Fighting climate change in court and at the bank: Fraser Thomson

APRIL 4, 2018


As an Alberta-based lawyer for Ecojustice, Canada’s preeminent not-for-profit environmental law firm, Fraser Thomson spends his days battling the major fossil fuel projects and companies that contribute to climate change.

“We know what the science is telling us. We need to stop burning fossil fuels and if we don’t we’re all in a lot of trouble. One of the things we do for our clients at Ecojustice is to find legal avenues to keep fossil fuels in the ground. It’s important to show up and fight these battles in the public interest. Even when we don’t win, we can often do a lot to mitigate the harm these projects could cause if allowed to proceed unchecked.”


“It’s a huge privilege to be able stand up in court and defend the planet.”


“People assume being an environmental lawyer is more exciting than it is. The reality is we’re spending thousands of hours in front of our computers, doing research and preparing legal documents. But on those occasional days when we are in court, it’s a huge privilege to be able stand up and defend the planet.”

Recently, Ecojustice spent countless hours working with other environmental not-for-profits, indigenous groups, and local communities on two major pipeline cases -- Northern Gateway and Energy East -- both of which would have major consequences for the climate and are now unlikely to proceed.

But for a Torontonian now living in Calgary -- a car-friendly city where much of Canada’s fossil fuel industry is based -- living life according to the values and beliefs that drive his work can be a challenge.  “It’s certainly not easy. I try to walk or bike everywhere, but sometimes that’s just not possible, so I end up having to rent a car.”

The most effective way to put his money where his mouth is, is by ensuring his savings aren’t supporting the projects he spends his days fighting in court.


“Chances are, with most traditional investments, your money is going to be supporting fossil fuel projects in some way or another.”


“It always bugged me that with most major banks, and even some credit unions, you don’t really know what your money is enabling,” Fraser explained. “Chances are, with a lot of traditional investments, you’ll be supporting fossil fuel projects in some way or another. I spent quite a bit of time actively trying to figure out how I could invest my money without causing damage to the planet.”

After a good amount of research--we’d expect nothing less from a lawyer--Fraser decided to invest in CoPower Green Bonds.

In a world where it feels like so much of his environmental impact is out of his control, becoming an investor, he explained, “gave him peace of mind about the carbon footprint of his finances.”

“One of the worst things about climate change is that so many of us don’t know what to do. It can feel like businesses and governments aren’t rising to the challenge and as an individual you’re left feeling powerless. With CoPower, there’s transparency. I know my money is supporting clean energy and energy efficiency projects.”


“People assume that if we take action on climate change that we’re going to hurt jobs, when it’s actually the total opposite...”


In his role at Ecojustice and as an active member of the Calgary community, Fraser speaks to a lot of people who are concerned about the loss of jobs that could come from the cancellation of pipeline and other fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

“People assume that if we take action on climate change we’re going to hurt jobs, when actually it’s the total opposite. That’s one of my favourite things about CoPower - it’s helping create jobs. Everyday folks who have a bit of money to save can directly support people who are dying to get out there and build things like small-scale solar projects. We can support tradespeople looking for work who can install solar on a roof or retrofit a building.”

“Energy efficiency may not be the most glamorous way to stop climate change but it has results. Giving money to people to do projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions is one of the best ways to do it.”

Fraser sees his investment as part of a much larger, complex network of solutions necessary to make meaningful change in the fight against climate change.


“We should be taking that into account when making all our decisions. We’re talking about the future of our planet after all.”


“Climate change is the defining issue of our generation. We should be taking that into account when making all our decisions, whether it’s what we eat or how we get to work in the morning or where we put our money. We’re talking about the future of our planet after all. ”



CoPower Green Bonds help you put the planet in your portfolio


Editor's note: Fraser invested in CoPower's second issuance of Green Bonds (Green Bond II). Our third issuance (Green Bond III) is now available for investment.

The client testimonial that appears on this page was solicited by CoPower and may not be representative of the views of other investors or potential investors in CoPower Green Bonds.  Please consult the CoPower Green Bond Offering Memorandum for all material information in respect of CoPower Finance Inc., CoPower Green Bonds and the terms of the offering.