BNP Paribas Asset Management (‘BNPP AM’) announces that it is to become the asset management sponsor of the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment (‘GRASFI’), the network of leading research universities around the world established to promote rigorous and impactful academic research into sustainable finance and investment.
High-quality academic research can inform developments in both the theory and practice of sustainable finance and investment, helping to align the financial system with global environmental sustainability. This is a necessary condition for the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
Founded in 2017, GRASFI now consists of 19 global research universities with expertise in sustainable finance and investment, and aims to promote multi-disciplinary research by developing collaboration between academic researchers, as well as fostering the development of graduate students and junior academics. Sponsorship will take the form of financial support for the annual academic conference held by GRASFI members. BNPP AM will also consider providing grants to designated PhD students to fund discrete research projects.
GRASFI will hold its inaugural conference on 5-7 September 2018 at the European Centre for Corporate Engagement (‘ECCE’) at Maastricht University School of Business and Economics. The conference, entitled ‘Managing and Financing Responsible Businesses’, will host researchers from around the world who will present peer-reviewed academic papers on areas including finance, accounting, management, strategy, law and development economics.
Jane Ambachtsheer, Global Head of Sustainability at BNP Paribas Asset Management and Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto, comments: “We are very pleased to embark on this partnership with the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment. Issues such as climate change, population growth and social inequality pose new and complex risks, and it is our duty to address these on behalf of our clients, society as a whole and future generations. Accessing emerging academic research and hosting academic interns within our organisation will inform and support this aim. It will also help us to solve complex issues such as how to measure the social and environmental impact of investments. In addition, asset managers must actively engage in public debate to help create a global economy that is more equitable and more respectful of the environment, and our sponsorship of GRASFI will help to support research that could lead to major progress towards a more sustainable world.”
Rob Bauer, Professor of Finance, Maastricht University and Co-Chair of GRASFI, comments: “The value of GRASFI will be greatly enhanced through active engagement with investment practitioners, and BNP Paribas Asset Management’s leadership on sustainable investing makes them an ideal partner. We look forward to a collaborative and dynamic relationship.”
Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford and Co-Chair of GRASFI, comments: “There is significant and growing interest in sustainable finance and investment among practitioners, policymakers and civil society, and the breadth and depth of academic research needs to keep pace. GRASFI aims to nurture the emerging academic field, including by supporting PhD students and early career researchers. BNP Paribas Asset Management’s sponsorship will help us do that.”
About BNP Paribas Asset Management
BNP Paribas Asset Management is the investment management arm of BNP Paribas, one of the world’s major financial institutions. Managing and advising on assets of EUR 560 billion as at 30 June 2018, BNP Paribas Asset Management offers a comprehensive range of active, passive and quantitative investment solutions covering a broad spectrum of asset classes and regions. With more than 500 investment professionals and around 400 client servicing specialists, BNP Paribas Asset Management serves individual, corporate and institutional investors in 72 countries around the world. Since 2002, BNP Paribas Asset Management has been a major player in sustainable and responsible investing.
About BNP Paribas Asset Management’s responsible investment approach
BNP Paribas Asset Management has been a major player in sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) since 2002. BNPP AM has implemented its own responsible investment policy, applying environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to all its collective investments. It has also implemented BNP Paribas Group sector policies that ban investments in specific companies operating in controversial sectors. BNPP AM supplements this approach by systematically exercising its shareholder voting rights and through its participation in major organisations involved in these issues, thereby actively contributing to the public debate. BNPP AM has been a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) since 2003 and was a founding signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2006. BNPP AM was also one of the first mainstream investment managers to sign the Montreal Carbon Pledge, in May 2015, and to join the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition (PDC), demonstrating its desire to take concrete action through SRI investment strategies, energy transition and climate preservation. As at 31 December 2017, BNPP AM managed nearly EUR 35 billion of assets in SRI strategies.
About the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment
The Alliance consists of the following global research universities:
1. University of California, Berkeley
11. University of Otago
2. University of Cambridge
12. University of Oxford
3. Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE)
13 Stanford University
4. Columbia University
14. Stockholm School of Economics
5. Ecole Polytechnique – ENSAE ParisTech
15. University of Toronto
6. Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
16. Tsinghua University
7. University of Hamburg
17. University College London
8. Imperial College London
18. Yale University
9. London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
19. University of Zurich
10. Maastricht University
The Alliance is run by an Organising Committee consisting of representatives from each Member University, currently co-chaired by Professor Rob Bauer (Maastricht University) and Dr Ben Caldecott (University of Oxford). For more information, please visit: sustainablefinancealliance.org. The conference schedule is available here: https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/sites/default/files/full_programme_overview_conference_5-7_september_2018_0.pdf.