Philanthropy and Responsible Investment
At a time when public funding for civil society organisations is being brutally and probably irreversibly reduced, all eyes are turning towards philanthropic activity and the questions this raises: who defines the perimeter of public interest and the public good? What legitimacy do philanthropic stakeholders have in choosing who should receive their gifts, outside of any democratic control?
A Desire for Consistency
As the holder of a major estate, the Foundation is keen to improve the consistency between the origin of its resources and the actions it supports. 90 % of its resources are drawn from its portfolio of stocks and bonds, and 10% from its property assets.
Main Aim of Philanthropy
In terms of its main aim, the justification for philanthropy is that it looks after the public interest. This is what guides our action at FPH. By providing its support to civil society to enable it to act as a counterpart to national governments, require these to be accountable, and suggest new approaches, the Foundation wants to participate in strengthening our democracies.
Measures Taken to This Day
1. Responsible Investing
- The Foundation has excluded certain sectors: weapons, alcohol, the agrochemical industry, finance, carbon-based energy, and it has signed up to the Divest/Invest movement in favour of disinvesting from carbon-based energies;
- Comgest, which manages the Foundation’s stock portfolios, applies strict ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) criteria and actively takes part in general meetings. Comgest produces a quarterly ESG Report outlining the positions it has taken during the general meetings.
- the Foundation limits its participation in funds within which it cannot exclude certain investments.
2. Impact Investing
The aim here is not the neutrality of one’s investments but rather the investment itself having a positive effect. The measures taken to this day are as follows:
- ecological renovation of the office building rue Saint-Sabin (Paris – FR);
- ecological renovation of the Bergerie rural estate (Chaussy – FR) ;
- thermal renovation of the Blancherie building (Chavannes – CH) ;
- investment in the Blue Orchard microcredit fund;
- investment in the Nourriterre fund, aimed at the development of an ecological agri-food sector (Quadia);
- investment in the Regenero fund for renewable energies (Quadia).
The totality of investment commitments amounts to 15% of the value of the estate.