The main professional bodies and associations representing the Paris Financial Centre have announced a commitment to make green and sustainable finance a driving force behind combating climate change and contributing to achieving the goal of net zero carbon by 2050.
The organisations comprise: Paris Europlace, which promotes and develops the Paris financial marketplace; Finance for Tomorrow, a Paris Europlace initiative bringing together the actors of the Paris Financial Centre to promote sustainable finance in France; France Invest, which represents French private equity; the French Asset Management Association (AFG); the French Banking Federation (FBF); the French Association of Finance Companies (ASF); and the French Insurance Federation (FFA).
At the COP 21 UN climate change conference in Paris in 2015, the city claims it was the first financial centre worldwide to collectively endorse the scientific consensus on the impact of greenhouse gasses (GHG) and to take the measures necessary for the financial industry to accelerate the transformation towards a low carbon economy.
Since then, individual and collective initiatives spearheaded by the financial centre players have multiplied, it reports.
These include sector-wide policies regarding fossil fuels, integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in investment strategies and the creation of Finance for Tomorrow.
During this year’s first semester, France claims it has again become the leading green bonds issuer with $13bn issued. Public labels that promote financial products that incorporate sustainability criteria are also growing more each year.
More than 220 funds (representing €57bn) have been granted the SRI label, and 30 funds obtained the GreenFin label, representing €7bn.
The success of the ecological transition cannot be ensured without support for companies as they transform their energy mix and their business models
Aware of the urgency of issues raised by the climate crisis, the Paris Financial Centre said it is taking on new commitments to help reach the objective established by France and other European countries of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. These commitments are:
- encouraging members to adopt a coal divestment strategy, with a defined divestment timetable, and to include this in their extra-financial reporting from 2020
- conducting methodological research in collaboration with supervisory authorities on how to evaluate portfolio exposure to climate risk and assessing the alignment of investment portfolios with a 2°C scenario. The Paris Financial Centre will also contribute to the diffusion and open source standardisation of these methodologies
- monitoring commitments with the creation of an observatory to track the actions and achievements of Paris Financial Centre members in the realm of green and sustainable finance. The observatory, which will include a scientific committee, will be jointly governed by the main professional bodies (AFG, FBF, FFA, France Invest) and by Finance for Tomorrow.
The success of the ecological transition cannot be ensured without support for companies as they transform their energy mix and their business models, the Paris Financial Centre cautions, and urges public and private actors that the time has come to move forward.
According to the financial centre, its members hold a conviction that a shift of the financial sector to a model based on sustainable growth is a guarantee of quality and performance that contributes to its attractiveness on a world stage.