Funding research for a more sustainable world

Caisse des Dépôts Energie et environnement

Acting for the environment is one of Caisse des Dépôts' priorities. But acting means thinking. Such is the mission entrusted to Institut pour la recherche, a team of experts icluded in Caisse des Dépôts. Find out how they help to guide the public body's actions in terms of environment and energy transition.

For nearly 20 years, the Research institute has carried out strategic upstream discussions within Caisse des Dépôts on major topics.

Ecological and Energy transition (EET) is naturally one of our priority topics. We identify weak signals, ongoing transformations and issue warnings about important topics. Implementers do not always have the time to examine forward-looking topics, and we help them by studying best practices.

Isabelle Laudier

Responsable de l’Institut pour la recherche

This reflection process first implies thorough knowledge of needs. “We lead continual discussions with the Public body’s missions and our subsidiaries to learn which topics we can assist them with. However, we are also a source of proposals and are able to spontaneously share the results of our works with them, Isabelle Laudier states. The particularity of EET topics is that they are often cross-disciplinary and encompass several fields: finance, governance, land development and territorial development, etc.”

Many research partners

To fuel its works, the Institute supports, finances and exchanges with many universities, research centres and think tanks. In particular, this is the case of Institut Louis Bachelier which set up a major cross-disciplinary research programme on green finance in collaboration with its partners. In this context, Caisse des Dépôts takes part in working groups, for example on scenarios or impact measures, as well as in a green data lab.

“Since 2015, we have also developed a research partnership with IMT (Institut Mines Telecom) Atlantique’s college of social transitions. This partnership combines discussions and concrete experiments on pioneer territories in the field of EET. It adopts a passionate approach alongside companies, local authorities and civil society”, Isabelle Laudier explains.

Focus on the main EET research programmes supported by the Institute. The Chairs: Climate Economy Chair, Energy and Prosperity Chair, Sustainable Finance and Responsible Investment Chair. The think tanks: Nicolas Hulot foundation for Nature and Humankind, La Fabrique écologique, IDDRI. Research programmes and initiatives: Climate Chain, College of Societal transitions, with INTA on the topic of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), with Sciences Po in the renewable energy sectors.

Collaborative research

The partnerships are implemented under different formats. Through think tanks, the Institute’s teams are able to discuss research topics and contribute towards joint conferences. Thus, Louis Henry, a project manager with the Institute, talked about energy efficiency in individual housing.

With chairs and research projects, relations are somewhat different. The Institute directs support towards specific studies. “We are very involved, Isabelle Laudier says. We take part in governance, are present in steering committees specific to each research topic and invite trade representatives to participate in them.”

Other exchanges also add to these partnerships. “We are never alone in supporting a project as we provide at most 50% of financing, Isabelle Laudier adds. We share our experience and visions with major companies and institutions. This contributes towards developing our expertise on these topics.”

And tomorrow...

“Among the main EET research topics, the consideration of energy consumption due to digital technology, or all issues relating to cooperation and co-construction related to EET within territories, are subjects that are under development, Isabelle Laudier says. But we also continue to monitor the development of major topics such as territorial governance, industrial ecology and short circuits, and even smart cities.”

These works will soon be easy to view with the upcoming publication of research papers on the Caisse des Dépôts website.


Debrief on the conference on “Territories faced with climate risks: exposure and adaptation strategies”

On 17 May, the Research institute and the sustainable policy department organised a meeting at Caisse des Dépôts centred around energy transition, in partnership with the academic research groups CEMES and MTE. Two major topics were the focus of these round tables: the identification and assessment of physical climate risks and climate risk management and territorial adaptation. Many figures from the research community were present.

What they say:

“To identify the weaknesses and adaptation measures that are unique to a given territory, we must develop the collaboration between the scientific community and territorial stakeholders, much like the regional group of climate experts in the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (GREC-SUD) and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine regional scientific committee on climate change (Acclimaterra).”

Éric Brun, Secretary General of ONERC (Observatoire national sur les effets du réchauffement climatique, the national observatory on the effects of climate change)


“All areas of the French territory are concerned by climate change. There is one certainty about the rise of temperatures (+1.5 °C on average in France) and the sea level since the 20th century.”

François Helloco, Directorate of Climatology and Météo France climate services


“The insurance industry has knowledge on past events and associated losses.”

Marie-Laure Fendeur, modelling of natural catastrophe risks SCOR


“Adapting is easier than we think: reconciling urban life and water, no longer fighting it but living alongside it.”

Hans Thoolen, Urban planning of the city of Breda


“One must know the river to influence the river. One inhabitant in four and one job in three are exposed to a risk of floods.”

Stéphanie Bidault, CEO of CEPRI (Centre européen de prévention du risque d’inondation, the European Centre for Flood Risk Prevention)


“We should not target the previous way of operating after an intense event but consider the event’s consequences to build a more resilient project.”

Aude Bodiguel, ADEME


“Resilience is not only in development, but also in solidarity and mutual assistance.”

Noémie Fompeyrine, head of the resilience mission of the city of Paris.