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ERAFP’s equities relative carbon footprint grows after North American allocation

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French supplementary civil service pension scheme ERAFP says the carbon footprint of its equities portfolio has increased slightly against the broad equities benchmark, after an increase in allocation to North American stocks.

In the latest update of the carbon footprint measurement of its portfolio of shares in major publicly-traded companies, ERAFP said that as of December 31, 2014, the portfolio emitted on average 16% less CO2 per million euros of revenue than the reference index MSCI World.

While it described this performance as excellent, it also said this gap compared to the MSCI World was narrower than in 2013, when it had been 19%.

The pension fund said: “This is due to changes in the geographic allocation of the various categories of the portfolio.”

ERAFP’s categories included euro-zone stocks, international stocks and others, it said.

“Among other things, the 2014 launch of contracts for North American stocks, which offer a structurally less satisfactory performance in this area, had a negative impact,” ERAFP said.

The fact that the stocks it held had a lower carbon footprint than the reference index was mainly due to the pension fund’s best-in-class approach applied within each sector, it said.

It said selection of securities now contributed measurably more to the good performance of the portfolio in terms of low carbon intensity, than did the process of sector allocation.

“The positive effect of selecting securities from companies with lower-than-average carbon emissions illustrates the impact of ERAFP’s best-in-class strategy,” it said, adding that this was particularly so for its European stock portfolio.

Within this portfolio, it had worked with manager Amundi to cut the carbon footprint of one fund in this category by 40% without excluding any sector, ERAFP said.

The pension fund also said it had joined the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition, an initiative sponsored among others by UNEP and the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Separately, asset manager Comgest said it had won a €400m mandate from ERAFP together with RobecoSAM.

It said its Asia and Japan equity team would manage the mandate, focusing on Pacific-Rim equities and using a responsible investment strategy.

Philippe Desfossés, chief executive of ERAFP, said Comgest’s team had a disciplined investment philosophy with a successful long term track record in combining strong performance.

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