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The Atmospheric Fund invests in Sustainable Businesses
TAF Board of, Directors: Jason Kotler, Susan McLean, Jacoline Loewen, Keri Diamond, Mik Layton
The impact of investing in sustainable business is now asked about by investors. This has been the mandate for The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and its investments. The TAF mandate is to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in
Toronto and GTA,supporting the
City of Toronto’s target to reduce city-wide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
TAF invests its endowment based on a Council-approved investment policy
overseen by a blue-chip volunteer investment committee.
"Now celebrating its
25th anniversary, TAF was the brainchild of a City Council led by Mayor
Art Eggleton which created the agency in 1991 and endowed it with $23 million
from the sale of surplus City property. TAF has invested the capital ever
since, using the returns to seed innovative projects, advance game-changing
policies, and demonstrate and de-risk low-carbon solutions to help the City
achieve its ambitious climate targets. The endowment has been invested three
times over supporting over $50 million in community grants and investments and
shaving $60 million off the City’s operating budget. All this at no cost
to the taxpayer.
What are the two lessons Canada’s
senior governments can learn from TAF’s success?
First, a strategic focus is essential.
TAF produced Toronto’s first GHG inventory which revealed waste as a key source
of emissions. As a result, Toronto became one of the first cities in the world
to capture methane leaking from landfills and turn it into green power,
simultaneously shrinking a major GHG source and creating a new revenue stream.
Second, seeing is believing. The
adoption of new green technologies or programmatic approaches carries inherent
risks that are more appropriately advanced by an independent innovation group
like TAF. If a new initiative fails, municipal staff who champion the
innovation may fear being sidelined. Pilot projects designed at TAF to test and
verify results de-risked new technologies. Thus, a wide variety of advanced
technologies have been adopted across the city, from industrial wind and solar
electricity generation at Exhibition Place, to LED traffic signals, to electric
vehicle adoption in Toronto’s fleets." Read the full article here.
Julia Langer, CEO of TAF, said it was
wonderful to have so many current Board members of The Toronto Atmospheric
Fund attend the TAF@25 celebration. There were about 400 people in the
room from the business, technology, finance, environmental and government
sectors demonstrating TAF’s broad network.
Sandra was an excellent
emcee, and thanks to gamesmaster Mike Layton for making the carbon poker
game a hit.
Above all, thank you to the CEO of
TAF, Julie Langer, who leads with passion but also great organizational
Please find our TAF celebration press release here
and see highlights from Twitter here.