I’m proud to say that 70 percent of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) endowment is now invested for impact. That means TAF is mobilizing $16 million of our capital – not just the interest earned – in service of our greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollution reduction mandate.
TAF is a pioneer in low-carbon impact investing. At inception, in the early 90s, we invested a major chunk of the endowment in upgrading the City of Toronto’s street and laneway lights, which reduced energy use, bills and GHG emissions significantly. The sophistication of our policy has evolved over the years, guided by a creative and expert Investment Committee, and an investment policy approved by City Council.
Part of TAF’s endowment is managed by Generation Investment Management and Greenchip Financial who specialize in sustainability-focused global equities. TAF also has a portfolio of direct investments — innovative local projects that yield both financial returns and climate solutions like AutoShare, GEMCO’s solar utility model, and energy efficiency retrofits in high-rise residential buildings.
While there is no formal tracking of impact investing levels among foundations or corporations, we are confident that TAF is at the head of the pack. It’s a high bar but I hope others will try to catch us, because mobilizing capital for low-carbon solutions is one important and strategic way to solve the climate crisis.