DC Plan Summit 2022: Aligning Organizational Sustainability Strategies with DC Pension Plans

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Also speaking at the session, Louise Koza, director of human resources, digital and operations at Western University, explained how the university integrates environmental, social and governance factors into the investment strategy of its defined contribution pension plan. Since 2007, he has been evaluating investment managers and making selections from an ESG perspective. It also has a socially responsible investment fund among the 15 funds on its platform.

Many of the university’s stakeholders have called on it to divest from fossil fuels, she said, adding that the endowment was working with the University Network Coalition to engage with investors on this topic. “On the side of defined contribution pension plans. . . we have more to think about. On the other hand, it’s a different body, so it’s our pension board that makes the decisions. And, of course, they are there to ensure that members can accumulate adequate income for retirement.

Definity Insurance also aligns its focus with its business strategies, including one dedicated to ESG issues, said Lianne Buchanan, assistant vice president of total compensation for the organization, also speaking at the session.

Read: Panel: Bâtirente, KPMG and Western University share the path from DC to ESG

“We believe that managing our ESG risks and opportunities, and then creating a positive impact, is an important part of our strategy. We think there are certainly longer term benefits associated with this for our stakeholders. We really think it’s part of who we are and it’s honestly good for business.

The organization has also made commitments to net-zero emissions and intends to translate this guidance into investments in its DC plan, she said, noting that it is still only at its beginnings.

“We didn’t want to work for work. We wanted to make sure there was alignment there. So once the strategy and framework was set for the organization, we then actively started working with the pension committee on how we could incorporate that and reflect that in our plan.

Learn more about coverage of the DC 2022 plan summit.

Aubrey L. Morgan