Natural capital and biodiversity

Biodiversity refers to all the plant and animal species making up the living ecosystems on earth. The erosion of this “natural capital” - the economic value of nature - poses a clear danger to us all. It also creates major systemic and transitional risks for investors, and thus for economies. To help protect biodiversity worldwide, BNP Paribas is committed to implementing dedicated policies, participating in coalitions and financing actions with a positive impact.

Restoring biodiversity, Sustainable Development Goal #15  

The extinction of different species and the erosion of biodiversity hinder our progress in achieving 80% of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those related to poverty, hunger, health, water, climate, oceans and land. Biodiversity loss is therefore not only an environmental issue, but also a developmental, ethical and economic issue.  

According to the most recent report of the UN Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), one million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction today.  

1 million

The number of species threatened with extinction according to IPBES    

In recognising that the Group has an important roles to play, both through the support it provides clients seeking to transform their practices and through work with extra-financial actors fighitng to restore nature, BNP Paribas made the decision to further strengthen its commitment to biodiversity in 2021. 

Based on IPBES' studies, BNP Paribas has published a public position to clarify and structure its actions regarding the five major threats to biodiversity:  

  • Changes in land and sea use 
  • Direct exploitation of certain organisms 
  • Climate Change
  •  Pollution
  •  Invasive species 
Natural capital & biodiversity
“I believe that it is essential that banks contribute to the protection of ecosystems. To do this, they have two major levers of action: on the one hand, limit banking activities that have a negative impact on biodiversity and, on the other, support activities that, on the contrary, generate a positive impact on our environment.” 

Sébastien Soleille 

Global Head of Energy Transition and Envrionment, BNP Paribas

Structuring our activities to limit the loss of natural capital  

Since 2010, BNP Paribas has deployed financing and investment policies to structure the sectors having the greatest impact on the climate, particularly in the fight against deforestation. More recently, the Group has strengthened its actions to safeguard particularly sensitive areas in terms of biodiversity

Since 2020, BNP Paribas has committed to: 

  • not finance any oil and gas exploration or production projects in the Arctic offshore or in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge  
  • exclude any maritime oil exports from the Amazon Sacred Headwaters, in the Esmeraldas region of Ecuador, from its trading activities 
  • provide financial products and services only to clients with a “zero deforestation” strategy by 2025, among those producing or purchasing beef or soy from the Amazon and Cerrado regions of Brazil 

Supporting the ecological transition to preserve biodiversity 

As a bank, BNP Paribas also acts in favour of biodiversity by accompanying its clients in their own ecological transition and by offering sustainable financial solutions, including sustainability-linked loans or green bonds. This support helps them to achieve specific objectives in terms of protecting terrestrial and marine biodiversity. The BNP Paribas Group also invests in start-ups committed to the ecological transition

Preserving biodiversity by 2025 in three key figures 

€4bn

in funding for businesses contributing to the protection of terrestrial and marine biodiversity

€1bn

in funding for the maritime ecological transition 

€250m

invested in start-ups committed to ecological transition 

These investments with a positive impact on biodiversity come on top of several actions carried out within the Group and encouraging the integration of assessment criteria throughout all of its activities. BNP Paribas is therefore in dialogue with all its clients in sensitive countries to encourage their own commitments against deforestation. In addition, by the end of 2025, BNP Paribas will have assessed all its corporate clients on biodiversity-related criteria.  

"ESG analysis traditionally focuses on carbon, but less so on the modification of bee habitats, the destruction of mangroves or the decline of fish stocks. Through our work on biodiversity data and new measures, we intend to take action and encourage the consideration of natural capital in investment decisions."    

Robert-Alexandre Poujade 

 SRI Analyst BNP Paribas Asset Management  

Collective action for nature preservation 

Coalitions of stakeholders committed to nature  

Aware that it cannot act alone against this challenge, the Group is part of various coalitions at the global and local levels, such as Entreprises pour l’Environnement (EPE), the association behind the Act4Nature initiative. EPE brings together companies, public authorities, scientists and environmental associations to develop collaborative solutions and create a collective, international movement that will protect, enhance and restore biodiversity.  

In 2020, BNP Paribas took part as co-chair of an informal workgroup put in place to structure the Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). Created to complement the TCFD on climate, it aims to bring global consistency to the reporting of nature-related business risks and opportunities. The TNFD published its first beta framework on March 15, 2022, with an open innovation approach in order to improve its relevance, usage and implementation by stakeholders. 


Raising awareness among the Group’s employees... and beyond!  

The Group is also involved in raising awareness among our employees in 65 countries around the world. We do this through “We Engage”, a vast internal training programme on social and environmental issues that focuses on key themes of sustainable finance. The BNP Paribas Foundation, for its part, is working more broadly to raise public awareness of these issues, in particular by supporting research and philanthropy related to biodiversity. The Foundation brings together public authorities, scientists, companies, NGOs and private citizens in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges and actions necessary to protect animal and plant species currently threatened with extinction. 

Photo credits: Wavebreak Media / RooM The Agency /Mark Edward Atkinson/Blend images /pingpao