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The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Develop a Competitive Advantage and Create Sustainable Value

On June 13, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal held the first edition of its Strategic Forum on the Integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Criteria for Businesses. This forum brought over 550 participants together, including Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, and Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region.

This event was an opportunity for companies in attendance to learn about solutions that support transitioning toward action, as well as to draw inspiration from case studies of companies that recently adopted such an approach. Below is a look back at the highly promising first edition of this forum.

BLOCK 1 – State of the art on ESG in the Greater Montréal area

“Companies may overlook their ESG challenges due to the uncertainty arising from the current environment, which is dangerous; however, solutions exist to address short- and long-term challenges simultaneously.”
– Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

“Environmental challenges present incredible economic opportunities. In the coming years, several billion will be invested in the fight against climate change.”
– Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Government of Quebec

Business transformation: An inevitable change

“Companies and major contractors that are already ahead in integrating ESG criteria should share their knowledge with SMEs in their value chains to prevent them from falling behind. The success of the energy transition for our economy must be collective.”
– Anne-Josée Laquerre, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Québec Net Positive

Authenticity of intent as a foundation for future success

“People need to change. The way we train staff and exemplify individual success must change. People are the same person inside and outside the organization. We need to redefine our social norms to redefine the organization’s.”
– Olivier Laquinte, President, Talsom

Developing more environmentally responsible financial standards

“The International Sustainability Standards Board is delighted to have established an office in the city. We are working to establish international climate disclosure standards that will be used by all companies around the world.”
– Sue Lloyd, Vice-Chair, International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB)

BLOCK 2 – ESG criteria as a growth lever for our companies

“Climate change is the biggest risk that we’ll face. At the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, we help SMEs prepare for it. In the coming years, our companies will need to stay relevant and effective.”
– Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Government of Canada.

Creating value through your ESG approach

“Under a third of investors believe that there is enough ESG information available to make decisions. As such, companies must focus on the two pillars of value creation: improved ESG reporting and better risk and opportunity management.”
– Edouard Clement, Chief Partnership Officer, Novisto

Finance, a sector of influence for a sustainable transformation

“A conscientious approach must be adopted to understand what value a company generates in addition to financial capital. This means human, social, intellectual and environmental capital. This approach not only extends to management but to operations as well. That’s the first step.”
– Isabelle Laprise, Institutional Portfolio Manager, Jarislowsky Fraser

Diversity and inclusion at the heart of responsible human resources

“Employers must engage their staff to achieve a more sustainable transition and equip them with tools to make a difference. Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion and give their employees the same opportunities to express themselves perform better.”
– David Santelli, President, Rhizome 

Winning models of eco-responsibility

“You won’t last if you don’t embrace ESC criteria. Especially since the next generation is highly sensitive to these principles and wants to be a part of real change.”
– Sébastien Mousseau, Senior Vice-President, Power, Grid & Industrial Solutions, SNC-Lavalin

Political speech

“Companies and investors have a key role to play in the fight against climate change and in the sustainable use of natural resources by helping to raise capital for collective well-being.”
– Jean Lemire, Envoy for Climate Change, Northern and Arctic Affairs, Government of Quebec

Expanding internationally through an ESG approach

“On the international stage, the challenge is to ensure standards are addressed using a high-level approach. Not all ESG principles are recognized, so organizations like the International Sustainability Standards Board are extremely important.”
– Mamiko Yokoi-Arai, Head of Infrastructure and Alternative Financing Unit, OECD

BLOCK 3 – Equipping our companies in their ESG approach

Increase sustainable productivity of companies 

“We must encourage companies to adopt clean technologies and eco-friendly practices in order to become more competitive while reducing their environmental footprint.”
– Julien Bourque, Managing Director, Strategic Initiatives, Investissement Québec

The integration of ESG criteria at the heart of the mission of start-ups and SMEs

“Start-ups are motivated to address societal issues through their company mission. Today, if a company is unable to motivate people to make a difference, we predict that it will become obsolete in five to seven years.”
– Geneviève Tanguay, CEO, Anges Québec

Supporting our companies in their business ambitions

“Start-ups are motivated to address societal issues through their company mission. Today, if a company is unable to motivate people to make a difference, we predict that it will become obsolete in five to seven years.”
– Quebec has never seen so much capital for entrepreneurs before and funds aimed at accelerating the transition that needs to occur. Companies with high growth potential have access to more resources than traditional companies. Given that our economic fabric includes useful companies with traditional and local models, our sources of financing must be open to these business models. Everything related to ESG criteria must be democratized for all entrepreneurs.


About the Strategic Forum on the Integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Criteria for Businesses

The Strategic Forum on the Integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Criteria for Businesses was held by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. It was produced in association with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Jarislowsky Fraser, in collaboration with Desjardins, Evol, Investissement Québec, Loto-Québec, Rio Tinto and Talsom, and in partnership with Bombardier, Casacom, Coesio, Hydro-Québec, Montreal Gazette, Réseau Environnement, Rogers, SNC-Lavalin and Ubisoft Montréal. The event was made possible with funding from the Government of Quebec.

Some speaker presentations are available:
Sue Lloyd Investissement Québec (In French only)

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