Mark Carney’s $850bn Brookfield feels the heat over disputed emissions
While COP28 in Dubai is in full swing, Canadian investment giant Brookfield is facing fierce criticism over its carbon footprint.
At the climate summit in the UAE, Brookfield Asset Management, which is chaired by former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, has been accused of “massively underreporting its true emissions.”
The firm’s true carbon emissions are likely to be “as much as 13 times higher than what it officially discloses,” according to campaign group Investors for Paris Compliance (I4PC), which shared its findings with Net Zero Investor.
Brookfield is Canada’s largest private equity investor and manages more than $850 million of investor capital for dozens of Canadian, American and European pension funds, insurance firms and other asset owners.
Kyra Bell-Pasht, I4PC’s director of research and policy, said that through a complex structure of exclusions and calculations the firm does not disclose the vast majority of its emissions.
The allegations come at an uncomfortable time for Mark Carney, Brookfield’s chair, as he is also special UN envoy for climate finance and action, and therefore a prominent delegate at COP28.
Carney said recently that investors should work to decrease their emissions and “lowering carbon footprint is a fundamental driver of value.”
And only last month, he stated at a conference in Canada 2023 "the net-zero revolution is becoming a driver of growth. In the future, great powers will be green powers."
Meanwhile, only last week, at the start of COP28, he boldly declared: “Let’s see who stands up in the UAE at COP amongst the oil and gas companies and countries and we’ll start to judge who’s performing and who isn’t.”
Apart from its chair, Carney is also head of energy transition at Brookfield, which has committed itself to getting its entire investment portfolio to net zero financed emissions by 2050.
Carney was governor of the Bank of England between 2013 and 2020) as well as governor of the Bank of Canada from 2008 until 2013.
Last year, Brookfield reported close to 12 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
However, I4PC said that an analysis carried out by sustainability pressure group Private Equity Climate Risks (PECR) found that total emissions by all of Brookfield’s investments and assets, so far this year, were close to 160 million tonnes.
Bell-Pasht claimed that Brookfield excluded all emissions generated by Oaktree Capital Management, which is majority-owned by the Canadian firm and makes up nearly a quarter of Brookfield’s total assets under management.
She pointed out that Oaktree CM has stakes in at least 118 oil, gas and other fossil fuel firms.
To be more specific, Bell-Pasht went on to claim that Brookfield does not include its "downstream” emissions in its formal numbers.
Effectively, this means emitted carbon from companies it finances are not incorporated in its emissions calculations, she alleged.
“Brookfield positions itself as a leader in financing the net-zero transition, but it is still a major fossil fuel funder,” Bell-Pasht stated.
She called on the firm to “to fully report on its climate transition risk and not just good news stories about renewables.”
A Canada-based spokesman for Brookfield rejected the claims and said the estimates were “based on unclear inputs”.
Moreover, he stated the two groups "deployed an opaque methodology that appears to run counter to standard global reporting requirements.”
In addition, he went on to say: “It also substantially misconstrues our corporate structure and presents emissions data in a manner that lacks context, making it susceptible to significant inaccuracies.”