Canada talking green, making plans; investors unsure

Wed Jun 8, 2016 6:06pm EDT
 
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, June 8 (Reuters) - Green talk is in the air in Canada these days, but investors are waiting for the public policy dust to settle and risk-reward metrics to improve before committing big money to what are still largely considered boom-or-bust companies.

Ontario's government released a climate change action plan on Wednesday that it hopes will help cut pollution and encourage green industry, partly funded by a cap-and-trade scheme that puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

And Toronto is this week hosting conferences on responsible investing, sustainable business, and innovation, with the latter including an address from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau has promised Canada would do more to curb its emissions, and must work with the country's provinces to execute a plan that will make energy extraction a more expensive undertaking.

While the money he has committed to help fund the transition to a low-carbon economy are expected to turn into projects later this summer, money managers aren't investing yet.

"This is an industry that is still in its infancy," said Philip Petursson, chief investment strategist at Manulife Investments.

Those working in clean technology stress the opportunities available and the urgency to adopt them.

"Canada is perfectly positioned... with great understanding of resources and energy," said Annette Verschuren, a former head of Home Depot Canada who runs energy storage company NRStor Inc.   Continued...