Do you want a more just and sustainable future? Of course, the French are answering yes. They want to put their money where their mouth is by using their savings to fund that better world. But there is a little hiccup: the overwhelming majority of savings products support polluters, arms manufacturers, and companies with low human rights standards.
Reclaim Finance studied 442 funds (1) commercialized in France (notably through life insurance, PEA, PER..), searching for five types of companies: the largest greenhouse gas emitters (2), companies with low human rights standards (3), arms manufacturers (4), coal companies (5) and companies that are involved in major scandals (6). A few examples of these companies are Total, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Amazon, Fortum, Bayer, Novartis, and Lockheed Martins.
The results are alarming. 86,2% of the funds – 381 funds – are exposed to selected companies. They hold on average 29.5 companies that account for 9% of their worth.
Furthermore, selected companies are much more present in a substantial part of the funds. They account for more than 10% of the weight of 183 funds. It gets worse: 5 funds contribute to financing more than 200 selected companies, and these companies make up more than 40% of 9 funds.
Even funds that obtained the French label « socially responsible investment » are as socially and environmentally harmful as others: 94% of these funds are exposed to selected companies, and some are even highly exposed.
In sum, while 62% of French savers want to take environmental and social issues into account (7), 9 out of 10 funds harm the planet and our society. If more than 60% of French savers do not want to fund fossil fuels or arms manufacturers (8), doing so can be challenging when more than 60% of the funds help the biggest GHG emitters or weapons producers in the world.
The situation is unacceptable. The French government, Parliament, and financial institutions must require all financial products commercialized in France to be compatible with the Paris Agreement’s goals at the very least. This notably means excluding all companies that plan new fossil fuel projects and requiring companies to adopt 1.5°C alignment plans progressively.
Products that claim a sustainable, responsible, or green credential need to go further by significantly contributing to these goals. To do so, they would exclude unconventional oil and gas and prepare a complete fossil fuel phase-out by 2040 in the EU/OECD and 2050 worldwide. They would also uphold higher social standards by excluding arm manufacturers, companies sentenced for fraud, or involved in significant scandals.
Additionally, to provide more transparency and help people understand which product has a better environmental and social impact, the French financial market authority (AMF) should implement a rating system, giving “A/B/C” type grades to products according to their environmental and social characteristics (exclusion of harmful activities, commitments to reduce GHG emissions annually…).
French savers are done being unwittingly complicit in climate chaos and human rights violations.
Read the full report (in French) :