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Natixis And EDHECinfra Team Up To Evaluate The Impact Of ESG On Infrastructure Investing

Date 07/10/2019

Infrastructure benchmark pioneers to create measures and indices of the increasingly significant impact of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) factors on infrastructure investments

Natixis and EDHECinfra launch today a new three-year research chair, directed by the same team that created an unlisted infrastructure indexing platform. The chair's aim is to create useable, comparable documented measures of the impact and risk profile of social and environmental factors on infrastructure investments.

ESG refers to the central factors in measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of an investment in a company or business. Despite its relevance to today's financial world, few holistic and systematic measures exist to help investors to track ESG outcomes and related risks.

The first aim of the Research Chair will be to produce a comprehensive but compact analysis of ESG reporting standards, taking the perspective of infrastructure companies and aiming to provide an exhaustive set of potential ESG impacts and risks. Next, using machine learning, the team will create new datasets on ESG risks and their impacts in infrastructure investments. The ultimate goal is that these will lead to the development of an infrastructure social acceptability index, as well as of measures of economic impact and of the climate risk exposure index of infrastructure assets.

"Infrastructure investments have value because they are useful over long periods of time. Social and environmental factors significantly impact this long-term value, but today we do not know how or on what scale. We can build a new area of applied knowledge, combining existing datasets with new ones created using artificial intelligence, and drawing on the depth of knowledge on infrastructure assets and investment shared between EDHECinfra and Natixis", says Frederic Blanc-Brude, director of EDHECinfra.

"We want to determine what impact better-designed, more resilient infrastructure can have, both for the economy and for investors, focusing on first-order problems like climate risk and social acceptability over the life of these investments. Ultimately, the understanding of these issues will impact investors' selection criteria and the prudential treatment when investing in the asset class", explains Anne-Christine Champion, Global Head of Real Assets, Corporate & Investment Banking at Natixis.