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Philippe Desfossés says top performers are often firms that emphasize social, environmental and governance issues.
Philippe Desfossés says top performers are often firms that emphasize social, environmental and governance issues.
(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

PENSIONS

France's $25-billion pension fund invests only in ethical companies

Philippe Desfossés is a no-nonsense idealist.

The chief executive officer of a new $25-billion pension plan for civil servants in France is managing Europe’s largest socially responsible investment fund with a requirement that all its investments meet ethical and environmental criteria.

But he rejects the suggestion that his social investment mandate means he has had to focus narrowly on “green” companies developing environmental technologies, saying he is taking a pragmatic approach to finding the most sustainable companies in an array of industry categories.