Four French AM heavyweights seek to outsource new ESG initiative

By Victoire Barbin Perron 28 Jan, 2020

French groups Axa Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Sycomore Asset Management, and Mirova have united to help further drive the growing ESG agenda.

The four Paris-based asset management companies plan to approach ESG measuring tools from a fresh perspective, with the help of an external partner.

Reflecting ESG-focused asset manager Calvert’s premise that strength in numbers is the only way to get things done, the coalition has launched a ‘call for expressions of interest’ to partner up with an external ESG data-provider which will focus on biodiversity specifically, rather than climate change.

Applications are open to information intermediaries with a transparent ease-of-use methodology inclusive of, among other criteria, a physical indicator of impact measurement, a life-cycle approach, aggregation of findings.

Biodiversity focus

The initiative falls within a congested arena of questionable ESG measuring tools, lacking common regulations and primarily focusing on climate change since 2015’s COP 21, which addressed major environmental concerns.

Eight leading French asset managers last summer united for the launch of the One Planet Asset Manager initiative, a common framework dedicated to speed up the integration of climate-related risks and opportunities within portfolio management.

This newly-formed alliance of asset managers has made the call to raise awareness among peers to preserve animal and plant life around the globe.

According to the 2019 report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), over a million species were critically endangered.

In a joint statement, representatives of Axa IM, BNP Paribas AM, Mirova, and Sycomore AM said: ‘We believe it is crucial that the financial community addresses this issue in the same way that it has addressed climate change. We hope that the tool we develop will be used by all market players, and that it will become a benchmark tool.’

Each of the four signatories have made independent efforts to improve their responsible investment credentials in recent years:

  • Axa IM added its as an aspect of the far-reaching re-focused on thematics it announced in 2018;
  • Sycomore AM launched an in-house SRI tool in 2018;
  • Mirova has operated as a specialist ESG investor for many years and worked to rigid carbon goals;
  • BNP Paribas AM announced a major ESG push this summer.