New ESG Centre of Excellence launches (

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Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation

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Resources available through the ESG Centre of Excellence

While many B.C. businesses already operate in a way that considers their social and environmental impacts, businesses are facing increasing pressure from investors, consumers and through their supply chains to report on their ESG performance. The new centre is designed to help business owners report on their operations to help make companies more competitive in the marketplace.

ESG integrates environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities into a business or organization’s strategy for long-term financial sustainability and to create value. Companies can report on their ESG performance through an evolving set of standards and frameworks. Examples of ESG reporting categories include environmental issues around climate risks, carbon emissions, energy efficiency, use of natural resources, pollution, water and waste management. Social issues include human rights, compensation, labour relations, diversity, equity and inclusion. Governance includes issues around board diversity, business ethics and compensation policies.

Through the new ESG Centre of Excellence, clients will have access to a suite of ESG tools and resources, such as:

ESG Self-Assessment:

  • The ESG Self-Assessment helps businesses understand where they are on their ESG journey and enables the ESG Centre of Excellence’s advisory services team to provide tailored ESG support. No matter where a business is on its ESG journey, the self-assessment can provide insight into where to focus ESG efforts based on overall ESG maturity.

ESG 101 Guide:

  • The guide provides an overview of ESG and its importance for small and medium-sized businesses and explores how ESG can help manage risks, enhance reputation, attract and retain talent, and access new markets and opportunities. The guide will also provide readers with practical steps to establish or refine ESG governance, including identifying management oversight, performing stakeholder engagement, building reporting agility and thinking strategically.

ESG Resource Links:

  • Connects businesses to relevant organizations, experts, education and training curated by the advisory services team. Based on responses submitted in the self-assessment form and initial engagements with clients, the advisory services team will identify key resources that might be of highest value to their clients. Resources such as:
    • reporting frameworks, standards and initiatives;
    • applicable funding and grants programs;
    • education and training programs;
    • experts and service providers; and
    • industry certifications.

Materiality Assessment Primer:

  • The Materiality Assessment Primer helps businesses understand what is involved in conducting a materiality assessment, which is an important early step in a business’s ESG journey. In a materiality assessment, businesses confirm what ESG areas are most material (or significant) to them. Concentrating on those identified material topics will help ensure that a business’s future actions, measurements and reporting are focused on what really matters to them and their stakeholders.

ESG Reporting Playbook:

  • The ESG Reporting Playbook articulates the key reporting considerations to help a business develop an ESG reporting approach that is adapted to their specific circumstances and goals. Reporting is one of the key steps of the ESG journey. It enables a business to share with stakeholders their ESG vision, risks and opportunities, strategy and performance against their goals and targets. The playbook includes:
    • why report;
    • how to report;
    • what to report; and
    • quality of reporting data.
Details on the ESG Advisory Council

The seven-member advisory council was formally established in January 2024. Learn more about each member:

Kookai Chaimahawong – executive director, Centre for Climate and Business Solutions, University of British Columbia (UBC), Sauder school of business

Chaimahawong is the executive director and adjunct professor at UBC Sauder’s Centre for Climate and Business Solutions, a new hub designed to unite business and academia to develop innovative climate solutions. Prior to UBC, she was an ESG partner at UpperStage Capital, an impact-focused private-equity firm, setting the fund’s strategic direction on its impact and ESG strategies. Chaimahawong’s career includes launching an award-winning technology startup that revolutionized fundraising in Thailand, forming sustainable-development goal partnerships at the United Nations, and integrating impact investment in breakthrough technologies at a venture capital fund.

Jennifer Coulson – senior managing director and global head, ESG, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI)

Coulson is responsible for leading all ESG strategies and programs at BCI. Working in the financial services industry for more than 20 years, she has built a world-class public-markets ESG team focused on active ownership and led BCI’s public-markets efforts related to ESG integration, engagement, policy advocacy, and proxy voting. Coulson chairs the 30% Club Canada investor group, serves on the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Finance Action Council, sits on the University of Victoria Student Investment Fund’s investment advisory committee and is a board member for the SDI Asset Owner Platform.

Radha Curpen – vice-chair, Vancouver managing partner and national leader, ESG Strategy and Solutions, co-head of environmental practice, Bennet Jones

Curpen specializes in environmental, regulatory and Aboriginal law, including ESG, crisis prevention and management. Curpen is the chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. She is a member of the board of governors of the Business Council of British Columbia and the board of directors at Bennett Jones LLP. She is also a member of the ESG industry working group for the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities for the development of an ESG guide for pension-fund investment and pension-plan administrators.

Jonathan Fowlie – chief external relations officer and head of impact strategy, Vancity

Fowlie leads Vancity’s External Relations and Impact Strategy division, which oversees key strategies to help Vancity grow its impact, business and commitments to climate action, such as the credit union’s ongoing work to reach net-zero across all financed emissions by 2040. Fowlie was a member of the Canadian government’s Sustainable Finance Action Council, represents North America on the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative’s Banking Board and serves on the University of Victoria's Impact Investing Hub and on the board of the Vancity Community Foundation.

Thomas (Tad) Homer-Dixon – executive director, Cascade Institute

Homer-Dixon is the founder and executive director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University. He has a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in international relations, defence policy and conflict theory. For nearly two decades, he directed the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto. Homer-Dixon is a best-selling book author and writes regularly for the Globe and Mail. He has published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Scientific American, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Financial Times. He is considered among the world’s leading experts on the intricate links between nature, technology and society.

Geordie Hungerford – chief executive officer, First Nations Financial Management Board

Hungerford is the chief executive officer of the First Nations Financial Management Board. He brings deep experience in finance and financial law, with experience as a securities regulatory lawyer at the BC Securities Commission, financial tribunal chair and CEO at the Financial Services Tribunal (B.C.), management consultant at McKinsey and Company, and investment banker at Broadview (now Jefferies). He has also practised Aboriginal and corporate law at a national law firm, driven economic development initiatives for the Gwich’in Nation, and led Indigenous networking and Reconciliation and UNDRIP policy development initiatives at the Canadian Bar Association (B.C. and national). Hungerford served as a member of the Independent Review Committee on Standard Setting in Canada, appointed as special advisor to the International Sustainability Standards Board chair, and recommended the creation of the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board. Hungerford is Gwich’in (Northwest Territories. Yukon and Alaska First Nation).

Basma Majerbi – associate professor and director, Impact Investing Hub, Gustavson school of business, University of Victoria

Majerbi is an associate professor of finance at Gustavson school of business, University of Victoria. Majerbi is currently leading the UVic Impact Investing Hub (VI3Hub), a multi-disciplinary, solutions-driven platform with the mission is to accelerate investments in climate solutions and sustainability. Majerbi is also a technical adviser with the International Monetary Fund, steering committee member of the Canadian Sustainable Finance Network and the Research Advisory Council of the Institute for Sustainable Finance, co-founder and co-chair of the International Workshop on Financial System Architecture and Stability, serves on the board of directors of the South Island Prosperity Group, and a member of the impact investment committees of the University of Victoria and the Victoria Foundation.