Caisse des Depots to Divest Stocks That Don't Tackle Emissions

  • Financial group to cut carbon footprint of portfolio by 20%
  • Only half of SBF120 companies have emission targets, CEO says

Caisse des Depots & Consignations, France’s largest state-controlled financial institution, said it plans to divest shares of companies that don’t make efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

Caisse des Depots aims to reduce the average carbon footprint of its listed-stock portfolio by 20 percent from 2014 to 2020, the Paris-based company said Tuesday in a statement. The group and its CNP Assurances and Bpifrance units, which hold shares in 100 French companies listed on the SBF120 index, valued the portfolio at 55 billion euros ($58 billion) at the end of last year.

“If the voluntary reduction of emissions by companies held in the portfolio is insufficient in the medium term, the group will reallocate” investments, Caisse des Depots Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Rene Lemas said on a conference call. “Half of the companies of the SBF120 have greenhouse-gas reduction targets, and the other half, not really.”

By the end of the year, the group, which is already “weakly exposed” to coal, won’t hold any listed stocks or debt of companies that get more than a quarter of their revenues from thermal coal. In the longer term, it won’t directly invest in any securities where coal represents more than 20 percent of revenue.

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