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The Canada Pension Plan thinks it can convince 'morality intolerant' corporations to divest from fossil fuels

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The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, a crown corporation managing nearly 300 billion dollars, has (along with the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan) come out against divesting from fossil fuel companies, saying they can do more to combat climate change as an "engaged investor."

But you can't talk a corporation into making less money any more than you can talk the Senate into being democratic. Institutions can only do what they're designed to do.

Investor engagement is basically a conspiracy theory. There's this hypothetical power brokering going on behind closed doors, but there's no actual hard evidence that it's happened or that it works. "Engaged investor" is the new "jet fuel doesn't melt steel beams."

The CPP investment board's mandate is "to maximize returns without undue risk of loss." It's an amoral mandate so it doesn't discriminate against an immoral industry.

Apparently subverting democracy and bankrolling climate denial lobby groups doesn't cause "undue risks" because fossil fuel companies don't bear those risks. Citizens do. Citizens like those invested in the Canada Pension Plan. Regular people who don't put the future below the bottom line.

Fossil fuel divestment is a moral argument facing a financial system that only measures value in dollars. Finance can't digest morality. It's morality intolerant. 

But the Canada Pension Plan isn't just part of the financial system. It's ultimately accountable to Canadian citizens. And that accountability probably won't be tested until a majority of those citizens see the fossil fuel industry less a job creator and more a future destroyer.  

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