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Our approach to responsible investing

Everything we do at NEI begins with our purpose: to help Canadians achieve their financial goals while making a positive impact on the world. We’ve honed our approach over decades, and every day, we’re looking at ways to make it even stronger. We’re growing, learning, evolving, leading—all so our investors can help shape the future they desire for themselves, their families, and future generations. 

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Sustainable Intelligence powered by NEI

Throughout our 35-year history, we’ve helped companies become better investments by drawing attention to their environmental, social and governance risks and making sure they were addressed. And we’ve helped those same companies understand the role they can play in helping solve the systemic social and environmental challenges we face today.

NEI’s commitment to delivering positive impact and enabling our investors to do more with their money has led us to steadily advance our ESG program, perfecting, and in some cases literally inventing the responsible investment approaches others use today. The sum of that commitment, the ESG knowledge we’ve acquired over three decades, our pioneering innovations, thousands of ESG-focused conversations with companies, hundreds of thousands of proxy votes cast, our policy work with governments and regulators—all that cumulative experience and expertise—is what we call Sustainable Intelligence™.

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A strong policy forms the foundation

NEI is committed to helping our clients grow wealth while advancing the ESG performance of publicly traded companies wherever we invest. And it all begins with our Responsible Investment Policy.

Our policy sets out the philosophy that guides our efforts and describes our responsible investment program, encompassing strategies, procedures, and lines of accountability that ensure we keep our promises and advance toward our goals.

Read our Responsible Investment Policy - Download (PDF)

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Our responsible investment strategies

Our funds employ up to four responsible investment strategies: exclusionary screens, ESG integration, impact & thematic, and active ownership. You will see on the right we have included an icon for fossil fuel exclusions. While we do not consider that to be a distinct responsible investment strategy, we do believe it’s useful for investors to be able to identify those funds at a glance.

For investment solutions managed solely by NEI, strategies are implemented entirely in-house. For our sub-advised solutions, we work closely with our investment managers on sharing data, reviewing analysis, coordinating our processes, and building on our respective insights. Together, we’re offering investors a level of experience and expertise in responsible investing that’s extremely difficult to match.

Meet our sub-advisors

Exclusionary screens

Companies may be excluded from the funds based on certain criteria, such as revenue generated from the tobacco and gambling industries, or because they produce fossil fuels. 

Fossil fuel exclusions

While not a distinct responsible investment strategy, certain funds do exclude oil, gas, and coal exploration and production companies, as well as companies with significant carbon reserves on their balance sheets.

ESG integration

Companies are evaluated on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and ESG considerations are integrated throughout the investment process.

Impact & thematic

Impact funds strive to make a measurable difference on society and the environment based on specific goals. Thematic funds focus on an investment “theme,” such as climate change, resource scarcity, or energy infrastructure.

Active ownership

We use our rights as shareholders to influence corporate behaviour. Tools include corporate dialogue, proxy voting, and shareholder proposals. 

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Collaborating at a higher level

Two of the most powerful tools for influencing change at the highest levels of the responsible investment ecosystem are collaboration and advocacy. NEI is an active participant in many group initiatives, where the combined strength and scale of multiple likeminded players can lead to greater success. We also advocate for change and provide input to regulators, standard-setters, and other organizations seeking to promote greater understanding of responsible investing while providing a level playing field. Why? To improve outcomes for our clients, and for investors everywhere.

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Dig deeper

The world of responsible investing and ESG can seem large and complex, but there is a simple way to think about it. As you pursue your financial goals, your investments help to improve society and the environment.

We’re here to help make sense of all the different ways you can do that. Would you like to build your knowledge from the ground up? Explore our education hub. Would you like to get our perspective on emerging trends? Visit our insights page.

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Five myths about responsible investing

Despite the rapid growth of responsible investing, misconceptions about the risks and opportunities remain. 

Read more
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Investing for corporate responsibility

Corporations have a responsibility to the communities in which they operate. Here we take a closer look corporate governance. 

Read more
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Collaboration opportunity between advisors and clients

CIO John Bai and Director of Corporate Engagement Jamie Bonham discuss the crucial role advisors can play in helping investors participate in the journey to net zero.

Read more
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Engagement report: Meta Platforms

An update from Q3 2022 on our engagement progress with Facebook owner Meta Platforms.

Read more
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Excellence in responsible investing

NEI has been a member of the Principles for Responsible Investment since it was established in 2006 with sponsorship from the United Nations. The PRI conducts a thorough review of members’ responsible investment programs and produces an Assessment Report and a Transparency Report. The high marks we received in our latest assessment demonstrate that our responsible investment program is truly exceptional.

View our Assessment Report - PDF >

View our Transparency Report - PDF >


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Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.