John Graham has a clear mandate. As CEO of Canada Pension Plan Investments, he oversees the retirement savings of 20 million Canadians, with the goal of achieving the highest possible returns without undue risk.
And yet in a volatile and unpredictable world, his challenge is anything but simple.
Take, for example, the fund’s investments in the energy sector. Recently CPP Investments committed to achieving a net-zero portfolio by 2050. But that doesn’t mean it is divesting its holdings in Canada’s oil and gas industry.
“We believe fundamentally in a path of engagement,” Graham tells Goldy Hyder in the Speaking of Business podcast. “Divesting takes responsible owners away from the table. Divesting basically puts these assets in the hands of people who may not have the same values.”
Graham says Canada is poised for an “economic transition”, not just an energy transition, because the shift to low-carbon energy sources will affect almost everything we produce and consume.
And he sees a significant leadership role for Canada. “Canada knows how to do these types of initiatives at scale. I think we very much have the resources and the scientific and technical know-how.”
Find out more – including why John Graham switched careers from research scientist to pension manager – by listening to this engaging and wide-ranging episode of Speaking of Business
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