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The ESG Phenomenon - Amundi

Shirin Aguiar

13 December 2021

, overseeing $2.08 trillion (€1.8 trillion) of assets under management (as at 30 September), has announced that over the next three years it intends to invest all €400 billion of its actively managed ESG funds in companies that decarbonise and develop sustainability.

That figure, which represents all of its actively managed open-ended funds incorporating environmental, social and governance criteria, is aiming at a higher ESG score than the benchmark. The European company intends to achieve this by encouraging firms to speed up the move away from fossil fuels and will accordingly overweight or underweight company portfolios based on their environmental and societal priorities. It plans to implement this via a new environmental transition rating.

The firm also intends to offer open-ended funds in all asset classes with a net-zero 2050 investment objective and to reach €20 billion in assets in impact funds by that date. The funds will seek positive environmental or social performance. This impact will be measured and reported annually.

(This news service has a new programme, its Wealth For Good Awards, designed to highlight the work wealth managers are doing to drive change around the environment, society and governance. To find out more about the awards, click on this link. Submissions close on 4 February. Winners, finalists and commended entries will be celebrated in May this year.)

Amundi has also pledged to ensure that over the next three years 40 per cent of its range of passive funds will be made up of ESG funds. It will also develop Alto Sustainability, a technology analysis solution designed to support investors in deciding the environmental and social impact of their portfolio, the company said.

Among other green measures, Amundi will work with 1,000 additional companies to define strategies for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and vote at their annual general meetings for management remuneration packages to be linked to these strategies. It will also exclude from its portfolios companies that generate more than 30 per cent of their activity from unconventional oil and gas production.

Amundi said it would apply to its own business what it asks of other companies. It will track the level of achievement of the new ESG objectives (weight 20 per cent of total criteria) in setting how it remunerates its 200 senior executives. 

It has also pledged to set ESG targets for all portfolio managers and sales representatives, reduce its own employees' fossil fuel use by about 30 per cent (vs. 2018) per employee in 2025. The French firm said it will set out its climate strategy to shareholders at the next annual general meeting.

The company, which has 100 million clients and 36 offices in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and America, said it has been looking at making these commitments since 2018.

“Today, we commit to going even further to help accelerate the transformation of our society and its economic players. Our new ‘ESG Plan 2025’ is even more demanding and aims to align all of our stakeholders: investors, companies, employees, and shareholders. The acceleration of our ESG commitments will be Amundi's primary growth lever around the world,” Valérie Baudson, chief executive officer of Amundi, (pictured) said.

She added: “Acting in the best interests of our clients and society has always been in Amundi's DNA. The action plan that we developed in 2018 was based on the principle that an asset manager's task is not only to invest in the world as it is but also as it should be, with two major themes: climate change and social inequalities.”

The Amundi plan is part of the Crédit Agricole Group’s societal project, which is built around the priority areas of climate, social cohesion, and agricultural and agri-food transitions.