Hats off to the Caisse de dépôt

What influences your daily life the most, the performance of the Montreal Canadiens or those of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec?

At the time of writing, the Montreal Canadiens sit second in the standings of the new all-Canadian division of the National Hockey League. This is a great accomplishment for the group of teammates the most followed by Quebeckers. Finally, every two or three evenings, there will be another “score” to know than that of the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, a different group of teammates do important work every day. They are the workers of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Together, they are responsible for making profitable the precious savings accumulated by everyone, our “woolen sock”. Unfortunately, when they “score,” no one stands up to applaud them, and they don’t get the praise from analysts in suit and tie on television.

Performance under the radar

Lately, the global economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects are still being felt here in Quebec and in Canada. Between January and June 2020, the Canadian stock market index, the S&P TSX, which shows the value of the largest Canadian companies, fell by plus or minus 10%1. During the same period, the CDPQ’s investment portfolio experienced a very modest loss of 2.3%, which is remarkable in the context. Before the crisis, the fund “scored” year after year. Its yield over the last 10 years has been, on average, 8.7%2.

These recent performances have enabled the 6 million Quebeckers contributing or benefiting from the CDPQ to generate a profit of $ 179.9 billion (2). That’s not all, in addition to having the financial stability of the population at heart, the CDPQ cares about its impact on the environment.

In just 3 years, it has reduced the carbon intensity of its portfolio by 21%3. She is a pioneer in the movement. Indeed, since 2019, the caisse has been part of the Net-Zero Alliance. Under the supervision of the United Nations, this group of institutions managing major investment funds has committed to achieving zero net GHG emissions by 2050 for their respective portfolios.4. The CDPQ was also one of the 12 founding members, the only one from North America.5.

Sadly, these accomplishments go under the radar despite affecting everyone. The caisse is doing crucial work that will ensure financial stability for all Quebecers today and tomorrow, in addition to shining on the international scene and having the environment at heart.

So, the next time you are about to check out the results of the day before our idols on skates, go spend a little 5 minutes on the CDPQ website. This way, you can learn at least one thing that probably no one else around you will know.

– Frédéric Morneau-Vaillancourt, Holder of a master’s degree in environmental management from the University of Sherbrooke and
employed by the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change.

This letter was written in a personal capacity.


1. https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/SPTSX:IND

2. https://www.cdpq.com/fr/performance/resultats

3. https://www.cdpq.com/fr/investissements/investissement-durable/changements-climatiques

4. https://www.ledevoir.com/economie/593329/l-economie-autrement-investir-dans-le-changement

5. https://www.unepfi.org/net-zero-alliance/steering-group/

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