A piggy bank with a twenty dollar bill for the money saving mind set.
© Matthew Benoit / 123RF Stock Photo

Canada’s life insurance industry wants to be part of the solution to the threat posed by global warming, but there’s a lack of sustainable projects to invest in, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) says.

In its submission to an Ontario government consultation on a low-carbon hydrogen strategy, CLHIA said that Canadian life insurers support governments’ efforts to combat the effects of global warming.

“While the immediate impact of climate change — more frequent and severe storms, flooding, drought and forest fires — is obvious to property and casualty insurers, climate change also presents a unique and long-term risk to public health, and consequently to life and health insurers,” CLHIA said.

To help tackle the challenge, the industry aims to supply capital for sustainable infrastructure investment, CLHIA said.

“We recommend the government leverage our industry’s investment capacity in order to expand and accelerate long-term infrastructure projects, allowing Ontario to modernize its infrastructure and make the economy more productive and competitive,” the group said.

Alongside its long-term investment focus, the industry has already invested more than $50 billion in products or assets that integrate ESG or sustainability factors, CLHIA said.

“However, the industry is able and wants to do more,” the association said in its submission.

Barriers to greater sustainable investment include a shortage of investable projects and a lack of sustainability standards, CLHIA noted.

“Currently, insurers’ capacity to invest more is not matched by available sustainable assets,” CLHIA said. “Further, there is a lack of simple and clear definitions for sustainable investments and green financial products.”