Two women involved in sustainable finance give us their perspectives on the issues at stake: Héloïse Tassone, Director of the Wealth Management Solutions Department and member of the Executive Committee, and Stéphanie Agrefilo, Head of the Investment Advisory Department and CSR advisor for the private bank in Monaco.
Stéphanie, what is the role of a CSR advisor?
Stéphanie Agrefilo: It is both to ensure that all employees have an in-depth understanding of CSR, and to communicate to staff the various initiatives being implemented within the Société Générale group and rolled out in Monaco. We also try to rally our customers to the environmental cause. Last year we entered into a partnership with Second Life, a company that collects plastic waste on beaches in Thailand. Our customers took part in this collection via their investments, and the equivalent of 40 tonnes of plastic was collected. Through an identical process, Société Générale Private Banking Monaco has funded the planting of 14,000 trees in France since 2020.
Picture: Stéphanie Agrefilo, Head of the Investment Advisory Department.
Héloïse, is performance still an important criterion?
Héloïse Tassone: We need to develop a consistent approach to sustainable investment, performance and CSR. The companies we invest in on behalf of our customers are selected on the basis of financial and extra-financial criteria, so we go well beyond standard financial analyses, while keeping in mind returns. For example, by selling the Moorea Fund-Sustainable Climate action fund, which has been awarded the Greefin Label – France Finance Verte, we are offering an investment solution that is totally dedicated to energy transition. This equity fund includes international companies operating in sustainable eco-sectors. They create solutions that actively contribute to environmental transition: renewable energies, energy efficiency, green transport, green buildings, sustainable agriculture and the circular economy. Moorea Fund-Sustainable Climate action will offer significantly reduced carbon intensity compared with other funds on the MSCI World Index of global equities.
Picture: Héloïse Tassone, Director of the Wealth Management Solutions Department.
How do you stand out, given that all financial institutions are now subject to regulations that make it impossible to ignore ESG?
Stéphanie Agrefilo et Héloïse Tassone:
Firstly, because Société Générale group has already been committed to CSR for several years, and integrated ESG criteria in its management decisions well before the new regulations were announced. For example, the Bank has stepped up its targets by announcing a goal of reducing carbon emissions connected with its operations by 50% between 2019 and 2030, by reducing the energy required for its premises, IT, air travel and vehicle fleet. By the end of 2022, the group had reduced its carbon footprint by -35% compared with 2019, in line with its goal.
Beyond the environment, we attach great importance to the social context. The group is taking robust action with regard to supporting women in the company and diversity in the broad sense. All the group’s managers have taken training courses on diversity and inclusion, for example on the inclusion of LGBT+ individuals. We stand out because of the number and variety of our actions, across all levels, in particular at the level of the management committee.
It’s a great example of our broadmindsed approach to governance!