22 July 2022

"The ISSB is a flash in the pan to prolong business as usual," Mirova CEO laments

"The ISSB is a flash in the pan to prolong business as usual," Mirova CEO Philippe Zaouati wrote in a LinkdIn post in response to an interview in French media by the chair of the ISSB, Emmanuel Faber, who defended the standard setter's single materiality approach.

When Faber was appointed as chair of the ISSB earlier this year, it begged the question of whether he would be able to shake the lines on financial materiality, Zaouati wrote. "Despite the great respect I have for Emmanuel Faber's industrial career, [...] I wondered, however, whether this was more of a 'spoil of war' by the market proponents of business as usual, which would end up with a lot of renouncements."

Commenting on an interview given by Faber to French outlet, L'Actuariel, Zaouati went on: "I now have the answers to my questions and they are not pleasant. Not only does Emmanuel Faber confirm that financial materiality remains the alpha and omega of the construction of international sustainability standards and that these are in direct opposition to the vision of double materiality of the European Union and EFRAG."

He sees in this a clear confirmation that the ISSB was created with the objective of "blocking the developments at EU level" and qualified Faber's views as "both surprising and questionable".

Because it is "simply denying the existence of impact investing" and it implies "that impact measurements are only interesting for researchers, NGOs and possibly regulators, but not for economic decision-makers", which Zaouati said goes against all of the responsible finance approaches of the last 10 years, "which seek, on the contrary, to make economic decision-makers understand that impact is also their subject".

He concluded: "We suspected it but now we have clear proof: the ISSB is a flash in the pan intended to prolong the business as usual. We will have to continue to fight to ensure that Europe does not fall for it once again and firmly defends its vision."