WALLACEBURG – A $7.3 million Ontario government grant to construct a new power plant for the hospital here sends a strong signal the healthcare facility will remain open for many years to come.
If governments want to ensure that they can fund the green recovery plans needed to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, they’ll have to collaborate with private sector financial institutions.
As governments in Europe, North America and around the world announce trillions of dollars in stimulus to revive moribund economies, many experts are urging them to focus on climate-related efforts that will help the world avert the worst impacts on climate change.
This is a sentiment that has moved from the sidelines to becoming a key recommendation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF’s recently released flagship publication in advance of its annual meeting emphasized the power of public investment in uncertain times, noting that raising public investment by 1% can increase private investment by more than 10%. It also noted that “the goal of bringing net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 in each country can be achieved through a comprehensive policy package that is growth friendly (especially in the short term).”
At the same time, institutional investors and asset managers are deepening their commitments to sustainable financing by increasing their investments in the green economy and providing fuller disclosure of their climate-related risks and opportunities.
It’s critical that government officials and business leaders have mutually reinforcing strategies in order to maximize the impact of both public and private financial efforts. Otherwise, governments could pursue investment plans that gain little traction among corporate strategists, while institutional investors may miss out on opportunities created by government programs that would reduce the risk of investing in the emerging clean economy.
While there has been growing focus on the importance of harnessing capital markets to address climate change, government action remains critical, says Sean Kidney, CEO of London-based Climate Bonds Initiative, an international non-government organization working to mobilize debt markets for climate solutions.
“It is not possible for private markets to do this. That is a total fallacy,” Kidney says. “This is not something that is going to be solved by the private market. This is something that is going to be solved by close collaboration between public and private markets.”
Kidney will join a panel of financial experts on Wednesday in a webinar, “Financing Green Stimulus: Opening the Purse Strings,” co-hosted by Corporate Knights and the German embassy in Canada. The virtual conference is part of a series sponsored by the German government; called Building Back Better Together, it looks at green recovery plans in Canada and Europe and highlights risks, opportunities and best practices to ensure those plans are practical and effective.
In a series of white papers released this spring, Corporate Knights advocated that Ottawa allocate $109 billion over the next decade to climate-related spending, with some 40% of that money earmarked over the first two years as part of a green stimulus plan.
That investment would generate an additional $681 billion of spending from private sector sources, for a 7-to-1 ratio of private sector/public sector contribution, according to analysis by Corporate Knights; Ralph Torrie, president of Torrie Smith Associates; and Céline Bak, president of Analytica Advisors. Together, that spending would reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions by 242 megatonnes annually by 2030, setting the course for a net-zero-carbon economy by 2050.
Similarly, the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery issued its report this summer, calling for Ottawa to embark on a $55.4-billion green recovery package over five years that would focus on building retrofits, electric vehicle production and infrastructure, clean power, natural infrastructure and adoption of clean technology.
On October 1, the Liberal government announced a $10 billion “growth plan,” which will see the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) focus on five key areas. Some $6 billion of that will go to clean-energy infrastructure, the adoption of EV buses and charging networks, and energy retrofits for buildings. The CIB’s chief investment officer, John Casola, will participate in Wednesday’s web conference on climate-related financing.
The federal infrastructure bank was established to provide public-private collaboration in the financing of major projects in strategic areas of the Canadian economy. “Every dollar of public investment capital from the CIB will increase impact because we attract additional investment from the private sector,” says David Morley, the agency’s head of corporate affairs, policy and communications.
The CIB hasn’t indicated what level of private sector investment it requires before approving financing for a project, or what leverage of additional investment is expects with the $10 billion growth fund.
For the $2-billion building retrofit plan, the CIB indicated it would focus on large real estate owners, both public and private, to help them modernize their buildings and improve energy efficiency. However, residential homeowners – who have seen energy retrofit programs in the past – will likely require grants rather than loans to persuade them to do “deep retrofits,” says Corporate Knights publisher Toby Heaps, adding that a significant early push to scale up residential retrofits would be imperative to bringing the costs down through modularization, so that the momentum can be sustained without hefty public supports.
To pay for the green recovery programs, governments will rely on a mixture of new debt and tax measures. In Europe, there are proposals to tax internet giants like Facebook and Netflix, tax financial transactions, impose carbon border taxes, and extend carbon levies on shipping.
Ottawa could end tax breaks in a number of areas, particularly in high-GHG-emitting sectors, the Corporate Knights Building Back Better proposal said. It identified $240 billion in tax breaks per year, including $40 billion that amounted to “naked examples of corporate welfare, with almost no evidence of increased investment as a result.” As governments move to attract private sector investment in new electric-vehicle plants and other low-carbon industries, offering permanent tax breaks (rather than short-term grants) may prove fiscally unsustainable as clean industry supplants traditional industries as the locus of economic activity.
However, eliminating a tax break rarely results in a gain of $1 in revenue for every $1 “loophole” closed. These tax measures were put in place to help stimulate economic activity. If that activity ends as a result of the loss of a tax incentive, the tax revenue will also be lost.
Most of Europe’s green recovery will be financed through debt, taking advantage of rock-bottom interest rates that central bankers have said will remain in place for the next few years, at least. Canada’s Liberal government has also indicated that it’s prepared to borrow heavily to finance the recovery, though it has not released a budget that would provide such detail. (Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is due to release a financial update this fall.)
There is growing interest in green bonds, which appeal to institutional investors and other asset managers that have made commitments to reduce the carbon intensity of their portfolios. Germany issued its first sovereign green bond in September; the €6-billion, 10-year offering was wildly over-subscribed. The EU plans to issue €225 billion green bonds to finance its recovery.
Last year saw a record US$263-billion in green bonds issued globally, up from just US$1 billion a decade ago, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The bond-rating service projects that up to US$225 billion in green bonds will be issued this year, despite a COVID-19-related slump in the second quarter.
There are two caveats concerning green bonds: some critics argue they provide little benefit in terms of financing costs and are essentially a marketing exercise, though there is emerging evidence that green bonds allow issuers to get even cheaper cost of debt. As well, there need to be clear guidelines as to what type of investments qualify as “green,” a standard-setting process known as taxonomy.
There are clear benefits to having an explicit connection between institutional investors and the sustainable projects they are financing, says the Climate Bonds Initiative’s Sean Kidney. But, he adds, a rigorous taxonomy is critical to ensure that green-bond issuers are truly financing sustainable activity. “That provides science-based guidance for what we have to do.”
As governments look to partner with the private sector to allocate capital to drive a zero-carbon transition, the need for better disclosure of carbon-related risks and opportunities is critical, including by any companies that want to have their bonds purchased by central banks. A network of central banks is currently pursuing further work to foster international disclosure and the standardization of data, says Henner Asche, who represents the German central bank in that exercise. He will also be joining the Corporate Knights panel on Wednesday.
Better disclosure is “a prerequisite for better climate-risk pricing,” Asche says. “Only on the back of better climate risk data can the financial system become a true driver of the transformation in the real economy.”
However, the business leaders in the “real economy” must be ready to change, says Sabrina Schulz, of Berlin’s Das Progressive Zentrum (The Progressive Centre). She notes that Germany and the EU are allocating hundreds of billions of euros to drive the structural transformation of the economy. “Right now, the structures are not there to absorb the money, to spend it wisely and to spend it on future-proof projects.”
Shawn McCarthy writes on sustainable finance and climate for Corporate Knights. He is also senior counsel for Sussex Strategy Group.
With the support of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Canada.
$7.3M investment signals long future for Wallaceburg hospital – Chatham Daily News
WALLACEBURG – A $7.3-million Ontario government grant to build a new power plant for the hospital here sends a strong signal the health-care facility will remain open for many years to come.
“This is an investment in not only the care and delivery and services here today, it’s an investment in the future, because this does provide a substantial backbone for a further redevelopment of this site in the future,” said Lori Marshall, president and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance following the funding announcement Friday.
Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development, who made the funding announcement on behalf of Health Minister Christine Elliott, also indicated more money is coming.
“This will be the first stage of a redevelopment plan,” he said, adding there are plans to move the emergency room and diagnostic imaging to a new location on the north side of the hospital.
Marshall said building a new power plant, estimated to take a year to complete, is a commitment to future expansion.
“If we were just looking at sustaining the current building, we would not have needed the level of infrastructure that is going into this power plant,” she said.
“What the power plant actually does is gives us the level of infrastructure to truly support a new build, new code requirements all those kinds of things.”
Marshall said $7.3 million covers the cost of building the new power plant, along with the 10 per cent local requirement the hospital group had in reserve, so no fundraising will be needed.
She said plans have already been submitted for consideration to the Health Ministry for redeveloping the emergency room, diagnostic imaging and laboratory areas.
However, Marshall noted there is no firm timeline for when this expansion could happen.
Other future plans for upgrading the hospital include expanding ambulatory care, including specialty clinics, along with respiratory therapy, physiotherapy and laboratory services.
Walpole Island Chief Charles Sampson said the First Nations community has a long history with the hospital, noting many people from Walpole Island have worked there.
“The people of Walpole Island are very thankful of the tireless efforts from all the front-line, essential health-care workers in Chatham-Kent,” he added.
McNaughton noted the importance of local health care has only been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While fighting COVID-19 remains a priority, the MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex said the provincial government intends “to invest in things that matter to people in Southwestern Ontario and beyond.”
When built in the 1950s at a cost of approximately $900,000, the Wallaceburg hospital “became a jewel of the community,” Greg Aarssen, the hospital board’s chair, said.
He added renewed focus on the site has seen reinvestment in the emergency department, additional respiratory therapy coverage, capital equipment upgrades and the addition of specialty clinics, as well as a partnership to provide community care nursing clinics.
“All of these set the stage for the reinvestment we are seeing from the Ontario government to ensure that hospital services remain an important part of this community,” Aarssen said.
However, it wasn’t that many years ago the community was fighting to keep the emergency department open and halt plans to have the site become an urgent care centre.
Wallaceburg Coun. Carmen McGregor said her first term on council included walking into a community effort by the citizen group, Save Our Sydenham, to fight to keep the hospital open.
“It was quite an initiation as a councillor to come into,” she said.
McGregor credited being able to work with former Wallaceburg councillor Jeff Wesley and the determination of the community to now see this “great news” for the future.
Noting she and fellow Wallaceburg Coun. Aaron Hall are working on initiatives to revitalize the downtown core, McGregor said, the hospital announcement “solidifies the direction we want to move in and will now encourage people to relocate to our community.”
Hall said Wallaceburg residents not only donated to build the hospital, but the whole community rallied for years to ensure it stayed open and viable.
He said the province isn’t going to invest more than $7 million if the hospital isn’t here to stay.
“It’s great news for Wallaceburg, great news for the future of the hospital,” Hall said.
Lone Wolf announces strategic investment from Stone Point Capital to accelerate growth – Canada NewsWire
The real estate industry is undergoing digital transformation as legacy manual processes and disparate systems transition to fully connected digital experiences. These trends are further spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, with real estate professionals requiring digital tools to provide first–class experiences for buyers and sellers. Lone Wolf leads the way, offering the industry’s only end-to-end digital experience through transaction management tools, Marketplace partnerships, and back office products.
This investment by Stone Point empowers Lone Wolf to continue transforming real estate technology by enabling the acceleration of innovation with a mission to simplify the real estate experience for all. Stone Point’s expertise in real estate services and technology will help Lone Wolf streamline the end-to-end experience for agents and brokers, enabling them to deliver unparalleled experiences to their clients and members. Stone Point will provide Lone Wolf with additional growth capital to accelerate organic and inorganic product development.
Over the past five years, Lone Wolf has significantly expanded its product portfolio beyond its flagship back office solution to encompass forms and transaction management through the national member benefits in the U.S. and Canada, Transactions (zipForm Edition) and CREA WEBForms®, respectively. The company has also incorporated new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning with the launch of Lone Wolf Insights, while its most recent offering, Lone Wolf Marketplace, brings together over 30 partners to provide an all-in-one platform for agents and brokers. Collectively, these solutions now serve more than 1.4 million agents, 8,000 brokerages, and hundreds of MLSs and associations across North America.
“We’re excited to work with the team at Stone Point to continue our strategic growth,” said Jimmy Kelly, CEO of Lone Wolf. “Stone Point’s investment aligns with our vision to create a truly connected, fully digital real estate experience. We are thankful for the partnership and leadership of Vista Equity Partners over the last five years, and we remain committed to serving the real estate industry going forward.”
“We are enthusiastic about the long-term opportunities within the real estate services and technology industry,” added Chuck Davis, Stone Point’s CEO. “This industry is undergoing rapid digital transformation, and we are pleased to partner with Jimmy and his colleagues, who together have built a remarkable company and have demonstrated the vision to continue to grow and better serve their clients.”
Terms of the transaction will not be disclosed. Jefferies LLC and GCA Advisors, LLC served as financial advisors to Lone Wolf and Vista, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as their legal counsel. For Stone Point, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP served as legal counsel.
About Lone Wolf Technologies
Lone Wolf Technologies is the North American leader in residential real estate software, serving over 1.4 million real estate professionals across Canada and the U.S. With cloud solutions for agents, brokers, franchises, MLSs and associations alike, the company provides the entire real estate industry with the tools they need to amaze clients, build their business, and improve profits—from transactions to back office, insights, and more, all in one place. Lone Wolf’s head offices are in Cambridge, ON and Dallas, TX. For more information, please visit www.lwolf.com.
About Stone Point Capital LLC
Stone Point Capital is a financial services-focused private equity firm based in Greenwich, CT. The firm has raised and managed eight private equity funds – the Trident Funds – with aggregate committed capital of more than $26 billion. Stone Point targets investments in companies in the global financial services industry and related sectors. For more information, please visit www.stonepoint.com.
About Vista Equity Partners
Vista is a leading global investment firm with more than $58 billion in cumulative capital commitments. The firm exclusively invests in enterprise software, data and technology-enabled organizations across private equity, credit, public equity and permanent capital strategies, bringing an approach that prioritizes creating enduring market value for the benefit of its global ecosystem of investors, companies, customers and employees. Vista’s investments are anchored by a sizable long-term capital base, experience in structuring technology-oriented transactions and proven, flexible management techniques that drive sustainable growth. Vista believes the transformative power of technology is the key to an even better future – a healthier planet, a smarter economy, a diverse and inclusive community and a broader path to prosperity. Further information is available at vistaequitypartners.com. Follow Vista on LinkedIn @Vista Equity Partners.
For further information, please contact:
Lone Wolf Technologies
Email. [email protected]
SOURCE Lone Wolf Technologies
Taliban vows to pave way for investment in Afghanistan – Anadolu Agency
The Taliban has expressed assurance that it would pave the way for global investment in the “future of Afghanistan”.
Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s Qatar office, said on Thursday in a series of tweets following a meeting between Adam Boehler, CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the political deputy of the Taliban.
“The opportunities for financial investment in Afghanistan were discussed during the meeting. American delegation said that Afghanistan was a promising country for global investment. So peace and stability should be brought for the attraction of global investment,” Naeem tweeted.
Boehler on Twitter had said his visit to Qatar was aimed at peace and stability in the region.
There was no immediate reaction to this meeting from the Afghan government officials in Kabul.
However, Sediq Sediqqi, the Afghan presidential spokesman, said on Thursday the Taliban has no legal or religious justifications left to continue the war against people and the state of Afghanistan.
“Scholars in the Islamic world and in Afghanistan, for years, have considered the ongoing war by the Taliban against the people and the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, forbidden and without legal justification,” he said while hailing similar comments made by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Raissouni, the president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars in a recent interview with the Afghan broadcaster Tolo News.
This comes as the Taliban is engaged in US-brokered intra-Afghan peace talks with the officials from the Kabul government in the Qatari capital Doha since Sep. 12.
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