Posted on Apr 5, 2022, 7:16 AMUpdated July 8, 2022 at 11:14 am
In the absence of a universal definition and methodology, green finance is not just a jungle for investors. It is also for students and professionals of the sector who want to train in the world of ESG (environment, social and governance) to become a financial analyst, a portfolio manager or a banker.
“Conviction preceded skills,” notes Baptiste Lambert, founder of recruitment firm Aptic. 90% of ESG professionals do not have basic training in this field and have learned on the job, as the material develops. »
In recent years, dozens of sustainable finance courses have emerged in French higher education. Many discovery modules rarely exceed ten hours of lectures. There are only a handful of specialized teachers in the list compiled by the Responsible Investment Forum.
They are issued by Audencia, Dauphine, Edhec-Mines, Skema or the Superior Institute for the Environment. At Kedge, a pioneer in 2015, the volume of ESG courses will increase from 80 to 105 hours next year, from a total of 420 hours.
In continuing education, the offer is also eclectic, from “Moocs” (distance courses) to ESG certificates from the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) or the CFA Institute, which are highly valued by companies of management.
“There is a plethora of dedicated training and we still have little perspective to make an opinion on the added value of others”, judges Aude Rouyer, director of human resources at Mirova.
Experimentation with Neoma
To see more clearly, “we want to offer a label to teachers in sustainable finance, with a common knowledge base that can be a guarantee of confidence for students and recruiters”, announces Marguerite Culot, director of programs, development and of institutional relations Finance for Tomorrow, the financial branch responsible for Paris Europlace.
In 2020, the lobby of the financial center of Paris has already put its stamp on a master’s degree from Neoma, the business school of Rouen and Reims. “The label that we are going to create will be the framed and structured implementation of this first test”, specifies the representative of Finance for Tomorrow.
To be ready in 2023-2024, “we are working with several schools and experts to converge views on the subject, explains Marguerite Culot. The label could also include sequences of training modules that already exist and are recognized but that have not awarded diplomas, such as those of Ademe or the ESG certification of the AMF”.
However, the idea raises some reservations. “It’s going in the right direction and all the initiatives are good, but a label does not replace competence and conviction in ESG matters”, says Laurent Morel, partner of Carbone 4. We see this in the funds, where the label SRI is not. still reflects a real allocation in favor of the climate transition. »
“Autonomy of institutions”
“Labels can be useful in offering a framework, although they necessarily remain optional due to the autonomy of higher education institutions,” recalls Clémence Vorreux, higher education and research coordinator for The Shift Project.
This think tank linked to Carbone 4 launched an extensive study last September on training for sustainable finance, with several schools. Finance ClimAct, a public project in favor of a low carbon economy involving Ademe, the AMF and Finance for Tomorrow is also involved.
In November, Project Shift will publish an inventory of existing training and offer a “repository of knowledge and skills”.
Bad point in the ranking
“Our goal is to generalize the teaching of ecology, beyond the specialized courses, explains Clémence Vorreux. In our 2019 census, this type of course was included in only 6% of the compulsory courses of business school and 26% of those in engineering schools.”
Main challenge? Convince teachers and their principals. Until now, the appetite has been stronger outside the “Parisian” schools… to stand out from the competition.
“From the point of view of many business schools, environmental training or CSR [responsabilité sociale des entreprises, NDLR] they are discriminatory, explains the representative of The Shift Project. They are “synonymous with lower starting salaries for their students”, therefore “with a lower point in the ranking of the best teachers”.