French set up SRI forum to lobby business and investorsApril 2001
A forum to encourage more socially responsible investment in France has been created in Paris.
The launch of Forum pour LInvestissement Responsable on 8 March was attended by more than 100 figures in the French investment and corporate world.
The new group is modelled on similar social investment fora in the UK and the US. It will lobby French businesses and fund managers to take greater account of social and environmental issues.
Among those who have pledged their support for the new organization are Bernard Esambert, president of the Banque Arjil, Herve de Lattre of Expertise Asset Management and Thierry Deheuvels of AXA Investment Managers.
Its president will be the consultant Patrick Boulte and its vice president is Eric Loiselet, a partner of the Paris-based Terra Nova Conseil consultancy.
A search has now begun for corporate sponsors to support forum research projects, conferences and other initiatives.
FTSE has consulted the forum in order to make contact with those French companies most active in the field of CSR, for its planned European index.
The forums foundation comes as the French government prepares to implement a new law requiring fund managers of employee savings plans to state their position on SRI (EP10, 2001), and at a time when interest among French companies in SRI is increasing rapidly.
According to Terra Nova Conseil, which is one of the founder members of the forum, the number of SRI funds in France rose from four in 1996 to 27 in 2000, with $696million (£488m) under management, compared with $237m in 1996.
The launch of the French forum - along with the recent creation of a German sustainable investment forum (EP10, 2001) - means the establishment of an umbrella group for the various social investment bodies in Europe has now moved a step closer.
General proposals on the creation of a pan-European umbrella group, with the working title of Eurosif, were discussed at a meeting held in London last month and attended by a number of social investors from European countries.
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