The Role of Labels in Green Finance: Construction and Regulation of a Label Market in France
Revue d'economie financiere N 138, 2020-2, Forthcoming
21 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2020 Last revised: 24 Nov 2020
Date Written: September 10, 2020
A dozen of green and sustainable labels have emerged on the financial markets of the Member States of the European Union since the creation of a first label in 1997 in France, allocated to nearly 1,360 financial products, demonstrating a quantitative success, especially in France. This article analyzes the development of such green and socially responsible labels in Europe over the past decades , their construction dynamics, and questions the real benefits of a proliferation of labels in this industry. Does the multiplicity of factors contributing to the development of labels achieve the desired end or does it encumber the market with loud but uncertain signals? While household savings are at their highest and there is a demand for financing the ecological transition, does the proliferation of labels not complicate the readability of the market ? We show that, instead of simplifying the choice of agents, the multiplication of labels tends to increase the noise provided by each of the quality signals and deteriorate confidence. Economic agents have less interest in benefiting from a generic label but are looking for less demanding labeling at a lower cost. The whole system can therefore play in a counterproductive way, each actor minimizing the intrinsic effort provided. As the number of labels grows, the information asymmetry grows and end investors may therefore turn away from labeled products. Only regulator can counter this trend.
Keywords: Responsible Investing, Labels, Green Finance
JEL Classification: M14, G28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation