The Financial Post reports in its Friday, March 19, edition that Canada's six largest banks have all added ESG components to their chief executive officers' compensation frameworks. A Bloomberg dispatch to the Post reports that Canadian lenders stand out because only 9 per cent of the 2,684 companies in the FTSE All World Index tracked by researcher Sustainalytics in a 2020 study had tied executive pay to ESG.
The moves put Canadian banks at the front of a push by activists and investors to establish incentives for actions like reducing emissions.
At Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the pressure to make changes also came from within, said Sandy Sharman, head of the bank's people, culture and brand unit.
Canada is ahead of the curve, with 16 per cent of its companies studied by Sustainalytics reporting relatively transparent ESG criteria tied to pay. That trails only Australia, at 20 per cent. Sustainalytics researcher Martin Vezer says,
"From an investment perspective, as well as from a corporate perspective, it's becoming clear that putting more onus on executives to steer their companies toward a lower-impact future on those types of issues, including climate change, is more and more important."
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