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

As Head of Investment Specialists for Private Debt & Real Assets, I am the advocate of Sustainability in the Alternative Credit investment space. Part of my job is discussing investment solutions with our institutional, distribution and retail clients around the world. My role also involves acting as a bridge between the investment and sales teams for communications and strategic ideas.



How has your career developed at BNPP AM?

MAKING OUR
SUSTAINABILITY VISION
BECOME REALITY
THROUGH ACTION

I joined the firm as a result of a merger over ten years ago. Since then, I have worked in a number of roles in both sales and investments. I have experienced first-hand key changes across the company and industry, which have developed me both as a person and as a professional.
During my time here, I have been able to use work as a playground for making things happen and sustainability is an area that really makes you want to get involved. Over the past few years, the company has been making huge efforts in terms of sustainability, and it is great to play a part in making our vision become reality through the actions I take in my day-to-day work.

MAKING OUR
SUSTAINABILITY VISION
BECOME REALITY
THROUGH ACTION

The
interview

What does sustainability mean to you on a personal level?

WE TALK ABOUT THE
« 3Es » OF SUSTAINABILITY:
ENERGY TRANSITION,
ENVIRONMENTAL
PROTECTION
AND EQUALITY &
INCLUSIVE GROWTH

To me, sustainability is about improving people’s lives. At BNPP AM, we talk about the “3Es” of sustainability – Energy transition, Environmental protection and Equality & inclusive growth. The final one resonates most with me. Equality & inclusive growth is particularly pertinent in the workplace. To me, inclusive growth means being comfortable in expressing our ideas, because I believe diversity of opinions leads to better investment decisions being made. That is what I am passionate about.

WE TALK ABOUT THE
« 3Es » OF SUSTAINABILITY:
ENERGY TRANSITION,
ENVIRONMENTAL
PROTECTION
AND EQUALITY &
INCLUSIVE GROWTH

What is your role when it comes to sustainability?

My number one goal is to communicate about sustainability effectively so that we can raise awareness of what it is, what it means, and the benefits of investing sustainably for our clients. Our investment teams apply an exclusion list, and their investment processes fully integrate ESG1 factors within the credit analysis, while they can assess the ESG impact of their portfolios – I need to explain all of this to our clients. I also need to learn from the market as we are still in the early days of sustainability; so it is a question of how can we do things better and contribute to setting a higher standard?

Has the way you have communicated about sustainability changed over time?

Over the past 12 months, we have noticed a massive increase in client awareness of sustainability, so it is vital we communicate in precise terms about what we do. Part of my role is to highlight how the investment teams work in collaboration with our Sustainability Centre2. Instead of speaking the old language of the investment process and then ESG as an afterthought, now we talk about how ESG factors and credit factors are combined in the process as one.

Do you think BNPP AM does sustainability better than other companies?

THERE ARE MORE
THAN 70 NATIONALITIES
AMONGST OUR
WORKFORCE

I think the company has taken sustainability extremely seriously, and that we are tackling it at different levels. What resonates with me is its commitment to inclusive growth. Moreover, the diversity we have at this company is amazing, with more than 70 nationalities amongst our workforce. This is truly exceptional, with multiple cultures working together. I believe that diversity is crucial if we are to innovate effectively and represent the diverse range of clients that we serve. That is, we are preparing the next generation of people working in asset management with a new and fresh perspective. That said, there is still work to be done – for example, as with most industries, gender diversity needs to be better addressed. We have acknowledged that there is a gap, and we are coming up with actions to reduce it.

THERE ARE MORE
THAN 70 NATIONALITIES
AMONGST OUR
WORKFORCE

Does it help to be part of the BNP Paribas Group?

There is a lot of credibility from being part of a big group that is well known for its commitment to sustainable finance, and you need a critical mass to help effect change. The Group affords us that. On many occasions, I have had the chance to work in cooperation with colleagues from the Group, and witnessed first-hand the strength of our alignment.

What do you think will come next for sustainability?

Embracing sustainability is a never-ending process of improvement – just because we can nicely integrate ESG in all our processes, it does not allow us to say, “we are done”. The bar is being raised quarter by quarter, year by year. We need to make more investments in sustainability over time because more and more data will become available – we already have more data than we could ever have dreamed of just a few years ago. I think we are reaching a tipping point because the industry is being completely reshaped by sustainability – it is no longer “just” returns and fees that matter.

EMBRACING SUSTAINABILITY IS A
NEVER-ENDING PROCESS OF IMPROVEMENT

1 Environmental, Social and Governance
2 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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