How we coordinate our financing and investment actions in sensitive sectors including palm oil, defense and agriculture.
As a bank, we are led to finance a number of industries, some of which present major environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges. This is the case in the defense, palm oil and nuclear energy industries, for example. For these sectors, we have outlined policies which take into account ESG standards, in addition to economic performance criteria, when making financing and investment decisions.
Developed in cooperation with independent experts, these public policies apply to all of the Group’s business lines and countries where we are present. In 2019, the CSR branch of BNP Paribas reviewed 2,340 transactions to ensure their compliance with these policies.
Recently, the Group has taken several measures to strengthen its environmental actions.
- In February 2021, BNP Paribas defined a new restrictive policy to fight deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado regions:
BNP Paribas has committed itself to this goal to encourage its customers
producing or buying beef or soy from the Amazon and the Cerrado in
Brazil to become ‘zero deforestation’ and to demonstrate transparently
their progress. As a result, BNP Paribas will only provide financial
products or services to companies (producers, meat conditioners and
traders) with a strategy to achieve zero deforestation in their
production and supply chains by 2025 at the latest.
Moreover, in 2020, BNP Paribas has made 3 further commitments with regard to fossil fuels:
- On coal: In May 2020, BNP Paribas has announced a total exit strategy from thermal coal by 2030 in countries within the European Union and the OECD, and by 2040 in the rest of the world. The entire supply chain is at stake: extraction, dedicated infrastructures and power production. This new commitment has been formalized in the July 2020 update of the Mining and Coal-fired Power Generation sector policies below.
On oil and gas: In December 2020, BNP Paribas has taken further exclusion commitments with regard to two sensitive areas for climate, biodiversity and Indigenous peoples:
- Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: BNP Paribas excludes from its financing and investments activities any financing to oil and gas projects located in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- Amazon Sacred Headwaters: BNP Paribas excludes from its trading activities the seaborne exports of oil from the Esmeraldas region in Ecuador.
These new commitments take effect immediately.
Our policies apply to nine sectors
While recognizing each country’s right to defend its interests and protect its national security, the Group remains aware of the specific ESG risks posed by the defense sector, including the status of certain weapons, their potential use, as well as the risk of corruption.
This activity provides a source of revenue and ensures subsistence for millions of people living in developing countries. However, operating palm oil plantations can have a range of negative effects on local communities, climate change and ecosystems.
Wood pulp is a major source of revenue that ensures a standard of living for millions of people in developed and emerging countries. However, as the demand for paper-based products grows over the next decade, this development will have a major impact on our planet’s environment.
Countries that have chosen to develop their nuclear industries emphasize the positive impact of nuclear, especially on economic development, energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By publishing this policy, BNP Paribas aims to ensure that the projects it helps to finance comply with all principles for monitoring and reducing the environmental and social impacts of the nuclear energy sector.
Coal-fired power generation
Coal, as a large CO2 emitter, is a key contributor to climate change. In line with the objectives set by the Paris Agreement, BNP Paribas seeks to support power companies in their coal exit strategy while supporting its clients committed to the transition required by the Climate Emergency.
Representing 6% of global GDP and 30% of jobs, agriculture is a key sector in the world economy. However, without proper management, this sector’s development can have many damaging effects on local communities, ecosystems and climate change.