Paris Green Finance Dinner

France is a key ally and player in Ireland’s green finance agenda

Big opportunities for French capital to deploy  into Irish low-carbon projects that benefit both countries, will multiply in the coming months and years, attendees at a Paris event on sustainable and green finance were told last night.

The Irish embassy in Paris was the venue for a ‘Green Embassy Dialogue’ event attended by government officials and representatives from key French banks and financial groups including BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Euronext and Amundi.

The dinner was co-hosted by the Irish Ambassador to France, Ms. Patricia O’Brien and Sustainable Nation Ireland, the body tasked with promoting Ireland as a global hub for sustainable finance. Previous ‘Green Embassy Dialogue’ events have been held in Berlin and London.

Raising awareness of Ireland’s attractiveness as a location to manage, domicile, service, list or deploy low-carbon capital is central to Sustainable Nation Ireland’s mission, as outlined in the Government’s IFS 2020 Financial Strategy.

Last night’s Paris event highlighted Ireland’s future domestic low-carbon financing needs and showcased collaboration in green finance between France and Ireland.

Under President Emmanuel Macron, the Paris climate change agreement, which saw 197 countries pledge to limit global warming to 2°C, has become a key priority.

Recent developments include:

  • French insurance giant Axa is to offload an additional €3 billion of its investments in coal and oil sands companies, and is to phase out the insurance of new coal construction projects
  • Bank Société Générale and French financial firm Mirova will no longer finance oil sands or Arctic oil production.
  • BNP Paribas has announced that it will cease financing shale energy firms and increase lending to renewable energy projects by €15 billion to 2020.

Commenting, Sustainable Nation Ireland CEO Stephen Nolan said: “There is already a significant and growing two-way flow between Ireland and France in low-carbon investment and innovation.

 “Last night was an opportunity to explore how best to increase collaboration in green finance between France and Ireland.

 “There is a real focus now on supporting international collaboration. A recent example is Dublin and Paris joining other world cities in a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)-led network of green finance hubs, called the Casablanca Declaration.”

Irish located firms are already investing hundreds of millions of euro in developing French-based renewable energy projects. These include Cork-based Amarenco, which in partnership has invested an estimated €300 million and employs 50 people in Gaillac.

In addition, leading French asset manager Amundi has a shareholding in Irish located KBI Global Investors (a €10 billion plus natural resource focused asset manager).  Amundi also recently purchased global asset manager Pioneer, which has a large Dublin presence, and won a Central Bank tender to manage €240 million in funds on its behalf. Those who tendered had to be members of the UN Principles of Responsible Investment.

 

Picture (L toR): Catherine Langlais, General Counsel, Euronext; Stephane Crouzat, Ambassador to Ireland, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France; Derek Kehoe, CEO, BNP Paribas Ireland. 

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