Final SRI label framework receives mixed reviews from French investors

'Disappointment' over lack of SFDR alignment, support for Paris-aligned transition plan requirements.

Mirova is “disappointed” with the lack of clear links between the French SRI label and the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) but welcomes the more ambitious framework, head of sustainability research Mathilde Dufour, has told Responsible Investor.

“We’re in the middle. It’s far better than what we had, and in some respects it’s ambitious, but its philosophy is still stuck in the past,” she said.

The French Ministry of Finance last week published the full framework for the revised SRI label, which will come into force in March. Existing funds will have one year to adapt their criteria.

The announcement in November that the new criteria would require funds to exclude investments in companies linked to coal and unconventional hydrocarbons, as well as those involved in new oil and gas projects, was welcomed by French investors.

But Dufour said the label’s minimum-weighting approach to “E, S and G” remains “outdated”, and it should be aligned with SFDR’s sustainable investment definition.

In the committee’s final consultation on the label in June, several investors called for greater alignment with SFDR.

Dufour said she is “surprised” to see such a discrepancy between the SFDR and the French label, where the only references to the EU framework are to the principal adverse indicators.

“There is no mention of taxonomy alignment, which we discussed with the label committee,” she said. “They said they wanted to ensure there is no adverse impact. But ESG is not only about reducing risks, it’s also about contributing to sustainability, which lacks in the framework.”

The full framework also specifies that, as of January 2026, 15 percent of investments in high-impact sectors must have Paris-aligned transition plans.

For the remaining investments in high-impact sectors, “strong shareholder commitment” from companies will be required that will enable an additional 20 percent of the portfolio to adopt Paris-aligned transition plans within three years.

The guidance added that the ambition threshold will be raised each year, on the recommendation of the label committee.

Dufour said the committee could have been more ambitious with its demands on transition plans, but added that the decision appeared to have been taken to ask for a lower percentage of transition plans with higher conviction behind them.

“The overall idea that portfolios need to have a credible starting point in terms of the transition, which requires the asset manager to participate in the implementation of the transition, is a good signal and quite demanding,” she said.

She added that, while Mirova does not invest in companies without credible transition plans, the challenge will be to adapt some of its disclosure and tracking tools to monitor companies’ transitioning.

Separately, a spokesperson for Amundi told RI the manager welcomed the new SRI label criteria and “fully supports” the updated framework.

“This adaptation, which places the fight against climate change and the transition at the heart of the label, will make it more demanding and easier to understand. It will allow to finance the transition of economies by mobilising client savings effectively,” they said.

Amundi will adapt its SRI-labelled funds “with the objective of keeping one of the broadest and most comprehensive offerings on the market”, they added.

The manager has more than 100 labelled funds, but declined to comment on exactly how many it will be adapting.

The French SIF also issued a statement on Monday welcoming the emphasis the new framework places on engagement, as well as the “solid requirements” on the climate front.

It praised the new demands for transition plans, calling the gradual rise of transition plan obligations “a significant step forward”.

However, the organisation “regretted” the decision not to introduce a gradation system, which it said “seems detrimental” to the deployment of the label over time.

The SRI label was first created in 2016 and has not been significantly revised until now.

The launch of the new framework this month followed a two-year review of the label’s framework and several months of consultation with the industry.