Agence France Trésor (AFT) has just released a new environmental impact assessment report as part of its monitoring of expenditure funded by the Green OATs. Today’s publication covers aspects of the innovation strategy of the Investments for the Future Programme (PIA), focusing on two initiatives carried out by the French agency for ecological transition (ADEME): the development of vehicles of the future and innovative pilot projects for the energy transition. utur.
The PIA, led by the General Secretariat for Investment, has been a key public policy tool since its creation in 2009. It mobilises state support to finance transformative initiatives and projects in order to enhance France's growth potential and to promote the transition to a more sustainable model. Between 2010 and 2019, the PIA has allocated €57billion to innovative projects, of which €937 million were allocated by ADEME to 705 projects.
Since the issuance of the first Green OAT in 2017, the financing of the two initiatives operated by ADEME, and concerned by this fourth evaluation report of the Green OATs, is part of the State's expenditure backed by Green OATs and represents between 2016 and 2019 an amount of €505 million, allocated to 262 projects. An ADEME survey conducted in 2019 among project leaders made it possible to measure the environmental impact for 57% of these projects via Green OATs, representing 36% of the amounts allocated to these projects under Green OATs. This statistical study is complemented by a standard case approach focusing more specifically on four projects.
The report, that highlights a broad diversity of projects involved, showcases the positive environmental and climatic impact of these initiatives. The objectives promoted by ADEME are aligned with those of France’s major strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and biodiversity, and with those of the European climate framework, with 79% of projects equating to activities covered by the EU Taxonomy for climate change mitigation. On other environmental matters, according to the declarations of the project holders, in 50% of cases, projects were found to contribute positively to air quality and about 25% of them, to water quality. And among energy transition pilot projects, 26% of them report a positive impact on biodiversity. In addition, the four case studies highlight the decisive impact of the PIA in the actual implementation of the projects and the truly innovative nature of each project. Finally, this report makes recommendations to ADEME in order to improve the quality of the data collected from the beneficiary projects.
The report, which was carried out by the teams of the French General Commission for Sustainable Development (CGDD), was supervised by the Green OATs Evaluation Council, which brings together independent experts in the fields of green finance and environmental policies. The Council defined the methodological framework for the study and appointed two independent referees, Mrs Virginie Boutueil (Ecole des Ponts ParisTech) and Mr Patrick Criqui (CNRS), to ensure the study was conducted transparently and in compliance with scientific standards.
The Council approved the results of the evaluation and commended its quality, while also recognising the limitations of the survey that was used, which was initially designed for socio-economic analysis and is strictly self-reported in nature. The Council congratulates the CGDD teams on their comprehensive work based on the scientific literature to conduct a thorough assessment that meets academic standards.
“This study is a major milestone in the Green OAT evaluation process, for two reasons: one, because it includes a detailed analysis of how the projects align with the European Taxonomy, and two, because it focuses specifically on innovative projects,” said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Chair of the Green OATs Evaluation Council, former Peruvian Minister of the Environment, President of COP20 and the Global Leader of Climate & Energy at WWF.
“The fact that the report has resulted in operational recommendations for future impact assessments is a clear illustration of the value of the Green OAT: contributing to the steering of environmental public policy,” said Cyril Rousseau, Chief Executive of Agence France Trésor.
On 24 January 2017, AFT launched the first green sovereign bond (Green OAT) in benchmark size (initially €7bn): the OAT 1.75% 25 June 2039. In doing so, it confirmed France’s leading role in meeting the ambitions set out in the Paris Climate Agreement of December 2015. In addition, on 16 March 2021, AFT launched a second Green OAT through syndication: the OAT 0.50% 25 June 2044, governed by the same framework document as the first. These two securities have been retapped since their inaugural issue and now have outstandings of €30.9bn and €11.4bn respectively, for a total of €42.3bn. These issuances are used to fund eligible green expenditure, contributing to France’s environmental and climate policy.
This green expenditure must meet one of the four objectives of the Green OATs: combatting climate change, adapting to climate change, protecting biodiversity and reducing pollution. To meet these objectives, the programmes funded by the Green OAT belong to six main sectors: building, energy, transport, living resources, pollution and adaptation.
When the Green OAT was first issued, the French government made a commitment to report on the environmental impact of this expenditure, which helps to set high standards within this market. The process for conducting these impact assessments is supervised by the Green OATs Evaluation Council.
Chaired by Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, former Minister of the Environment of Peru, President of COP20 and the Global Leader of Climate & Energy at WWF, the Green OATs Evaluation Council is currently composed of seven other independent experts:
• Mats Andersson, Vice-Chair of the Global Challenges Foundation, Chair of the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition and former CEO of AP4, Sweden’s fourth national pension fund • Nathalie Girouard, Head of Division for Environmental Performance and Information in the OECD Environment Directorate • Mike Holland, independent consultant • Karin Kemper, Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy at the World Bank • Rana Roy, independent consultant • Thomas Sterner, professor of environmental economics at the University of Gothenburg • Eric Usher, Head of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative
In addition to this list, there are two observers:
• Sean Kidney, co-founder and CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative • Nicholas Pfaff, Senior Director of Market Practice and Regulatory Policy at the International Capital Market Association
The Green OATs Evaluation Council defines the terms of reference and the programming of the environmental impact assessment reports for eligible green expenditure funded by the French Green OATs. It also gives its opinion on the quality of the impact assessment reports and the relevance of the results. All of these documents are published on the AFT website. The Secretariat of the Evaluation Council is provided jointly by the CGDD and the Directorate General of the Treasury.
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