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Sustainable development, global warming, energy and environmental change… Like other sectors, the financial world needs to adapt to these challenges. Update from Maeva Burel, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s Finance Manager.

Can financial players facilitate the transition to a more resilient and resilient model?

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“Sustainable funding is about directing capital at our level to best support environmental and social change,” said Maeva Burel, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s Sustainable Finance Manager.

In the economic system, these are financial entities – banks, insurance companies, management companies and more. – direct capital. It is they who provide loans, invest and support the real economy, the most important cog of which is. They have many interactions, whether with their clients, businesses, local authorities, institutional investors, and so on. Thus, these financial players play a role in accelerating the transition to a more sustainable model of economic growth. This is a real responsibility to society and, more broadly, to the planet. We are regularly informed about global warming and its consequences. No one can ignore this anymore: time is running out. Therefore, we must accelerate the ecological transition, taking into account social issues.

How does Crédit Mutuel Arkéa take measures for stable financing?

By directing financial flows to more sustainable initiatives that are more respectful of the environment and society. By supporting projects that have fewer negative consequences or side effects, or even have a positive impact, we contribute to changing the future. As a local financial player, we also have the opportunity to support our clients and members, our stakeholders, in their own transitions. We can do this by providing sound advice, connecting you with partners or developing relevant offers and banking services. Sustainable funding, which is a fundamental movement, is to direct capital at our level to best support environmental and social change. We play our part in this serious problem because we are convinced that it is our responsibility to support change in the future.

How specifically are these orientations expressed in your activities?

Stable financing is reflected in changes in the practice of our professions of financiers and investors. The governing bodies of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, its Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, in particular, reaffirm our commitment to our values, our goal and our DNA as a joint and cooperative bank. Then the operating devices are deployed. We have an ambitious roadmap that engages us with our stakeholders. In line with Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s climate strategy, we have adopted a sectoral policy with a firm commitment to completely abandon coal by the end of 2027 and unconventional fossil fuels by the end of 2030. This means, for example, that we do not fund new fossil fuel projects. This course of action implies a certain rejection, but our ambition is, above all, to support everyone in the direction of a more sustainable model.
In general, in the context of our investments and funding, we complement our financial analysis by taking into account environmental, social and management criteria (ESG).

How about the product line?

We develop new themed or branded savings products that allow customers to make more sense of their investments. In the same vein, we offer funding subsidies to certain companies if they improve their social responsibility, as well as specific funding to support the environmental transition of professionals in the agricultural and wine sectors.
In addition to being a debt issuer in the financial markets, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa also meets the requirements of institutional investors, who place increasing importance on non-financial results in addition to financial results.
This is a global dynamic that needs to be implemented and maintained. The idea is to achieve a decent value creation circle to create a more sustainable economy and finances.

Have you already recorded tangible results?

At the end of 2021, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s outstanding loans to individuals to finance sustainable mobility or energy renovation projects amounted to € 560 million. As for business, the debt on loans for the transition period amounted to about 516 million euros, including 506 million euros of debt related to the financing of renewable energy. In the small and medium business segment, ETI and local authorities, the PACT loan, launched in 2020 by our subsidiary Arkéa Banque Entreprises et Institutionnels, had a debt of € 500 million.
In addition to these few figures, I especially retain the added value of project support. Raising our clients’ awareness of the topic, pedagogy, or support in implementing the approach adds a lot to our relationships with our various stakeholders. There is a real connection between trust and intimacy. Then the concept of cooperation acquires its full meaning. These are results that are better, but which motivate us to continue our approach. The latter, as part of the long-term perspective, will be realized over time.

What should be the next step?

I would talk more about the next steps, set. The financial sector is gradually being mobilized. Initiatives have emerged in the banking sector. We also participate in some of them, in particular through seminars aimed at identifying best practices, choosing common definitions of sustainable financing, establishing methodologies for measuring non-financial results, and so on. Work is very important. They provide an opportunity to share the vision of each actor, their feedback, the difficulties that have arisen. And, from there, adjust things. We cannot wait for the framework of sustainable funding to completely dry before we act, especially as we evolve in a constantly changing world, concerned about crises, whether medical, geopolitical or otherwise. French and European rules are also accelerating. On the ground, to support the real economy, our role is important, both today and in preparation for tomorrow. We follow the logic of continuous improvement for all the group’s businesses. In a way, the approach is small steps, but which allows us to be on the move from now on.

Interview with Sandra Pellen