EDC Aims for Net Zero by 2050

The agency responsible for overseeing Canada's exports says it plans to commit to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and is working on a range of new sustainable financing ideas to help decarbonize its portfolio.

Export Development Canada provides financing, insurance and other support to Canadian businesses, including the oil and gas industry. Chief Executive Officer Mairead Lavery says EDC will announce its 2050 plan later this month. Its focus will be on helping Canada’s natural resource sectors transition to a zero-emissions future.

Lavery, who in 2019 became the first woman to helm EDC in its 75-year history, has made environmental, social and governance investing one of her three priorities, along with boosting trade and tackling inclusion, diversity and equity.

The organization is putting more focus on financial support for technology that aims to slash carbon from Canada’s highest-emitting sectors, as well as providing sustainable finance to help other businesses get to zero emissions, she said.

In 2020, EDC financed 20 transactions from three outstanding green bonds, which it says resulted in about 6.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide being avoided. Since 2012, the agency says it has facilitated $13.5 billion in Canadian clean technology exports by supporting companies that focus on climate mitigation or environmental protection.

With the 2050 pledge, EDC will adopt science-based targets for decarbonization, Lavery said, and will augment its existing green bond program with other types of sustainable finance, “some of which is still to be built or yet to be found in the market.”