French government introduces award for investor climate disclosures to foster best practice

Environment Minister Ségolène Royal to host awards ceremony later this year

France’s Environment Minister Ségolène Royal has announced the launch of the ‘Award on Investor Climate-Related Disclosures’, as the country’s new law introducing mandatory climate change-related reporting for institutional investors comes into force.

It comes as Paris-based boutique Sycomore Asset Management and fund manager Mirova are among the first to receive a government-endorsed label qualifying French funds helping the country meet its energy transition goals recently enshrined in law.

In August, France’s National Assembly voted in favour of climate change reporting obligations as part of the country’s wide-ranging energy and ecology transition law; effective since the beginning of January it represents one of the world’s most comprehensive shifts to public sustainable finance data.

To support the new requirements, the French Ministry of the Environment and NGO 2° Investing Initiative has launched the Award on Investor Climate-Related Disclosure or the 2° Invest Award, and will be consulting with stakeholders on how to take it forward.

A spokesman said the awards primary purpose will be to foster the emergence of best practices on climate change reporting, inform existing international initiatives on climate-related disclosure for investors, and set the bar for French investors.

It is proposed that the awards focus on three elements included in the new law: assessment of climate-related risk exposure; contribution to the energy and ecological transition; and ESG integration in the investment and voting policies.

Draft criteria of the award will be shared in mid-June for feedback, and in July a multi-stakeholder group including policymakers, NGOs and investor groups will review the draft criteria together.The deadline for submission of reports is October 15; as this falls outside normal annual reporting cycle, entrants can submit reports that are not completely final, but will be published by May 2017.

The awards ceremony, hosted by Royal, is to be held on November 4.

All institutional investors and fund managers are encouraged to apply, whether they are covered by the law’s requirements or not. The 2° Investing Initiative will provide support to award applicants.

Meanwhile, the fund Sycomore Eco Solutions and three funds managed by Mirova are among the first to get a new label qualifying French funds helping the country meet its energy transition goals.

The Energy and Ecology Transition for the Climate (EETC) certification was launched this year by the French Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs to “boost the offering of savings products focused on financing the green economy”.

French research and media company Novethic, an auditor of EETC certification, announced last week that Sycomore Eco Solutions had become the first fund to receive the label.

The equity fund, from Sycomore Asset Management, invests in companies whose business model, products, services or production processes are linked to the energy transition.

And this week, Mirova, the responsible investment division of Natixis Asset Management, has announced that the Mirova Environmental Europe Equity Fund, Mirova Green Bond– Global and renewable energy infrastructure fund Mirova-Eurofideme 3 have been awarded the EETC, audited by Ernst & Young.