While Toronto has achieved a 25% reduction in GHGs against 1990 levels, achieving City Council's adopted goal of an 80% reduction by 2050 is a challenge. Two of Toronto’s largest direct GHG reduction opportunities – investment in energy efficiency in buildings and expansion of public transit – face a major barrier due to competing interest for capital. With cities juggling multiple priorities, there is a challenge in accessing the investment needed to achieve significant carbon reduction. Often this is because the business case for climate investment is poorly understood, or that conventional financing approaches are unsuitable. Other times, it is because community interests are not aligned in a way that supports high impact climate solutions.
Over its 25 years, funds from TAF have helped seed the development, at the time, of innovative initiatives, such as the creation of the world's largest lake fed deep water cooling system, the creation of Autoshare, conversion of all traffic signal lights to LED and installation of the first wind turbine in an urban centre in Canada. More recently, over the past four years, TAF has created, tested and scaled a new approach to financing energy retrofits in large buildings, launching it via a new private company, Efficiency Capital Corp., which is poised to scale to a $100M enterprise within five years. TAF has also funded a collective impact initiative called Move the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Region consisting of twelve diverse civic groups who create aligned strategies to leverage provincial support for local transit.