CRO Wisdom Episode 20: Fanny Charrier, Crédit Agricole CIB – Part 3

Atul Vashistha:

So, Fanny, talk to us about how ESG is getting integrated into risk management, whether that’s risk management for your own organization or as you think about your products and solutions out there. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Fanny Charrier:

Of course. I mean, ESG has changed absolutely everything for our business and for our client’s business. So, we had the sustainable banking team that was created 11 years ago. There was a small unit with a few people and it’s now growing, and now we have the person that started the team has become our chief sustainability officer, and it’s the same with a lot of companies. At first, the sustainability person was more in the legal compliance department, and now it’s a function that is right under CEOs that are directly influencing the strategies of companies.

Fanny Charrier:

So, maybe if I touch on this for our institution, on the risk side, we are fully integrating ESG into our risk analysis. We’re developing the tool right now. We also have a transition tool because it’s one thing to say, “We will reward the companies that are a good ESG student,” but what’s important for the fight against climate change is companies that are maybe a little bit behind to help bring them to being a cleaner, more ESG-aware company.

Fanny Charrier:

We are also developing, and we just committed last year to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance. And what it means is, we have to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions. And we are a bank that is financing a lot of the aviation business, the automotive business. We are, of course, doing a lot of renewable financing, but we also are financing steel, the cement industry, heavy industry, and the energy industry. So, how do we make the business evolve but still support those companies that are needed? We need all those companies, so we will have a hard decision to make at some point, but we mostly have to work with our clients to get there. And it’s coming fast because the first goals are for 2030.

Atul Vashistha:

Yeah. Yeah. So, Fanny, very clearly, your organization has made a bet that says that good ESG practices basically result in better business. So, you’re actually willing to provide them solutions that give them an incentive to be better ESG stewards in a way to say. And then from a risk management perspective, it sounds like not only are you doing that but you’re also actually providing them resources and helping to move towards a better set of ESG practices.

Fanny Charrier:

Yes. But it’s not only my company. I looked back at who first defined ESG, and it was actually on the impulsion of the UN, Kofi Annan, back in the days, mandated 50 CEOs of financial institutions to see how do we integrate ESG in capital markets? So, they went through the entire analysis and they all agreed that integrating the risk analysis of the E, the S, and the G, and actually mitigating the potential risk make good business sense and will help you drive your business and drive better outcomes for your business. So, it’s something that is proven but somehow seems so hard to apply on a day-to-day basis because we do not have the tools to do that.

Atul Vashistha:

Right. I think very clearly there are frameworks out there that one can learn from. There are services out there, whether it’s consulting, data, intelligence, or assessments, that can help you understand your ESG state and the ESG state of your supply chain. It’s about making sure that you first understand it, and then you can start actually setting goals.

Fanny Charrier:

Correct.

Atul Vashistha:

Fanny, talk to us about whether this adoption of ESG within your organization impacted your culture? Do you feel there’s a change within the company in terms of the culture of the company as you invest more in these ESG practices, both internally and products to the marketplace?

Fanny Charrier:

Yes. I mean, for our institution, I’m proud to work for the green bank, and Crédit Agricole was always called the green bank. Still, now With our sustainability initiative, we’re more than ever doing the right thing, being difficult sometimes with clients, and asking for ambitious goals. So, there’s definitely a momentum there, especially for the younger professionals. Sustainability is something that, with our sustainability coordinator network, most of the people that raise their hands are people that… I’m on the older side, but most younger generation that really feel like they’re working for a financial institution that’s trying to make a difference. So, that has definitely impacted the culture for sure.

There’s definitely a lack of talent. You need absolutely everybody to get on the sustainability journey and everybody to understand the risk. In the same way, knowing the finance industry, everybody needs to know about credit risk. We all need now to learn about ESG risk.

Atul Vashistha:

Yeah. Yeah. In many organizations, it is becoming an excellent factor for the right talent to want to be at those companies, to be working at those companies, so it can be a great attractor of talent.

Fanny Charrier:

Yeah, because it feels like you’re making a difference in your day-to-day work. That drives motivation.

Atul Vashistha:

So, Fanny, we’re winding down to my final couple of questions. One of the last questions I wanted to ask you is, very clearly the need for talent around ESG. The talent that understands this space because the space is heating up. Talk to us a little bit about how are companies finding talent, competing for that talent, and just retaining talent? Anything that could give insights to other companies on where to find this talent and keep that talent?

Fanny Charrier:

I think around sustainability; it is just because there are a lot more job opportunities. So, there’s definitely a lack of talent. You need absolutely everybody to get on the sustainability journey and everybody to understand the risk. In the same way, knowing the finance industry, everybody needs to know about credit risk. We all need now to learn about ESG risk. How’s the company doing? I want to say maybe on a micro level in my team, and we’re a big team, I think our manager did a great job caring, and COVID is a good example of caring for people.

Atul Vashistha:

Yeah.

Fanny Charrier:

I think caring is key. Not everybody had the same reaction. He made sure that everybody was heard, every feedback was taken into account. He adapted the response depending on everybody’s life situation to the extent he could. And I think that made a big difference, caring, listening, and taking feedback. As he always tells me, “I want people to come with me with problems. I want them to come with me with solutions.”

Atul Vashistha:

Yeah. Yeah.

Fanny Charrier:

I’m here to solve the problems.

Atul Vashistha:

Yeah. One of the things that we found, Fanny that works really well is, while we created this ESG real-time intelligence solution, one of the things we did is, whenever there’s a good article or a good piece of knowledge out there, we always share it with our team because our focus is exactly the same. It’s not about forming an ESG team. It’s that mindset. Be pervasive across the entire company.

Fanny Charrier:

Of course. Doing the right thing, even if in the short-term it doesn’t feel like you get a benefit, in the long-term, that’s how you gain respect from your peers.

Atul Vashistha:

Yeah. Absolutely. So, Fanny, for my final question, what resources do you rely on to be a better leader? So, share your little secret of your growth.

Fanny Charrier:

I don’t know if I’m a leader, but thank you. I mean, a strong network of people that we call mentors that I can rely on if I have a question if I have doubts. I mean, you rely on people, relationships, always talking with people, trying to learn something new every day. That’s really how I try to do it, and you learn something new from people. Maybe one other part is you don’t get if you don’t give. So, that’s why I try to always find something that the person needs first. And then you build the work relationship. If you help them achieve their goals, they will help you the day you need them to achieve yours.

Atul Vashistha:

So, some great lessons. Learning mindset, have a network so that you can interact and learn from others, and then what you also said was give, not just get. So, I think some great lessons. Fanny, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. As you continue on your ESG journey, I’m hoping we can interview again in a few months so you can share the progress that you have made and the progress the market’s made so we can learn from each other. Thank you again for your time today.

Fanny Charrier:

Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.

Speakers

Fanny Charrier


Corporate and Leveraged Finance and Sustainable Finance Coordinator

Crédit Agricole CIB

Fanny Charrier is a Director in Crédit Agricole CIB’s Corporate and Leverage Finance (“CLF”) group, primarily covering the loan originations and syndication of the Chicago portfolio including U.S. automotive, healthcare, agricultural, semi-conductor, engineering & construction and telecom sectors. As Sustainable Finance Coordinator, she manages the origination and syndication of sustainable financings within the U.S., liaising with the global sustainable banking team to facilitate the structuring and placement of ESG-related loans & HY instruments including Ford’s US$15.5bn sustainability-linked revolving credit facility that was named “2021 North America Loan” by the International Financing Review (“IFR”) and “2022 Americas Loan” by the Banker. She is also the primary point of contact for the integration of the Net Zero and energy transition strategy within the CLF team.

Atul Vashistha


Chairman & CEO

Supply Wisdom

Atul is the Founder of Supply Wisdom & Neo Group, and is also the visionary behind the GBSBoard and RiskBoard. For more than 21 years, Atul and his teams have worked with nations and corporations to leverage global talent, big data, automation and other technology mega-trends to accelerate new capabilities, increase resiliency, mitigate risks and enable better corporate and societal outcomes. Atul Vashistha currently serves on the boards of Shared Assessments and IAOP. Atul had the distinguished honor of serving on the US DoD Business Board for over 12 years, including as former Vice Chairman from 2018-20.

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