Stockholm (NordSip) – Laurent Jacquier-Laforge, Chief Investment Officer Equity at the French asset manager La Française met with NORDSip in Stockholm to talk about the firm’s Zero Carbon strategy. Pierre Schoeffler, Senior Global Asset Allocation and SRI Advisor and Priscilla Hue, Sales Manager Northern Europe were also present and shared perspectives on the SRI investment space both in the Nordics and in France.
The firm has developed an interesting approach to climate friendly investing, which, according to Jacquier-Laforge, is not directly comparable to a usual low carbon strategy. “Some indexes for example,” Jacquier-Laforge explains, “give you a good conscience by optimizing their constituents’ weights under a carbon constraint. What we do is different.” La Française has engaged internal resources as well as external consultation, such as the French consultant Carbone 4, which specializes in researching Scope 3 carbon footprint for example.
“Our fund is in effect Zero Carbon because we literally offset the residual carbon footprint of our portfolio by investing in what we call Carbon Solution Providers. These are companies that innovate and help reduce carbon emissions overall,” Jacquier-Laforge explains. “We like to talk about avoided emissions instead of decarbonization.” This approach takes into account the so-called Scope 1 and 2 and is working on integrating Scope 3 in carbon footprint determination, which is rarely considered in climate-conscious investment vehicles.
The fund that the firm proposes to its institutional clients has a long-only global equity mandate, to be potentially compared to the MSCI World All countries. “It is important to us that our benchmark includes all countries, as many of the Carbon Solution Providers are to be found in the new economies. China has to be innovative due to the country’s pollution issues. Another example is the Philippines where we have found interesting opportunities,” says Jacquier-Laforge.
The La Française team is particularly keen on the Nordic market, not least because both Jacquier-Laforge and Schoeffler have worked in Sweden before and therefore know the market well. “It is clear that the Nordic region is currently the most sensitive to the responsible investment theme. In fact the Swedish AP funds have been an inspiration for the French state pension system in that dimension,” Jacquier-Laforge adds.
Pictures (c) NordSip