As Canada moves towards sustainability, capital market participants have a wide variety of views about what aspects should receive more emphasis than they are getting at the moment.

We offered respondents 15 options and asked them to choose their top five priorities. Air pollution was the issue chosen by most respondents — 51% want more emphasis on reducing it, while 49% call for greater focus on dealing with the problem of plastic that is not recycled. Making transport more sustainable is sought by 44%, though it is a greater priority for issuers, at 54%, than investors (34%).

Fourth, with 40% support, is reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture — a prominent issue in a country that is one of the world’s major agricultural producers.

On Canada’s important forestry sector, views are more divided. For investors, it is the most prominent issue, with 46% wanting more effort on sustainable forestry. Only 15% of issuers agree. Three issues all receive 36% support, of which two concern energy efficiency: promoting greener buildings and energy efficiency in industry. 

0%

say Canada should increase emphasis on reducing air pollution

The third is promoting international efforts to fight climate change. This is supported by 44% of issuers, aligning with their strong interest in sustainability.

The social issues we suggested all receive the support of about a sixth to a quarter of the sample. Promoting the health of the Canadian population is the most popular, backed by 27%, while 22% want attention to protecting and retraining workers to work in green industries. 

These responses indicate that environmental issues are a higher priority for Canadian market participants than social ones.