"we must measure the risk that climate change poses to companies, but also the impact of companies on climate change"

L'Elysée announced on June 3 the launch of an international initiative, supported by the State, aimed at the creation of a business behavior data platform towards climate change. A project which must be officially presented to the public in the very next few days, in New York, during the general assembly of the United Nations which is held from September 13 to 26.

The objectives put forward are commendable: it is a question of producing comparable information – because it is presented in a homogeneous and centralized manner – in order to help investors invest their funds in the companies most mobilized in the low-carbon transition. For the good of the planet.

Many questions

However, this announcement raises many questions, even reservations. There is already a similar platform, created in 2000 on the initiative of British investors, the Carbon Disclosure Project (now CDP), which publishes information on the environmental impact of companies and cities. Six thousand large companies voluntarily feed it data continuously. Rather than starting from scratch, why not support its activity?

The project announced by the Elysée also mentions many American players in financial information as essential partners (Bloomberg, Moodys, etc.). Indeed, they are in the process of rapidly developing their activity as providers of climate information thanks to partnerships, and even the acquisition of specialized agencies.

Also read the column: Article reserved for our subscribers “Greenwashing”: “Companies often hide an insufficient or partial treatment of the reality of carbon emissions”

But the presidential press release curiously omits to mention European initiatives which are nevertheless of major interest.

In Europe, a dedicated organization, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG, in French, European Advisory Group on Financial Information), is precisely in the process of developing "extra-financial" standards, so that the all companies on the continent present their climate impact in a quantified and comparable manner.

Stakeholder consultation prior to finalizing these standards was completed in August. Also in Europe, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMAin English ESMA for European Securities and Markets Authority) is approached to control the activity of extra-financial rating agencies.

A conflict between two visions

A whole European ecosystem for the production of reliable climate information is therefore being put in place. It is, it seems, ignored by the promoters of the new project. Ignored? In reality, it is not a question of ignorance but of a conflict between two visions of this information.

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