Community

We believe that essential infrastructure is fundamentally about relationships: between a community and its citizens, between a business and the stakeholders it serves, and between the physical infrastructure and its surrounding natural and socioeconomic environment. In North America and around the world, rapid urbanization and population growth are increasing city sizes, placing greater strain on water and energy consumption, the environment and the infrastructure we use for mobility, waste management, housing and more.

As a long-term investor, we believe we have a fiduciary obligation to proactively address ESG risks and opportunities as part of our investment strategy to create long-term sustainable value for Instar’s investors.

We seek to:

  • Consider environmental, safety and social issues associated with potential investment opportunities in Instar’s evaluation of the prospective entity or asset and the ongoing asset management of the portfolio investment.
  • Continually engage with relevant stakeholders, including, but not limited to, local communities, First Nations and all levels of government, either directly or through representatives of portfolio companies, as appropriate.
  • Actively develop and improve the long-term sustainability of portfolio investments for the benefit of multiple stakeholders.
  • Work with partners, management of portfolio companies, contractors and stakeholders to the extent reasonably possible to improve and advance ESG initiatives at InstarAGF and its portfolio investments.
  • Promote transparency and timeliness in communication with stakeholders and Instar’s limited partners on ESG matters.
  • Follow strict guidelines that prohibit bribery and other improper payments to public officials and follow anti-money laundering laws and regulation globally.

Instar defines ESG issues as those that have the potential to have a direct substantial impact on a company’s ability to create or preserve economic value as well as environmental and social value for itself, the communities where it operates, and other stakeholders.

Our investment evaluation process considers ESG matters including:

  • Environmental: energy use and efficiency, carbon emissions, pollution, and waste and water management.
  • Social: human rights, equality, health and safety, community impacts.
  • Governance: management and board structure, anti-money laundering and conflicts of interest.

Collaboration between businesses and communities will be imperative to finding innovative solutions to address North America’s burgeoning infrastructure deficit along with the mounting climate change risk. This belief drives Instar’s goal to prioritize best-in-class ESG practices throughout all operations, improving equality and diversity of opportunity while reducing global carbon emissions.

Throughout our investment process and across our portfolio, we partner with management teams to help guide and support best-in-class ESG practices, identifying areas to accelerate social and environmental stewardship:

Our Asset Management

We incorporate ESG factors into our ongoing asset management and monitoring activities, including identifying ESG reporting metrics relevant across our portfolio and establishing metrics linked to specific sector risks and opportunities for each portfolio company.  Instar is focused on the stewardship of all our investments through our board positions, management relationships and overall corporate governance, which ensures appropriate management incentives, compensation and alignment with long-term goals, including ESG objectives.  Across our platform, our short- and long-term incentive programs for our senior executives, which are established by each company’s board of directors, including both Instar representatives and independent directors, are linked to the delivery of business goals, including those related to ESG, and aligned with the company’s long-term strategy.  We believe strong active ownership leads to better management practices, value creation and long-term financial success.

Our People

Instar is committed to incorporating Diversity Equity and Inclusion practices internally and across our platform. We are a member of Out Investors, a global organization that supports LGBT+ individuals in the industry.

We also encourage employees to find and support causes that are meaningful to them. Instar is proud to offer a donation matching program that magnifies their impact.

Our Environment

Instar’s Toronto office is located in the Toronto-Dominion Centre, a LEED Platinum building that is among the greenest office complexes in the world with an energy-efficient profile and the use of a deep lake cooling system. Instar has also installed LED lighting within its own premises to improve energy savings and implemented programs to reduce the use of paper and plastic.

Through our corporate “Trees and Bees” partnerships, we aim to reduce carbon footprint and build on our environmental stewardship across the organization at all levels.

Our Culture

Instar is a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

We address Environmental, Social and Governance risks and value creation opportunities as part of our investment and stewardship strategy to create long-term sustainable value for our investors and stakeholders in the communities we serve. 

Our Investments

Our investment stewardship includes the evaluation and implementation of environmental and social considerations and value creation opportunities throughout the entirety of our investment process from due diligence to investment approval and asset management. Our stewardship is a part of our ownership practices within our larger ESG initiative, which is directed by Instar’s senior leadership team and portfolio company executives. We assess critical sector-specific ESG risks and develop reporting metrics guided by Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards.

Key elements of our investment approach include:

  • Consistently employing a comprehensive due diligence template to assesses material ESG risks and opportunities in our evaluation of potential investments and engaging external advisors to provide specific technical or market analysis where necessary. This includes identifying mechanisms for mitigating potential ESG risks and capitalizing on opportunities to add value to the portfolio company post-acquisition.
    Assessing the type, geography and relative control of an investment to identify ESG elements that might affect the risk profile and performance of a targeted investment.
  • Including an assessment of material ESG risks and opportunities in the investment memoranda presented to our Investment Committee for discussion and approval.

Our Policy

For more information, please reference our ESG Policy.

Our Asset Management

We incorporate ESG factors into our ongoing asset management and monitoring activities, including identifying ESG reporting metrics relevant across our portfolio and establishing metrics linked to specific sector risks and opportunities for each portfolio company.  Instar is focused on the stewardship of all our investments through our board positions, management relationships and overall corporate governance, which ensures appropriate management incentives, compensation and alignment with long-term goals, including ESG objectives.  Across our platform, our short- and long-term incentive programs for our senior executives, which are established by each company’s board of directors, including both Instar representatives and independent directors, are linked to the delivery of business goals, including those related to ESG, and aligned with the company’s long-term strategy.  We believe strong active ownership leads to better management practices, value creation and long-term financial success.

Our People

Instar is committed to incorporating Diversity Equity and Inclusion practices internally and across our platform. We are a member of Out Investors, a global organization that supports LGBT+ individuals in the industry.

We also encourage employees to find and support causes that are meaningful to them. Instar is proud to offer a donation matching program that magnifies their impact.

Our Environment

Instar’s Toronto office is located in the Toronto-Dominion Centre, a LEED Platinum building that is among the greenest office complexes in the world with an energy-efficient profile and the use of a deep lake cooling system. Instar has also installed LED lighting within its own premises to improve energy savings and implemented programs to reduce the use of paper and plastic.

Through our corporate “Trees and Bees” partnerships, we aim to reduce carbon footprint and build on our environmental stewardship across the organization at all levels.

Our Culture

Instar is a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

We address Environmental, Social and Governance risks and value creation opportunities as part of our investment and stewardship strategy to create long-term sustainable value for our investors and stakeholders in the communities we serve. 

Our Investments

Our investment stewardship includes the evaluation and implementation of environmental and social considerations and value creation opportunities throughout the entirety of our investment process from due diligence to investment approval and asset management. Our stewardship is a part of our ownership practices within our larger ESG initiative, which is directed by Instar’s senior leadership team and portfolio company executives. We assess critical sector-specific ESG risks and develop reporting metrics guided by Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards.

Key elements of our investment approach include:

  • Consistently employing a comprehensive due diligence template to assesses material ESG risks and opportunities in our evaluation of potential investments and engaging external advisors to provide specific technical or market analysis where necessary. This includes identifying mechanisms for mitigating potential ESG risks and capitalizing on opportunities to add value to the portfolio company post-acquisition.
    Assessing the type, geography and relative control of an investment to identify ESG elements that might affect the risk profile and performance of a targeted investment.
  • Including an assessment of material ESG risks and opportunities in the investment memoranda presented to our Investment Committee for discussion and approval.

Our Policy

For more information, please reference our ESG Policy.

We are passionate about building stronger, more sustainable communities and see an unprecedented opportunity evolving for infrastructure investors as cities seek to address historical underinvestment, the pressures of population growth, long-term urbanization trends, rapid advancement of technology and sustainability imperatives. Realizing this opportunity will require us to re-think solutions for both our established and emerging infrastructure.

How can we navigate long-term urbanization and local infrastructure demand trends? How can we bridge the digital divide as technological advancements continue to surge? How can we better support quality of life while mitigating the challenges of climate change?

Check out our latest articles to see how our team works to track trends, forge relationships, and exchange ideas and expertise with our peers to create value for our communities:

Leading Diversity by Example

The movement for diversity and inclusion in the workplace has never been greater. Although we are making strides towards gender parity in many industries and institutions, there is still much to do, particularly in private markets where less than 10% of board positions with private companies in the U.S. are held by women.

read more

Infrastructure Needs to Think Local

Citizen-centric investment and development will empower communities to rebuild more sustainably post-covid and to respond to new opportunities emerging from the shifting global economy, writes InstarAGF’s president and CEO Gregory Smith.

read more

No Turning Back: Five Paths to Sustainability

ESG implications are changing infrastructure development and investing, stakeholder engagement and how we define purpose beyond returns, says InstarAGF chief operating officer and senior vice-president Sarah Borg-Olivier.

read more

Interrupting the COVID Echo

COVID-19 has posed unprecedented health and economic challenges for nations, businesses, communities and families. The human impact is immeasurable, with more than 29 million cases of the virus and 929,000 deaths to date.

read more

How Connectivity Builds Stronger Teams

Fostering a strong, collaborative working environment with a focus on mentorship and knowledge-sharing is central to InstarAGF’s corporate culture and is crucial to our success.

read more

Socially-conscious leadership: driving value through diversity

Diversity and inclusion are defining issues for our generation. The corporate landscape has shifted from a generation ago, with greater acknowledgement today on why broader perspectives and experiences are needed to successfully navigate the growing complexity of challenges in our modern world.

read more

Cracking the Sustainability Code

What next steps are needed to ensure a safe, resilient future? While new technologies are likely to play a key role, says Gregory J. Smith, CEO of InstarAGF Asset Management, we can’t underestimate the value of holistic policies, city planning and community engagement.

read more

Pathway to the Next Level

Infrastructure is central to climate change mitigation and adaptation, writes Gregory Smith, CEO of InstarAGF Asset Management, and can forge a more sustainable path to long-term prosperity.

read more

The Promise of Infrastructure

With a spiraling infrastructure deficit to address over the next two decades, building trust and connectivity with stakeholders is more important, and challenging, than ever before, writes InstarAGF’s Gregory Smith.

read more

The Infrastructure Revolution

Can a net zero-carbon world exist as demand for energy continues to grow? InstarAGF president and CEO Gregory Smith looks at the potential for sustainable infrastructure to deliver triple bottom-line results: value for the environment, the economy and the community.

read more

Raising Awareness, Lifting Communities

MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, trends such as urbanization, emerging technology and climate change are demanding greater collaboration and communication between businesses, governments and communities.

read more

How Can Investors Engage With Communities to Build Cities of the Future?

Jonathan A. Schein, senior vice president, managing director of global business development, for Institutional Real Estate, Inc., recently spoke with Gregory Smith, president and CEO of InstarAGF Asset Management, about community engagement in the infrastructure sector. An excerpt of that conversation follows.

read more

The Future of North American Infrastructure

Bringing about new infrastructure financing solutions and improving essential infrastructure systems will require greater innovation on a number of fronts: the adoption of emerging technologies, flexible approaches to collaboration and business models, and updated policies that increase opportunities within new and existing systems.

read more

Evolving Infrastructure Innovation

Our world will effectively be rebuilt over the next two decades, and transformative change is required in how cities are constructed, energy is generated and consumed, goods and people are transported, and how the expanding urban footprint is sustainably managed, argues Gregory J. Smith, chief executive of InstarAGF

read more

Infrastructure Bank will Launch by Year-end: InstarAGF CEO

Gregory Smith, president and CEO of InstarAGF Asset Management, joins BNN’s Jon Erlichman live from the Toronto Global Forum for a look at why he thinks the Infrastructure Bank will get off the ground this year despite Ottawa delaying billions in spending.

read more

InstarAGF CEO Confident Ottawa’s Infrastructure Bank on the Right Path

Gregory Smith, president and CEO of InstarAGF Asset Management, joins BNN’s Jon Erlichman for a look at what’s taking shape with Ottawa’s infrastructure bank and plans as Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi meets with his provincial counterparts on how to best distribute cash to the provinces for construction.

read more

Broadening the Investment Framework for Canadian Infrastructure

The CVCA sat down with Greg Smith, President and CEO of Toronto-based private capital firm InstarAGF, to discuss what the new infrastructure bank means for Canadian communities and the quality of our national infrastructure, and more broadly, the private investment ecosystem in Canada.

read more

Empowering Urban Communities

Our cities are increasingly challenged to accommodate rapid urbanisation and its impacts on land, resource use, city design and infrastructure quality. District energy systems are helping to solve these modern infrastructure problems, writes InstarAGF’s Gregory Smith.

read more

Roundtable Canada: If You Build it

Canada’s Liberal government is in the midst of creating an infrastructure bank. But announcements and execution are two different things. How will the bank move Canadian infrastructure investing forward? Joel Kranc and four key industry participants find out.

read more

BNN: Canada at Major Infrastructure Inflection Point

Gregory Smith, president and CEO of InstarAGF Asset Management, joins BNN’s Catherine Murray from the Globe Capital Conference taking place in downtown Toronto for a look at why infrastructure investors might have to sit tight for opportunities and why he believes Canada’s infrastructure plans are at a major inflection point.

read more

Building Partnerships for the 21st Century

Quality infrastructure is necessary for communities and countries to thrive. As rapid urbanization continues globally, sound infrastructure serves as a major factor in where people decide to live, work and do business.  Moreover, it attracts the capital and talent that a city’s potential depends on.

read more

BNN: InstarAGF CEO on Canada’s Infrastructure Advantage

Just down the street from Justin Trudeau’s investment summit is a conference on public-private partnerships. BNN’s Paige Ellis was at the event that brought together investors, politicians and builders. She sat down with Gregory Smith, president and CEO of InstarAGF,...

read more

Canada Roundtable: Time to Invest at Home?

Canada’s new government is making infrastructure spending a priority to boost the economy. Four industry professionals and Joel Kranc explore how this might affect prospects for private investors.

read more

Rethinking Infrastructure (LAPF)

While more institutions are creating separate allocations for infrastructure, capital deployment is lagging behind. Infrastructure pioneer Gregory Smith of InstarAGF asset management tells us why… and how investors should be thinking about the asset class.

read more

Roundtable Canada: Distinctly Canadian

Six investment professionals sat down with Kalliope Gourntis to discuss what Canada has done right, what it can do better, and how it has managed to distinguish itself from a general ‘North American’ category when it comes to infrastructure.

read more

Rethinking Infrastructure (BPM)

In the early 2000s, I oversaw the establishment of the first private infrastructure fund in Canada, a process that included defining infrastructure as an investment opportunity and educating the market on the merits of these ‘boring to barely interesting’ assets.

read more

BNN The Close: Gregory Smith

Porter Aviation Holdings is selling it passenger terminal at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The buyer is Nieuport Aviation, a consortium of Canadian and international infrastructure equity investors, including InstarAGF. BNN discusses the deal with Gregory Smith, President and CEO, InstarAGF.

read more