Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your role at BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM)?

REINFORCING THE
WAY WE INTEGRATE
ESG IN OUR INVESTMENT
PROCESS IS AN EXCITING
JOURNEY

I’ve been BNPP AM’s investment specialist dedicated to Greater China equities and Asian equities in Hong Kong since 2014. My job as an investment specialist involves marketing and promoting our capabilities, providing updates and training to our internal and external clients, and making the in-depth analysis our team performs accessible to all.
My work has been, and continues to be, an exciting journey, during which I’ve seen the investment team grow, evolve, refine their approach and, especially, reinforce the way they integrate ESG (environment, social, governance) in its investment process.

REINFORCING THE
WAY WE INTEGRATE
ESG IN OUR INVESTMENT
PROCESS IS AN EXCITING
JOURNEY



What is your background in sustainability?

Before I moved to Hong Kong, I was a portfolio management assistant for SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) funds at BNPP AM in Paris. This was my first experience in the asset management industry, and I learned a lot about the importance of ESG and the need to incorporate it in investment approach.
I continue to learn about sustainability every day in my work here in Hong Kong, thanks in large part to my colleagues, who are truly inspirational when it comes to their commitment and expertise in sustainability. In particular, I’d mention our Head of Stewardship for Asia Pacific. Starting his career as an ESG analyst, his success and experiences within investment and institutional business development roles help him today to better connect sustainability with business and investment. With a strong belief that investors can play a critical role in tackling challenges such as climate change, I think his career path is a true demonstration of his commitment. You can really see his passion for sustainability issues, which spills over into everything we do as a team.

The
interview

What does sustainability mean to you on a personal level?

THE DOCUMENTARY
« A PLASTIC OCEAN »
BY CRAIG LEESON IS
INCREDIBLY EYE-OPENING

To me, Sustainability is a must. I feel like every act counts, however small it is. More and more people are getting concerned by these issues and adapt then their consumer habits, pushing the companies to act as well on those topics.
Five years ago, BNP Paribas Group organised a movie session during lunch time in our meeting rooms to watch the documentary “A Plastic Ocean” (directed by Craig Leeson). It is incredibly eye-opening and informative. This movie made me think again on the extent of pollution in our oceans and the implications in our ecosystem. I’ve become much more conscious of my shopping habits and I’ve been reducing drastically my plastic consumption for a few years now. For example, when I get my takeaway lunch during the week, I bring my reusable lunch boxes, coffee mugs, or bags, and I usually buy products with no plastic wrapping or sustainable packaging. Beyond the limited direct impact these changes have, I believe they are effective ways to raise awareness broadly on these issues. As such, we can make a bigger impact, not only at the personal level but also at the professional level with such truly rooted ESG mindset.
In Hong Kong, BNPP AM provides us with reusable lunch boxes, cutleries and bags. I think this is an excellent initiative undertaken by the firm as I feel that together we can and must have a positive impact.

THE DOCUMENTARY
« A PLASTIC OCEAN »
BY CRAIG LEESON IS
INCREDIBLY EYE-OPENING

Do you think BNPP AM is well placed to help?

WHAT SETS US APART
IS OUR SUSTAINABILTY
CENTRE

Yes, because we take sustainability very seriously. We integrate ESG throughout our investment processes, and it forms an important part of our decision whether or not to invest in a stock – and, if we do, the size of the position we take. Our investment teams have formal meetings every week, during which they debate which stocks to invest in based on their fundamental analysis and ESG criteria.
What really sets us apart in my view is our Sustainability Centre1, which has a team based locally in Hong Kong. They sit next to our investment teams here and help them on an ongoing basis with the ESG scores they apply to their potential holdings and their active engagements with firms they invest in.
And it’s great to see that our approach is resonating with investors. As evidence of it, BNPP AM is today the most awarded asset manager for sustainable investment in the Asia Pacific region.

WHAT SETS US APART
IS OUR SUSTAINABILTY
CENTRE

What kind of difference do you want to make in your career?

The world is facing so many challenges… but together we make it a better place. I truly believe that we have a responsibility to future generations to do our best to tackle these issues right now. The question is how. How can we make sure that we achieve better outcomes, not only on the environmental side, but also for society? The finance industry has a critical role to play in allocating capital in a way that ensures positive outcomes both for the performance of our clients’ assets and the world we live in. I want to push in that direction, bringing new ideas to the table to our clients, to my family and my friends. Working at BNPP AM, I’m able to do just that. I am convinced that we can promote greater adoption of sustainable investment through raising awareness on ESG challenges and promoting collaboration between stakeholders. I'm passionate about my role because I love my job and the tasks that I’m set, and also because I love the feeling of being part of a big group that’s working together to create long-term value, adopting a sustainable approach to investment. This is fully in line with my personal beliefs.

BNPP AM IS THE MOST AWARDED
ASSET MANAGER FOR SUSTAINABLE
INVESTMENT IN ASIA PACIFIC

1 In 2017, we created the Sustainability Centre, which is now a 25-person, multi-disciplinary expert group which provides investment teams with sustainability research, analysis and data. The Sustainability Centre also supports teams in developing sustainability-themed products and fully integrating sustainability-related risks and opportunities into investment strategies.

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