Euronext, the largest stock exchange in Europe, has just launched a new market index. Designed to meet recent strong demand for sustainable finance, the CAC 40 ESG index identifies the companies that demonstrate the best environmental, social and governance practices. ENGIE was immediately included in the new index. Anne Chassagnette, Group ESR director, explains what it is all about.
Anne Chassagnette: At a time when sustainable finance is all the rage, the CAC 40 ESG index identifies the best-performing companies according to three criteria: environmental practices, social practices and governance practices. It includes some thirty companies already listed in the CAC 40 index as well as about ten companies from the larger SBF 120 index. The launch of the CAC 40 ESG index demonstrates the rise of green finance. Ultimately, it will lead to new investment tools capable of attracting investors wishing to invest their money in more virtuous companies.
Anne Chassagnette: Firstly, it automatically excludes companies whose business is incompatible with ESG criteria, such as coal, controversial weapons, tobacco, etc. It takes into account the principles of the United Nations Global Compact regarding labour and anti-corruption. The French ISR (socially-responsible investment) label, created in 2016 by the French Ministry of the Economy and Finance, was chosen as a benchmark for validating a company’s integration in the index. An independent partner, Vigéo Eiris, is responsible for assessing companies by measuring company performance according to ISR and Global Compact criteria.
Anne Chassagnette: It is vital for several reasons. Our corporate purpose nurtures our principles regarding fiscal policy and green finance. So in June 2020, we joined the group of companies adhering to “The B Team’s” fiscal policies, and we are one of the largest green bond issuers with €12 billion of green bonds emitted since 2014 to finance renewable energy projects. Indeed, we believe that green finance is a key source of leverage to drive our business towards carbon neutrality. Financial performance and CSR are now interlinked and ENGIE is on track to bring them together. Our inclusion in the CAC 40 ESG index shows that the markets approve of our approach. It also demonstrates the confidence of financial analysts, at a time when ENGIE has committed to giving up its coal assets in Europe by 2025 and in the rest of the world by 2027. It represents valuable recognition by the financial community of ENGIE as a major player in sustainable finance.
“I am proud that ENGIE is joining the CAC 40 ESG, an index that takes into account criteria set by the French ISR (socially-responsible investment) label, derived from the French Ministry of the Economy and Finance, and by the United Nations Global Compact. This is valued recognition for our employees, who are committed to stepping up the energy transition.”
Catherine MacGregor, CEO of ENGIE