The vast majority of Canadian issuers have actively chosen a path towards sustainability, our survey reveals. Only 2% say they have not begun changing their activities to make them more sustainable. 

This very strong response adds further evidence to earlier signals. In our 2020 global survey, which had a separate group of respondents, 71% of Canadian issuers said they expected to shift their allocation of capital over the next five years, away from activities challenged by environmental and social issues and towards areas that promote positive environmental and social outcomes. 

Even so, most issuers are still only starting out on their sustainability journeys. Asked what their relationship with sustainability is, 45% say the organisation has set itself some sustainability targets but has yet to put a comprehensive plan in place. Among the biggest companies, with revenues of over $10bn, this is somewhat lower, at 31% — showing that these companies have made more progress.

Moreover, 38% of issuers are at a still earlier stage: they are moving towards sustainability but have not set specific targets yet. Again, the largest companies are further advanced: only 23% have no sustainability targets.

Among the biggest firms, 42% say they have reached a more advanced stage: they have plans to reach full sustainability, including net zero carbon emissions. Another 4% judge that they have already fully integrated sustainability considerations and do not need to make further changes. 

The rest of the issuer sample has made much less progress. Only 1.5% of companies below $10bn in revenues have plans to reach full sustainability and none claim to have integrated sustainability considerations in full already. The large firms’ extensive exposure to wholesale capital markets may have pushed them to move earlier, while their greater access to resources likely makes the shift easier to tackle.