Article 29 of the French Energy-Climate Act
The decree implementing Article 29 of the French Energy-Climate Act ("Loi Energie-Climat"), published on 27 May 2021, confirms France's strong ambition for sustainable finance. This decree goes beyond European requirements and the SFDR regulation by introducing biodiversity into sustainability risks.
Article 29 of the Energy-Climate Act includes new requirements in terms of climate and biodiversity, an extended scope of covered actors (investment banks and real estate funds for example), and requirements in terms of extra-financial reporting ("Comply or explain").
"In June 2022, Ostrum AM published its first "Article 29 LEC and Sustainability Risks Report." It meets both the requirements of the Energy-Climate Act and those of the SFDR regulation in order to simplify information regarding the integration of ESG criteria"
Joséphine CHEVALLIER, ESG strategist
Biodiversity, the living fabric of our planet, covers all natural environments and life forms (plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, etc.) and their interactions.
IPBES - Intergovernmental Science and Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services - IPCC equivalent for Biodiversity - identified five major causes of biodiversity erosion: changes in land and sea use; the direct exploitation of certain bodies; climate change; pollution of water, soil and air; the spread of invasive alien species.
Ostrum AM has a biodiversity strategy which includes the inclusion of biodiversity-related indicators in our extra-financial scoring. In addition to having an active dialogue with issuers/companies (theme 2 of our engagement policy), we are committed to excluding issuers/companies that seriously damage the preservation of the environment and in particular biodiversity. Finally, we invest in sustainable bonds to preserve biodiversity. And we are working to calculate our biodiversity footprint, based on the methodology developed by Iceberg DataLab*.
source: Ostrum AM, September 2023. *More information on the Corporate Biodiversity Footprint (CBF) methodology at https://icebergdatalab.com/solutions.php
Bonds... Sustainable Bonds
Sustainable bonds are instruments that provide positive responses in terms of transparency and use of proceeds towards projects with environmental or social added value.
The sustainable bond market grew by 70%* in 2021, across 4 categories: green bonds (environmental projects), social bonds (social projects), sustainability bonds (environmental and social projects), and sustainability-linked bonds (bonds whose coupon level is linked to the achievement of ESG objectives).
*source: Sell-side, Climate bonds Initiative, Environmental Finance, Natixis, Ostrum AM
"Ostrum AM manages €32 billion of sustainable bonds for its clients as of end-September 2023, thanks to dedicated analysts who have developed a proprietary methodology adapted to each type of bond."
Nathalie BEAUVIR RODES, senior sustainable bond analyst
Climate Action 100+
Led by a group of investors, Climate Action 100+ is an initiative to ensure that the world’s 166 largest emitters of greenhouse gases are taking the necessary action to fight climate change: strong governance, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, transparency.
It consists of 700 international investors representing over $68 trillion in assets under management in 33 markets (source: Ostrum AM, August 2022). By joining, investors undertake to collaborate with at least one of the 166 companies identified as strategically important to ensure that they transition their activities in compliance with the Paris Agreement, and to seek commitments from these companies on the main objectives of the initiative.
Ostrum AM has joined Climate Action 100+ as a participating investor, and is thus committed to promoting the objectives of the initiative to several targeted companies, paying attention to the behaviour of each company in which it is invested, in shares and bonds. The aim is to draw attention to neglected or underestimated ESG risks and to share good ESG practices.
source: Ostrum AM, September 2023
Green Bonds are sustainable bonds that finance or re finance projects aimed at the energy and ecological transition: Renewable energy, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and control, sustainable environmental management of living natural resources and land use...Green bonds were the first sustainable bonds issued in the financial markets. Today, both private issuers and sovereign and assimilated issuers use this type of issue to finance their green projects. Green bonds dominate the market and account for about 2/3 of sustainable bonds.
"The Green Bonds Market is governed by the Green Bonds Principles* but it is an autolabellised market, where each investor assesses the sustainability of their issues. Therefore, as dedicated sustainable bond analysts, we have developed specific analysis tools and methodologies to select the most qualitative ones. At the end of September 2023, Green Bonds accounted for 69% of the €32Bn of sustainable bonds we invest in for our clients."
Nathalie BEAUVIR RODES, senior sustainable bond analyst
“Investors for a Just Transition “, the collective initiative of the Institut de la Finance Durable
L’Institut de la Finance Durable is Paris Europlace's sustainable finance initiative. In November 2021, Finance for Tomorrow launched the first global engagement coalition around the just, environmentally and socially inclusive transition: Investors for a Just Transition..
This initiative brings together managers and asset holders from the financial ecosystem to promote a socially accetable transition to low-carbon economies. It aims to encourage companies to integrate the just transition into their environmental strategy by engaging with them on a regular basis.
Ostrum AM has joined this international coalition for the Just Transition. We reaffirm our role as a responsible investor and act to encourage companies to reduce and limit their carbon footprint while taking into account social impacts.
Source : Ostrum AM, September 2023. For more information, please see: https://institutdelafinancedurable.com/
IPCC : Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The IPCC is an intergovernmental body composed of independent experts from 195 countries. Created 30 years ago, it assesses the state of knowledge about climate change, its causes, its impacts, by summarizing the scientific literature.
The last report published in March 2023, ending the sixth cycle, will be the main scientific basis for the first global review of the Paris Agreement at COP 28 in Dubai at the end of 2023. The picture is alarming: An increase in global temperature and in greenhouse gas emissions, a global warming forecast of 2.4°C to 3.5°C by the end of the century compared to the pre industrial era.
"Ostrum AM is committed to direct investors' financing towards issuers developing an ambitious climate strategy, and towards impact projects. To date, we have invested €32Bn in sustainable bonds, thanks to our dedicated analysts."
Nathalie PISTRE, Head of Research & SRI
The Paris Agreement (COP21, 2015) recognizes the imperative need for a fast and fair transition. This is the starting point for an awareness of the impacts of the ecological and energy transition on workers, communities, consumers and citizens. It is materialized by the emergence of regulations and collective action since 2015 in order to move towards a fair and inclusive transition.
The Just Transition is a transition to a low carbon world that wants to be respectful of the environment and biodiversity, and inclusive from a social and territories' point of view.
"At Ostrum AM, we have developed an impact bond investment strategy targeting three dimensions: reducing the carbon footprint, promoting a positive social impact, preserving ecosystems and local economies. Dedicated proprietary tools and indicators allow us to identify investments in support of a Just Transition."
Nathalie Beauvir Rodes, senior sustainable bond analyst
The Paris Agreement is an international treaty that aims to strenghten the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius.
The Paris Agreement is an international entered into effect on November 4, 2016. Initially ratified by 55 countries, other countries have since joined, bringing the number of signatories to 183, including the United States and China, which account for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions.
"Ostrum AM contributes to the fight against climate change through its engagement policy with companies in highly-emitting sectors and through its investment choices. We manage €279bn in "SFDR8"-qualified responsible investments, representing 86% of our assets under management (September 2023)."
Nathalie PISTRE, Head of Research & SRI
Environmental or social “pure players” are companies/issuers whose main activity is to provide environmental solutions to the energy transition or whose activities have a strong social character. Companies whose majority of activity generates environmental, climate or social benefits can be classified as pure players.
Within the framework of the European Taxonomy, the “pure players” can be considered as those whose activities or sector have a strong compatibility with the Taxonomy: for example, companies whose turnover comes from more than 80% of activities eligible for the Taxonomy.
“At Ostrum AM, as analysts dedicated to sustainable bonds, we have developed tools and methodologies for analysis and rating specific to these instruments, in order to select the most qualitative ones. We identify environmental or social “pure players” depending on whether their activities correspond to our 10 sustainable themes.”
Social Bonds are sustainable bonds that finance or re-finance projects to solve or mitigate key social problems: basic affordable infrastructure (drinking water, sanitation, etc.), access to basic services (health, housing, education, training), job creation, food security, access to digital technology, etc.
Social Bonds have grown particularly strongly in 2020 in the context of the Covid-related health crisis. Since then, they have continued to grow but at a slower pace and represent about 15% of the market. The interest of issuers is partly linked to the need for a Just Transition, which integrates social criteria into environmental projects.
The Social Bond market is framed by the Social Bonds Principles* but it is a “self-labeled” market, where each investor qualifies the sustainability of its issues. This is why Ostrum AM has dedicated analysts who have developed tools and methodologies for analysis and rating specific to Social Bonds, in order to select the most qualitative. At the end of September 2023, Social Bonds represented 12% of the €32 billion in sustainable bonds in which we are invested for our clients.
* International Capital Market Association (ICMA)
Sustainability bonds are sustainable bonds that finance or re-finance a combination of both environmental and social projects. These instruments help diversify the market, an important element for both issuers and investors.
Sustainability bonds allow issuers to clearly identify environmental projects that have social benefits or social projects that have positive environmental impacts. It is the issuer that chooses to classify its issue as Green Bonds, Social Bonds or Sustainability Bonds.
The Sustainability bond market is framed by the Sustainability Guidelines* but it is a “self-labeled” market, where each investor qualifies the sustainability of its issues. This is why Ostrum AM has dedicated analysts who have developed tools and methodologies for analysis and rating specific to sustainability bonds, in order to select the most qualitative. At the end of September 2023, Sustainability bonds represented 15% of the €32 billion in sustainable bonds in which we are invested for our clients.
* International Capital Market Association (ICMA). These Guidelines are aligned with the 4 key components of both the Green Bonds Principles and the Social Bonds Principles.
Sustainability-linked bonds are sustainable bonds that finance or re-finance the general needs of a company while promoting its CSR ambitions through a commitment to specific and costed medium- and long-term sustainable development goals. The issue is accompanied by KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure and monitor commitments made.
Since their creation in 2020, Sustainability-Linked Bonds have continued to grow: in 2021, the amount of issues has multiplied by more than ten, to nearly 100 billion dollars, or about 12% of the market. New issuers, mainly from the high yield category, have seized the opportunity to refinance through this instrument, which represents in 2023 about 5% of the market.
The Sustainability-linked bond market is framed by the Sustainability-linked bonds Principles* but it is a “self-labeled” market, where each investor qualifies the sustainability of its issues. This is why Ostrum AM has dedicated analysts who have developed tools and methodologies for analysis and rating specific to Sustainability-linked bonds, in order to select the most qualitative. At the end of September 2023, Sustainability-linked bonds represented 5% (€1 billion) of the €32 billion in sustainable bonds in which we are invested for our clients.
* International Capital Market Association (ICMA).
The European Taxonomy refers to a classification of economic activities with a favourable impact on the environment. Its objective is to direct investments towards "green" activities. Presented in 2018 as part of the action plan for sustainable finance, the "Taxonomy" Regulation was adopted by the European Union (EU) in 2020. The text is part of the 2050 net-zero or carbon neutrality target set out in the European Green Pact.
To align with the Taxonomy, eligible economic activities of organizations and financial institutions' investments must contribute substantially to at least one of the following six environmental objectives, without compromising the other objectives: climate change mitigation, adaptation to climate change, sustainable use and protection of aquatic and marine resources, transition to a circular economy, prevention and reduction of pollution, protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems.
This year, large companies with more than 500 employees and financial institutions must publish their activities and/or investments eligible for the Taxonomy. From 2023, large companies will also have to publish their activities' alignement to the Taxonomy.
At Ostrum AM, we will be able to determine portfolios' green share (share of underlying assets' turnover that contributes to the transition) as of January 2023 (requirement to report alignment of activities to taxonomy for large companies). Green share calculation will allow investors to comply with the Energy-Climate Act "Article 29" in line with the Energy Transition for Green Growth Law "Article 173-VI".
The TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures) is a working group established by the G20 in 2015 following COP21. It promotes detailed and transparent communication related to the integration of climate issues and specifies the expected climate reporting elements, focusing on 4 pillars: governance, strategy, risk management and metrics & objectives.
TCFD recommendations invite financial institutions to report on their approach to identify, manage and consider climate factors, providing clear, comparable and consistent information on the risks and opportunities related to climate change.
"Ostrum AM published its second TCFD Report detailing its actions to support the transition to a low-carbon economy and the adaptation to climate change effects. "
Transition bonds are sustainable bonds whose purpose is to bridge the gap between “already low carbon” projects, eligible for financing by Green Bonds, and those that are not. However, they do make significant progress in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Transitions bonds are mainly aimed at the industrial sector, to finance the transition of companies to a low-carbon world. Emitters commit to measurable reductions in their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The Transitions bond market does not currently have a standard definition or framework. It is a “self-labeled” market, where each investor describes the sustainability of its issues. This is why Ostrum AM has dedicated analysts who have developed Transition Bond specific analysis and rating tools and methodologies to select the most qualitative.