patient carriers, it wasn’t working either.  So – having those discussions with David (Piccini) and saying what we have to do to correct this.”

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Chile’s Enap Set to Slash Debt Burden That Weighed on Investment

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(Bloomberg) — Enap, Chile’s state oil and gas company, plans to use near-record earnings to slash its debt burden, while increasing investment in its refineries and in exploration and production.

The company aims to reduce its debt load to about $3 billion “medium term” from the current $4.3 billion, Chief Executive Officer Julio Friedmann said in an interview. Plans include a bond sale in the first half of this year to refinance some securities.

The improved financial position — with 2022 profit surging to $575 million — comes after Enap’s oil and gas operations in Egypt, Ecuador and Argentina got a boost from high crude prices, while healthy international refining margins benefited plants in Chile. Those trends are expected to extend into this year and next, enabling the company to pre-pay some short-term obligations. About half of the current debt burden matures in the next three years.

“We are going to issue bonds,” the MIT-trained executive said Wednesday from the Aconcagua refinery in central Chile. “We are closely evaluating the local and international markets.”

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At the same time, Friedmann, who took the reins at Enap in November, plans to increase capital expenditure to about $700 million this year from $550 million last year.

The increase comes after underinvestment in the past few years because of Covid restrictions and the heavy debt load. Spending will focus on making treatment processes cleaner and upgrading infrastructure, as well as a more aggressive approach to increasing gas reserves in the far south of the country, he said.

Gas Markets

Enap plans to expand in both liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas markets in Chile, focusing on the wholesale business and eventually selling directly to large-scale consumers such as mines. Organizational changes to enable the expansion will be announced soon. There are no plans to enter the final distribution business, Friedmann said. The company wants to supply more gas to southern cities as a way of replacing dirtier fuels such as wood and diesel.

Enap and its partners are also preparing pipelines and a refinery near Concepcion to start receiving crude from Argentina’s Neuquen basin sometime this year in an arrangement that could supply as much as 30% of its needs.

While there’s plenty of potential do collaborate more with energy-rich Argentina, particularly in the Magallanes area, that would require greater long-term visibility on supplies from the neighboring country, Friedmann said.

He sees a role for Enap in the development of green hydrogen in Chile. It’s in talks with three companies to enable its facilities in Magallanes to be used to receive all the wind turbines, electrolyzers and other equipment that will be needed to make the clean fuel. Enap is also evaluating its own small pilot plants and will consider whether to take up options to enter other green hydrogen projects as an equity partner.

While the company will maintain its focus on meeting rising demand for traditional fuels, it anticipates new regulation that will require lower emissions. It’s also looking closely at clean-fuel options for aviation, Friedmann said.

(Adds clean fuel plans in last paragraph. I previous version corrected spelling of CEO’s surname.)

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