Navigating the green wave: Insights from the French financial experts

04/12/2023 Article
profile picture of Leandro Seligmann

Leandro Seligmann


Strategic Initiatives Coordinator

The convergence of minds at a recent Qorus panel discussing ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors in financial services painted a vivid picture of an industry in metamorphosis. Spearheaded by a partnership with Roland Berger and backed by Huawei's support, and featuring a lineup of distinguished speakers and a diverse range of perspectives, the event provided a collaborative platform for French bankers and insurers to delve into the latest advancements and exchange insights in a convivial setting.


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Claire Pernet

Roland Berger

Partner, ESG & Sustainability

profile picture of Jennifer Mercadal Wendling

Jennifer Mercadal Wendling

Banque Palatine

Chief of staff, institutional life, and CSR.

profile picture of Guillaume Roure

Guillaume Roure

Arkéa Direct Bank

Head of Transformation, Innovation and CSR

profile picture of Cécile Suquet

Cécile Suquet


Responsable RSE

profile picture of Emmanuel Petit

Emmanuel Petit


Directeur RSE

profile picture of Sebastien Jaouen

Sebastien Jaouen

Huawei Technologies France

Director, Financial Services Industry

ESG challenges in financial services: Roland Berger's vision

Opening the discussion, Roland Berger’s Claire Pernet Brégain underscored the intensified focus on ESG within European banking and insurance, accompanied by a surge in regulatory scrutiny. The changing regulatory scene, combined with evolving perspectives, directly impacts how financial institutions handle asset management and insurance activities.

She pinpointed four key challenges: regulations, stakeholder expectations, sustaining business, and seizing new opportunities. Ms Pernet Brégain stressed the potential risks involved, such as reputational damage and devaluation of institutions that neglect ESG principles.

Investors are increasingly scrutinizing climate-related risks in managed assets and aligning their investment choices with personal values. This indicates a rising inclination towards responsible investing, reshaping the financial landscape and influencing how investors behave.

Financial institutions are therefore exploring fresh income streams through sustainable products and services, with a focus on sustainable banking, fostering climate risk awareness, and responsible claims management in the insurance sector.

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Exploring Huawei's role in financial evolution

Opportunities and new products in finance

Jennifer Mercadal Wendling from Banque Palatine brought a personal touch to the discussion, evoking the contradictory injunctions faced by CSR managers, while highlighting the tailor-made services offered by her bank. She proudly discussed the bank’s CSR achievements, including fully parity-based governance, and support provided to top-level female sportswomen wishing to become entrepreneurs. Ms Mercadal Wendling shed light on the bank's HR policies, emphasizing strong communication within the bank through general management webinars and events, while promoting sustainability through initiatives such as making refurbished phones available to all employees. She unveiled plans for a new strategy, including a label for the bank and work on a mission statement.

Guillaume Roure of Fortuneo Banque presented the bank’s efforts to educate clients on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues and offer impactful investment options. Meanwhile, Cécile Suquet from LCL articulated a robust environmental strategy encompassing science-based approaches, engagement with net-zero initiatives, and a commitment to reducing CO2 emissions across all sectors. Mr Suquet also detailed efforts to aid clients in their environmental transition and diversify savings offerings.

Emmanuel Petit of Matmut emphasized their actions in promoting circular economies, disability inclusion and combating sedentary lifestyles among clients. He stressed the strategic alignment between sustainable development and business development, and the importance of acculturating employees to CSR. Matmut's sustainability drive has resulted in a number of initiatives, including cleaning up e-mail inboxes and reducing server energy consumption.

Sebastien Jaouen from Huawei highlighted the company's dedication to balancing performance, durability and product lifecycle sustainability. He underscored Huawei's efforts in minimizing environmental impacts through innovative technologies, such as their long-lasting optical fibers. Mr Jaouen also discussed collaborative projects aiding clients in reducing their carbon footprint in construction and infrastructure, including Huawei's involvement in the launch of a net-zero building in Singapore with DBS Bank.

Shaping the future: paving the way for responsible finance

The panelists collectively echoed a compelling narrative of a financial sector in transition, where ESG considerations are becoming pivotal in shaping strategies, risk assessments and product innovations. From regulatory compliance to internal initiatives and client education, these industry leaders affirmed a commitment to a more sustainable and responsible future in financial services.

The Qorus-led event not only offered a comprehensive overview of ESG in finance but also served as a testament to the collective industry drive towards a financial ecosystem underpinned by principles of sustainability and corporate responsibility. It highlighted the collaborative efforts essential for navigating the intricate web of challenges and opportunities in this evolving landscape. 

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