BNP Paribas Investment Partners has partnered with Erik Orsenna, a French economist and novelist, to form the Sustainable Development Circle.

The Sustainable Development Circle will bring together institutional investors, retail investors and asset management professionals to create a forum for sharing ideas and for reflection and debate on the major challenges facing the planet in the future and the implications of these for long-term investors, BNP Paribas said.

Mr Orsenna will assist BNP Paribas’ teams on sustainability and SRI (Sustainable and Responsible Investment), in particular by furthering analysis of the need to channel a larger proportion of investments towards a more responsible and sustainable economy.

Mr Orsenna will also hold a series of conferences, the first of which addresses water-related issues. This will be followed by several other meetings, with the next one due to be held in autumn 2010, on ‘Sustainable Development and Sovereign Risk.’

Philippe Marchessaux, CEO of BNP Paribas Investment Partners, said: “I am particularly proud of this new initiative, which demonstrates our commitment to SRI. Our partnership with Erik Orsenna, a French writer, Goncourt literature prize winner and member of the Academie francaise, and an economist who has researched sustainable development for the past ten years, will help us explore new areas and ideas, and take us to a new stage in our approach to responsible and sustainable investing.”