The bank for a changing world

How does the bank encourage social and solidarity enterprise?

  • 10.10.2017

The social and solidarity economy (SSE) accounts for more than 15 million workers in the European Union. It plays an active role in the social development of territories and places social objectives ahead of revenue targets. To ensure that the SSE continues to grow despite its limited profitability, BNP Paribas supports this movement for meaningful development!

What are Social and Solidarity Enterprises?

Social economy organizations are defined by their special legal status (associations, foundations, cooperatives, federations, etc.) and governance systems based on the principle of one person = one vote.

Social economy organizations also have a Solidarity component (SSE) when, in addition to their legal status and governance system, they also carry out a mission for the common good (social, societal or environmental objective). 

Social entrepreneurship includes organizations (of any legal status, including SARL, SAS and other companies) that not only pursue an explicit and priority mission of social value, but also work towards economic objectives. For organizations with business status, the modernization of the French SSE law of 31 July 2014 now makes it possible to obtain Solidarity Enterprise certification (Entreprise solidaire d’utilité sociale—ESUS), which aims to improve the regulatory framework for SSE and encourage the expansion of this sector. 

Microfinance is also a major portion of the Social and Solidarity Economy. It offers financial products (including microloans) to poor populations with the aim of helping them lead productive or income-earning activities. 

Key figures

14%

The SSE accounts for 14% of private sector jobs in France, and up to 30% of jobs in financial and insurance activities ! 

165 000

The SSE represents over 165,000  businesses in France 

How does BNP Paribas contribute to the SSE?

In France, the Group currently employs 70 dedicated project managers, while similar systems also exist in Belgium and Italy (about 20 project managers in each country).  These project managers are specially trained to promote the social and environmental performance of a project, at the same time as the financial performance of a company meeting SSE criteria.  

To support and structure this sector, BNP Paribas has developed its own method for measuring the social impact of a social enterprise. This methodology helps quantify the concrete benefits of social entrepreneurship in terms of job creation, permanent housing, waste recycling, etc. 

What specific actions does BNP Paribas take in terms of financing?

  1. The Groupe has rolled out a line of adapted products to support the growth of SSE organizations at every stage: special financing for their long-term investments, short and medium-term loans to finance daily operations, etc.
  2. The Bank uses its financial expertise to serve social innovation, notably by creating tailor-made financial products (impact investing funds, social impact contracts, etc. ).
  3.  BNP Paribas is committed to building partnerships with the entire SSE ecosystem (specialized financers like France Active, support networks like Ashoka, incubators like Antropia, crowdfunders like 1001PACT, investment funds like Impact Partenaires, Phitrust, NovESS, etc.), to steer social entrepreneurs towards the right tools, help them kickstart their economic model and scale up their operations, and offer a combination of specific extra solutions. Each organization helps to prop up the next in the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  4. In many countries, the bank also offers incubation and coaching solutions for social entrepreneurs (WAI spaces, lux future-lab, etc.)
  5. BNP Paribas has also put in place volunteer skill-sharing initiatives to give the Group’s current and retired employees a chance to lend their skills to social entrepreneurs .
  6. Certain social enterprises benefit from the full range of the bank’s offer, making them some of the Group’s long-term partners, which is notably the case for certain microfinance institutions (MFI). 

BNP Paribas contributes to the global SSE  

  1. In Italy, BNL supports Fraternità Sistemi, a social enterprise that helps disabled and socially excluded people to return to work, through a system for covering unpaid or undeclared taxes.
  2. In Belgium, BNP Paribas Fortis finances Ethical Property, a social real estate developer that benefits social enterprises and associations by providing affordable rent, flexible rental terms, workspaces and services adapted to their needs, while also fostering the exchange of skills and ideas. Their centres are optimised in terms of energy and water use, waste management, mobility and use of clean materials. 
  3. In Luxembourg, the bank created a department dedicated to the "public sector and social enterprise." It centralizes all the Social Entrepreneur applications received across the country. In addition, the Lux Future Lab  is a start-up incubator that provides entrepreneurs (notably social entrepreneurs) with various services, including hosting, coaching and networking.
  4. In Tunisia, through its subsidiary UBCI, the Group finances the creation of sustainable wild rose production in the region of Zaghouan, in partnership with the social enterprise "Dream in Tunisia." 
  5. In Morocco, the subsidiary BMCI formed a partnership with Espace Bidaya, a social enterprise incubator, which receives the bank’s financial expertise when selecting candidates for their programs.

As an investment customer, how does the bank enable me to participate in the SSE?

BNP Paribas Asset Management has developed a line of SSI (Social and Solidarity Investment) products. These funds follow the 90/10  rule—90% stocks and bonds selected for SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) criteria, and 10% of shares in French solidarity enterprises. That gives the bank’s customers, as well as its employees, access to savings and retirement products that generate financial and social performance, such as FCP BNP Paribas Social Business France. With this fund, they can invest in social enterprises like Le Relais, Titi Floris, Siel Bleu, French Red Cross, Café Michel  and more.

One investment fund we offer our customers is PhiTrust, whose shares have notably helped to provide jobs to 552 workers with disabilities, to create 1,744 workforce integration jobs and to support 26,587 microentrepreneurs in Europe and Africa. 

With this wide range of products and services, BNP Paribas offers its customers a chance to contribute to the dynamic growth of the social and solidarity economy all over the world. 

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