Interview with Florence Fontan, Global Head of Asset Owners, BNP Paribas Securities Services
Mar 9, 2018
Climate Action had the pleasure of speaking with Florence Fontan about BNP Paribas' activities in the sustainable finance world and their new initiatives in partnership with Sycomore Asset Management.
Could you please introduce yourself and your role within BNP Paribas
I’m the global head of asset owners at BNP Paribas Securities Services. Asset owners are insurance companies, pension funds and official institutions. My job is to set the strategy around the types of products or solutions we should offer to clients, and then to ensure we as an organisation are aligned to that strategy. I’m also the senior sponsor of our role as a PRI signatory and the senior sponsor of our ESG reporting and analytics tool that we offer to clients.
How, as a bank, do you support the transition towards a more sustainable world?
That’s a good question.
Across the whole bank, we’re determined to be a responsible bank and to ensure we have the capability to assist our clients to reach their sustainability goals. It’s a really important part of our organisation and our culture.
Our targets and policies reflect our commitment to sustainability, these include
- More than double our financing to the Renewable Energy sector from 2015 to €15bn by 2020
- Invest €100m in energy efficiency and clean-tech start-ups by 2020 – with a focus on gap technologies
- Embed a dedicated Sustainable Finance programme to meet the needs of institutional and corporate clients – we have 500 people globally with sustainable finance in their KPIs
- Reduce our global carbon footprint by 25% by 2020
We provide access to a full range of sustainable finance and investment options. This includes ESG reporting, sustainable bonds, responsible indices. So it means providing the analytics and reporting through to assisting our clients to adapt their business, whether they are implementing a supply chain CSR programme, or financing green projects.
How are you working with Sycomore Asset Management to develop tools and analytics for investors to make more informed decisions?
Sustainability is complex. No one has all the answers. We therefore also promote research and thought leadership on sustainable topics. And we look to bring clients together to make sense of some very challenging topics whether its ESG analysis or the impact of carbon pricing on securities.
Sycomore was an existing client so we were already very aware of each other’s interest in sustainability and our complementary strengths. Sycomore came to us to talk about the Net Environmental Contributor (NEC) that they were developing. The NEC indicator assesses the contribution alignment of a company’s overall activities towards energy and ecological transition, and measures the degree to which a business model is aligned with climate change goals.
We were happy to partner with Sycomore to accelerate the deployment of the NEC on a wide scale, and we’re doing that by testing and applying the NEC to over 1,000 companies.
What else do asset owners need to integrate ESG into their investment decision-making?
Indicators like the NEC are an important part of the E in ESG, and environment is a very difficult piece of the puzzle. In fact a recent survey of ours showed that the E risks are among the hardest to analyse. But it’s only part of the story and asset owners need a comprehensive view of risks that can impact their investments. So investment decision-making needs to integrate all types of risks, ESG, counterparty, country risk etc.
That’s why we have developed an ESG reporting tool that looks at ESG scores of a company, controversies surrounding that company, its business involvement and its carbon footprint, BUT that is part of an overall set of risk and performance analytics.
Florence Fontan will be taking part in the “Environmental data for sustainable investment” panel during the Sustainable Investment Forum Europe on the 13th of March 2018 in Paris