As a future maker, BNP Paribas Asset Management has put sustainability at the core of its investment process. This is reflected in our commitment to a low-carbon environment. Portfolio decarbonisation has been of primary concern in our overall strategy of sustainability integration.
In previous articles, we have explained why low-carbon investing matters with regards to both the environmental threat and its economic rationale. We went on to describe how investors have adopted decarbonisation as one of four measures, along with divestment, shareholder engagement and green investments, to take action against risks associated with climate change.
In line with this, 2020 has seen the introduction by the quantitative fixed income team of an objective of significant carbon footprint reduction as a new sustainability goal. In the multi-factor credit strategy, the team now systematically achieves a 50% carbon footprint reduction relative to the index.
Expanding the carbon footprint reduction objective to the multi-factor credit strategies
Since 2018, our multi-factor credit strategy has integrated sustainability into the investment process and portfolio construction through the following three objectives:
In 2020, we have gone a step further by incorporating a new environmental objective aligned with our views and commitments. During the course of this summer, the quantitative fixed income team decided to systematically add the following environmental objective to its strategy:
In measuring decarbonisation we apply the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, an internationally recognised greenhouse gas accounting standard. The GHG Protocol classifies a company’s GHG emissions into three ‘scopes’. Our goal of a 50% reduction in carbon footprint aims at covering scopes 1 and 2 under the GHG protocol. Scope 1 of the GHG Protocol consists of direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all the other remaining indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.
From now on, carbon footprint reduction is comprehensively implemented across all portfolios managed with a multi-factor credit investment approach. We do not believe the risk/return profile of our strategy will be impacted over the long term. While reducing by half the portfolios’ carbon footprint, they are still structured to deliver the same performance as the non-decarbonised version.
Carbon footprint reduction implemented across all our quantitative strategies
When we design, research and implement multi-factor Investment strategies, we target three main investment goals:
When it comes to the last objective, carbon footprint reduction has been implemented in our quantitative multi-factor equity strategies since 2018. However, within fixed income, due to inadequate data, particularly in the corporate bond segment, we could not replicate the carbon reduction objective in our multi-factor credit strategies.
After a concerted effort recently by the Sustainability Centre and our ESG provider, we have succeeded in obtaining a better coverage of corporate bond indices. As a result, our entire set of quantitative strategies now integrate the objective of carbon footprint reduction through issuer selection and/or stocks with a lower impact on our planet.
Both our quantitative equity and quantitative fixed income strategies now integrate the environmental objective of carbon reduction as a key feature among our sustainability integration goals. The quantitative team and the Sustainability Centre will continue to innovate in the years to come and combine efforts to integrate sustainability as a future maker. This process will include the following steps:
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 ESG Environmental, Social and Governance