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France opens consultation on tightening Article 173

Treasury requests market views on new draft decree

France’s Treasury (Le Ministère de l'Économie, des Finances et de la Relance: Ministry of Economy, Finance and Growth) has opened a market consultation for feed-in on plans to tighten up the landmark Article 173 regulation on ESG and climate change reporting.

The Treasury said the consultation had three aims in its evolution of Article 173. 

The first is to deepen reporting to Article 173 based on the targets of the Paris Agreement and build out information on investor contributions to the energy and ecology transition, as well as the alignment of current investment strategies to those targets; notably with reference to fossil fuel investments and the green taxonomy developed under the EU’s Action on Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth.

The second aim is to test Article 173 against France’s energy-climate law (Loi énergie-climat), especially in terms of risk reporting based on climate change and biodiversity loss.

The third is to evaluate the lessons of the last five years in terms of companies’ (including finance groups) reporting to Article 173, while looking at how further reporting to the G20-backed Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) can work in terms of existing corporate/investor strategy, governance, risk management and current ESG and climate measurements and targets.

In 2015, France introduced its law on energy transition for green growth, with guidelines on ESG reporting requirements, in particular relating to climate change. The requirements of the law are regularly referred to as ‘Article 173’.

Recent reviews of Article 173, however, have found that French companies and investors are falling far short in meeting the reporting requirements.

The current consultation will feed into a new reporting framework under Article 29 of a draft law from late 2019: la loi n°2019-1147 du 8 novembre 2019 which the government says is a significant advance in terms of ESG reporting and integration into investment decisions. 

The draft decree for the new regulation can be seen here (in French).  

Response to the consultation, which closes on February 21, should be sent to consultation-reportingesg@dgtresor.gouv.fr