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bcIMC's mandate is to deliver the returns that help our clients meet their long-term financial objectives. Assessing and managing investment risk is an integral part of how we meet our fiduciary duty. Our primary concern is for the long-term value of the investments. Some environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors may emerge over time and become material risks that affect the investment's value. We address ESG matters to the extent that they influence risk and return. For a synopsis of bcIMC's beliefs, principles and approach, please review An Overview of bcIMC's Approach to Responsible Investing or our Responsible Investing Factsheet.

As a long-term investor, we contribute more than capital to our investments we use responsible investing to protect future cash flows and grow the long-term financial value of our clients' assets. We also encourage companies to focus on long-term value creation.

As a founding signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, bcIMC voluntarily committed to integrating ESG factors into our processes. As ESG factors vary by region, sector, and company, we adapt our strategy to what is appropriate for the investment. Our fiduciary framework and beliefs guide our approach.

Fiduciary Framework
 
bcIMC's approach is aligned with our legal and fiduciary duties to our clients. The Pension Benefits Standards Act specifies that B.C. pension plan investments must be made in the best financial interests of plan members and plan beneficiaries. bcIMC's fiduciary duty is to act honestly, in good faith, and in the best financial interests of our clients. Our primary aim of our responsible investing activities is to improve the risk and return profile of our clients' funds. Responsible investing is a risk management approach and is used as a way to protect future cash flows and grow the long-term financial value of our clients' funds.

Our Beliefs
 
  • Our primary concern is for the long-term value of assets; environmental, social, and governance matters are addressed to the extent that they influence risk and return
  • Stewardship by shareholders creates long-term value in companies
  • Engagement is a more effective means to initiate change than divestment
  • Knowledge and reason inform our responsible investing decision and activities
  • Aligning with like-minded investors and organizations can be more effective than working in isolation
  • As a significant investor, we have the responsibility to advance responsible investing within our industry

Activities
 

As ESG factors vary by region, sector, and company, we adapt our strategy and activities to what is appropriate for the asset class and the investment.

Public Equities: As an active and engaged investor, we believe that proactive dialogue is the best way to advance the management of risk. We engage directly with senior executives and directors of publicly-traded companies, as well as with regulators and industry associations. Collaborating with like-minded investors and stakeholders gives us greater influence. We take a long-term view, recognizing that effecting change in corporate behavior takes time. Our engagement activities focus on shareholder rights, climate change and water, and human rights and are guided by our ESG Engagement: Public Equities Priorities and Process. For an overview of our ESG integration activities, please refer to our factsheet. Details of our engagement activities are available here. Details of our submissions and comments to regulatory bodies are available here.

bcIMC believes that proxy voting fosters good corporate governance and accountability. Our staff research and vote all of our Canadian, U.S., and the most valuable of our global holdings. bcIMC's Proxy Voting Guidelines, developed in consultation with our clients, inform our decisions. Details of our proxy voting activity are available here.

Private Equities and Infrastructure & Renewable Resources: Our due diligence processes for private equities and infrastructure & renewable resources incorporate ESG considerations. In addition to financial performance, we assess the governance model and commission detailed reports on legal, environmental, regulatory, and social matters. Potential risks are identified and incorporated into our investment strategy. Post-investment, we expect our portfolio companies to focus on long-term value creation - meaning that they must apply good governance practices, effectively manage their business and community relationships, and be responsible in their business operations.

Real Estate: QuadReal, a company 100% owned by bcIMC invests in and develops properties that are energy efficient, as well as environmentally- and tenant-friendly. Our commitment to responsible property investing extends to our external managers and portfolio companies. Environmental risks and green initiatives are considered prior to the purchase or development of properties. Once within the portfolio, QuadReal ensures that property management strategies integrate environmental and social factors. Our Canadian portfolio is certified under the LEED and BOMA BESt.

Mortgages: When assessing applications for commercial mortgages, we favour developments and projects with environmentally-sound principles that match our clients' risk-return requirements. bcIMC has provided $2.0 billion towards financing developments with material "green" initiatives since 2004.

Fixed Income & Foreign Exchange: Corporate bonds are an integral part of our clients' portfolios. As flawed corporate governance practices can expose bondholders to excessive or unforeseen credit risk, the assessment of governance issues is a core component of our credit risk analysis.

Advocacy and Collaboration: bcIMC advocates for legal and regulatory changes that integrate responsible investing principles into regulatory frameworks and improves the investment environment for long-term investors. We work with like-minded investors and organizations to draw attention to the legal aspects which we believe should be changed or enhanced.

Reporting
 

bcIMC is accountable for the responsible investing activities that we undertake to protect the value of our clients' funds. bcIMC produces quarterly reports and discloses our proxy voting activity. As a signatory of the PRI, bcIMC participates in the Responsible Investing Transparency Reports. bcIMC's submission for the 2017 reporting cycle is available here.

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