France’s Royal outlines plans to make Paris ‘green finance home’

Minister’s speech opens France’s responsible finance week.

Ségolène Royal, France’s Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, says Paris aims to become the ‘home’ of green finance, in a speech yesterday (September 26) to open the country’s Week of Responsible Finance organised by the French SIF (FIR – Forum pour l’Investissement Responsible), as it winds up to issue up to €9bn in green bonds – the first for a state.

It comes amid what amounts to a race among jurisdictions to become the home for green finance. The Luxembourg stock exchange for example, today, unveiled a new green investment platform.

Royal said the government would this week (Wednesday) be presented with the text that will start to outline the projects for the third part of its future investment programme (Programme d’investissement d’avenir – PIA), which aims to be financed by €6bn of the total €9bn it wants to raise, based on issuance of €3bn a year over three years starting in 2017.
The French state will issue green bonds via Agence France Trésor, its debt management body. The financing details of the bonds are still being worked on.
Royal also said that the final text would be issued this week for a label for green crowdfunding projects that aim to finance community renewables projects such as small scale wind and solar.
The label is part of a series that is underpinning France’s ‘label’ approach to responsible finance.France has also launched both green and SRI fund labels in recent months. The green funds label (known in France as TEEC – Transition écologique et énergétique pour le climat) is being overseen by Royal and certifies investment funds that are deemed to be promoting the clean energy transition.
The SRI quality label for investment funds is being overseen by the ministry of Michel Sapin, the French Minister of Finance and Public Accounts, and is believed to be the first time a government has publicly backed a national SRI standard. The AMF French regulator is not implicated in the governance of the SRI label but will verify the coherence of the transparency codes of label providers.

In her speech, Royal also announced that the government-backed ‘Award on Investor Climate-Related Disclosures’ would be made in Paris on October 28. The award aims to support France’s other major green finance mechanism, its new comply-or-explain law – known as Article 173 – for climate change-related reporting by institutional investors. The law requires investors in France to report information on how they integrate ESG into their investment processes, outline the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their investments and contribute to the financing of a low carbon economy.