The Caisse de dépôt boasts not without reason of having reduced the carbon intensity of its portfolio by 53% since 2017. However, the accounting used is puzzling.
In a parliamentary committee on Tuesday, we learned that the Quebec institution did not consider GHG emissions attributable to natural gas in its carbon footprint, even if its stake in the quasi-monopoly Énergir gas has increased in recent years.
The big boss of the Caisse recognized this after a series of persistent questions from the solidarity deputy Haroun Bouazzi. The senior management of the Caisse reported on its management to the parliamentary committee during the study of appropriations on Tuesday.
The explanation is a question of methodology. The Caisse does not take into account, like many investors, the GHGs emitted by the end users of the companies in which it is a shareholder or the financier.
In GHG emissions, there are different levels of “scope”. Scope 1 covers direct emissions related to current operations. Scope 2 are indirect emissions related to energy supply. Scope 3 covers other indirect emissions linked in particular to end users.
“In industry, scope 3 is very difficult to quantify,” explained Charles Emond. There is work going on in the industry. But we are not yet at the stage of quantifying scope 3. Besides, all the major players in the world are focusing on scopes 1 and 2.”
In the case of Énergir, the company has pipes through which passes gas that it does not produce and which is consumed by third parties. Result: its carbon footprint is not high despite appearances.
“In Énergir, we consider their decarbonization plan: renewable natural gas and energy efficiency,” defended the president and CEO of the Caisse.
His organization owns 80.9% of Trencap SEC, owner of Énergir. She has been an indirect shareholder of Énergir since 2004.
In June 2021, Enbridge sold its 38.9% stake in what was then called Noverco to a consortium led by Caisse de depot for $1.14 billion.
An estimate compatible with the information made public by the Caisse de dépôt indicating a value greater than 1.5 billion as of December 31, 2022 for its stake in Trencap.
In January 2022, the Caisse also bought back the shares held by two other pension funds, British Colombia Investment and the Université du Québec Pension Plan, in Trencap. The remaining 19.1% is held by the Solidarity Fund, which makes Énergir a 100% Quebec company.
La Caisse is proud to recall that it ranked 1st out of 59 global pension funds in the World Benchmarking Alliance’s ranking on sustainable finance. It claims that 85% of its assets are zero or low GHG emissions, often service companies.