FRANCE – French institutional investors’ allocation to socially responsible investments (SRI), has grown 128% in the last 12 months according to a study by Novethic, a subsidiary by Caisse des dépôts et consignations (CDC).

In the same period the French SRI market grew 76% to €6.9bn, of which €2.8bn came from institutional investors, Novethic said in its annual survey.

“The most remarkable rise came from institutional investors,” such as pension funds and insurance companies, Novethic observed.

Mutual fund management has registered “the most significant growth” at +138%. Assets under specialist SRI fund management rose 108%.

Institutional SRI demand typically comes from clients such as foundations (43%), religious organizations (28%) and other types of organizations (17%).

Forty-two percent of French institutional SRI investors prefers pooled investments.

“While they show a preference for investments based on sustainable development considerations, institutional clients also ask that screening techniques excluding certain sectors or businesses be used,” the firm said. “The violation of human rights is the most oft-cited criterion.”

The top five asset managers with more than €500m in SRI investments are Banque AGF, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Crédit Agricole’s IDEAM, MACIF Gestion and AXA Investment Managers.

In the dedicated fund category for institutional investors, Dexia, IXIS, HSBC, IDEAM and AGF top the list.