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Responsible Investment

A comprehensive, fully integrated ESG approach

Since 2006, ERAFP has implemented a socially responsible investment (SRI) policy that is central to the Scheme’s strategy, making it a frontrunner in the SRI arena. By incorporating sustainable development considerations in its financial management practices, ever since it was founded ERAFP has adopted a socially responsible investment approach, which it documents in its SRI charter

The ERAFP SRI charter's five values

Rule of law and human rights

 

In order to assess the extent to which issuers comply with the various essential principles of the rule of law, and their contribution to the respect and promotion of human rights, ERAFP is guided by three major principles:

  • The absence of discrimination, in all its forms;
  • Freedom of opinion and of expression and respect for all other fundamental rights;
  • Responsible management of the supply chain, with the particular aim of preventing forbidden forms of labour, and in particular the worst forms of child labour.

 

Because it is particularly attentive to all of the different issues relating to work and employment, ERAFP shall, when selecting issuers, give priority to those who:

  • Ensure responsible career management and apply forward-looking employment policies;
  • Ensure fair and sustainable distribution of the added value created;
  • Endeavour to improve working conditions;
  • Propose products and/or services with a beneficial social impact.
Social progress
Democratic labour relations

 

ERAFP shall assess the way in which issuers respect the rights of employees and other workers, and shall give priority to those who score positively on the following principles:

  • Respect for the rights of trade unions and promotion of social dialogue;
  • Improvement of health and safety conditions.

Because it is aware that all investments can have an impact on the living conditions of the citizens of today and tomorrow, ERAFP supports sustainable development activities. Accordingly, it intends to promote, in particular, the protection of the environment and sustainable land use planning. The principles applied are:

  • Documentation and implementation of an environmental strategy;
  • Control of environmental impact;
  • Control of risks linked to climate change and contribution to energy transition;
  • The environmental impact of the product or service.
Environment
Good governance and transparency

Although the public or private status of issuers shall still be taken into account, ERAFP intends to make its choices based on compliance with four main principles:

  • Good governance;
  • Protection of and respect for customer/consumer rights;
  • Prevention of corruption and money laundering;
  • Transparency and responsibility with regard to lobbying;
  • Fiscal transparency and responsibility.

The SRI values embodied in the ERAFP Charter constitute as many responses to the challenges that we collectively have to face.

Best in class approach

The best in class principle is applied to the investment process by using quantitative rules to help define the eligible investment universe. These rules are set for each asset class with the aim of fostering progress across the board. Generally speaking, this means:

  • not excluding individual business sectors, but promoting the issuers with the best ESG practices within each sector and, more generally, within groups of comparable issuers;
  • showcasing progress made;
  • monitoring and supporting issuers that have adopted a continuous improvement approach.

For investors of ERAFP's size who wish to adopt a uniform cross-cutting approach across all the asset classes in which they invest, the best-in-class approach seems to be the most consistent:

  • it applies not only to all the Scheme’s investments but also to all investment phases, from the stock-picking process to monitoring the securities or assets held following the investment;
  • it is based on a broad range of values applied across all investments, instead of on an array of theme-specific criteria;
  • it factors in links between different issues and among various issuers instead of addressing each situation separately.

Conversely, it might seem inconsistent to exclude certain business sectors completely, given that the portfolio includes issuers from other sectors or other asset classes that have direct links to the excluded sectors.

Shareholder engagement

Until 2012, ERAFP’s SRI approach mainly relied on applying environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria when selecting portfolio investments. In December 2012, the approach was enhanced by adopting shareholder engagement guidelines, intended to define a framework within which ERAFP (and/or its delegated asset managers) can fulfil their role as active shareholders. Our SRI charter states that: “ERAFP is determined to support, on a long-term basis, those organisations in which it has decided to invest, by exercising its responsibilities as shareholder or stakeholder in such a way as to sustainably promote, within these entities, practices that comply with the values it supports.”

ERAFP's involvement in collaborative engagement initiatives, in order to benefit from the experience of other investors and the positive effects of pooling resources and assets under management. This involvement covers the various areas covered by the institution's SRI approach

  • tackling climate change(IIGC, Climate Action 100+, Mirova, RE 100);
  • preventing social risks in the supply chain (PRI, Mirova, ICCR);
  • promoting best governance practices internationally (Global Asset Owners Forum, Asian Corporate Governance Association);
  • tackling aggressive tax planning practices (PRI).

A policy for voting at general meetings based on guiding principles aligned with ERAFP’s SRI approach, namely: 

  • transparency about business operations, financial performance and audit effectiveness;
  • respect for long-term shareholders, giving priority to investments and fair profit distribution policies;
  • fairness, moderation and transparency of executive remuneration;
  • fair treatment of shareholders;
  • diversity.

The voting policy is updated annually so as to build on lessons drawn from each general meeting season and make it ever more relevant.
While equity management companies implement the policy on the Scheme’s behalf, ERAFP ensures that it is correctly interpreted and that the positions expressed are consistent, by coordinating voting by its delegated asset managers for a sample of companies. In 2020, this sample comprised 40 major French companies and 20 major international companies.;

Impact investing

As an investor committed to ensuring that its SRI approach evolves in a manner consistent with its fiduciary duty, ERAFP has chosen to adopt an impact approach for part of its investments. As part of this approach, it has prioritised three specific investment areas that are compatible with its profile as a long-term investor:

ERAFP’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015 by the member States of the United Nations, constitute common guidelines for all actors to promote a sustainable future.

Investors, who continue to play a central role during transition periods as their actions will impact the “post-SDG world” in both positive and negative ways, can use several levers to achieve the SDGs:

- Integrating the SDGs in their investment decision-making processes,

- Complying with codes of good practice,

- Incorporating individual and collective commitment in their actions.

It is with this in mind that ERAFP signed the French public investors’ charter to promote the sustainable development goals, making commitments to:

  1. Incorporate the SDGs in its investment strategy: targeted actions to achieve priority SDGs.
    • SDG 13 “Action to combat climate change” for tackling climate change;
    • SDGs 8 and 9 "Decent work and economic growth" and "industry, innovation and infrastructure" for supporting economic activity and employment;
    • SDG 11: "Sustainable cities and communities", for the financing of intermediary housing.
  2. Ensure that internal operations comply with the SDGs; adoption of internal operating principles compatible with the SDGs (responsible management approaches for personnel, premises, purchasing, etc.).
  3. Assess the impact of its activities on the SDGs: inclusion in its non-financial reporting of the results of its contribution to the specific targets set for the priority SDGs.
  4. Disseminate best practices: disseminating best practices to promote the SDGs to its staff and peers, as well as through in-depth dialogue with companies, financial institutions and other stakeholders for which it is a shareholder, creditor, delegated manager or partner.

 

Disclosure regulation

ERAFP implements the provisions of Articles 3, 4 and 5 of European Regulation 2019/2088 of 27 November 2019 on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector, which require entities subject to the legislation to publish on their websites:

  • their policies on incorporating sustainability risks into their investment decision-making processes;
  • their policies on taking into account the main adverse impacts that investment decisions have on sustainability factors;
  • information on how they incorporate sustainability risks into their remuneration policies.

Publications

To know more about SRI

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Socially responsible investment (SRI):

what are we talking about?

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2005

Decision to invest all the Scheme's assets based on an SRI approach

2006

Signature of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)/Adoption of the SRI charter

2009

First adjustments to the SRI rating framework

2011

Ongoing diversification of investments

2012

Adoption of shareholder engagement guidelines

2013

Participation in collaborative engagement initiatives

2014

Publication of the carbon footprint of ERAFP’s equity portfolio

2015

ERAFP joins the Portfolio Decarbonisation Coalition (PDC)

2016

Publication of the new SRI charter

2017

Investments aligned more closely with the fight against climate change

2018

ERAFP implements TCFD recommendations

2019

Signing of the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge and withdrawal from the tobacco industry

2020

ERAFP joins the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance