QS2I partners with QBACC for action on the climate crisis

Partnership aims to build greater climate awareness on campus

QBACC Chair Nick Lorraway speaks at last Friday's climate strike. The partnership with QS2I will combine analytical experience with divestment efforts at Queen’s.
Journal File Photo

Queen’s Social Investment Initiative (QS2I) and Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC) have struck a partnership to pursue climate initiatives on campus.

QS2I is the first university-based impact investing organization in Canada, approaching social finance through management of a mock portfolio of strong-performing and socially-responsible companies.

Rachel Gonsalves, (Comm ’21), co-chair of QS2I, said she believes the organization’s partnership with QBACC can successfully leverage the individual strengths of each group in support of action on the climate crisis.

“We recognize that climate change is a huge part of social impact investing,” Gonsalves told The Journal in a phone interview. “We are trying to become as educated as possible about climate change and what we can do about it.”

Key to QS2I’s partnership with QBACC will be the group’s efforts to leverage their research and analytical expertise in supporting QBACC’s divestment efforts at Queen’s.

The divestment arm of QBACC is focused on developing research and campaigns to make a case to the University and Board of Trustees to divest assets away from fossil fuels.

“Divestment still is quite a radical idea for a lot of people, especially alumni, especially people who are already out there in industry,” QBACC Chair Nick Lorraway said in an interview with The Journal.

“What we want to illustrate, especially to alumni, to everyone really, is that what’s happening on university campuses right now is what happens in the broader economy in 10, 15 years.”

Lorraway said he hopes including groups like QS2I in QBACC’s climate initiatives will demonstrate that, when it comes to responsible investing, considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors can be more than just window dressings. 

 “What QS2I is doing is showing that you can consider environmental, social and governance factors in a really good, honest way where they’re actually being considered,” he said. “They’re not being tokenized, they’re actually part of the business model of these companies.”

Ultimately, Lorraway wants to highlight the work of all groups taking action on the climate crisis at the university.

“QBACC’s mandate is to create a culture of sustainability,” he said.  “We want to show that young leaders are already preparing to do this.”

Like QBACC, QS2I is focused on education within the Queen’s community, utilizing their platform to increase student awareness on the impact of social entrepreneurship and social finance.

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats impacting not only society but companies” Gonsalves said. “It’s a threat that all companies need to be cognizant of.”

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