The bank for a changing world

BNP Paribas: committed to combating climate change

  • 03.10.2019

Convinced of the need for businesses to play a role in safeguarding the planet, BNP Paribas is making the fight against climate change the key focus of its initiatives. From corporate statements to Group strategic policies to concrete measures, we take a look at some of the challenges and initiatives being undertaken by BNP Paribas.

Human activities are the main cause of global warming...

At a talk held at the Collège de France in which BNP Paribas took part, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Director of Research at the CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and co-chair of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), reminded the audience of the origin of today’s climate change: according to IPCC studies, 80% to 100% of this change is caused by human activities. Since it is difficult to quantify the exact economic cost of this global warming, awareness is a long time in coming.

“ Seven out of 10 French people still drive to work. ”

Valérie Mas

co-founder of WeNow, a solution for monitoring individual energy consumption 

... and the best hope to combat it

In 2015, the Paris Agreement, approved by 195 parties at the COP21 climate conference, set a goal of limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The way to achieve this will be by halving greenhouse gas emissions between 2010 and 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. For Antoine Sire, this ambition means training young people in the scientific and technical challenges of global warming as soon as they enter secondary school: “Most importantly, we need engineers to design the infrastructure of the future.” Another crucial link in the energy transition chain are businesses, which must get involved at their own level. 

BNP Paribas, accelerating the energy transition

In the face of such challenges,  BNP Paribas has aligned its CSR strategy with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. BNP Paribas is gradually introducing a climate component into its methodology for rating the projects and businesses it finances.  Since 2015, the Group no longer finances activities related to the exploitation of shale gas. BNP Paribas has also stopped renewing loans granted to businesses in the coal sector and refuses to support oil and gas drilling projects in the Arctic. 

Limiting the financing of polluting activities allows us to free up resources that will finance the energy transition.

Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Director and Chief Executive Officer at BNP Paribas

Internally, BNP Paribas pursues a raft of environmental best practices. It became carbon neutral in 2017 after reducing its CO2 emissions and increasing its use of renewable energies. 

Encouraging and supporting our customers  

BNP Paribas wants to go further by allowing its customers – be they individuals, small businesses, major corporations or investors – to speed up their own energy transition. To this end, the Group offers a holistic range of  support, from diagnostics to financing for appropriate solutions. “We want to help our customers with their own transition. With our support, businesses have the opportunity to improve their environmental footprint.” Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Director and Chief Executive Officer at BNP Paribas

Similarly, the Bank offers incentive tools such as positive impact loans, a type of loan whose rates favour businesses most committed to sustainable development.

We want to help our customers with their own transition. With our support, businesses have the opportunity to improve their environmental footprint.
“ The time has come for finance to play its role in building the sustainable world that we want and that has been defined under the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. ”

Frédéric Janbon

Director and Chief Executive Officer at BNP Paribas Asset Management Holding

The move towards greener financing

BNP Paribas is also intent on making its asset portfolio as green as possible. Its Asset Management branch devotes more than €1,000 billion to responsible investment. The Group has also partnered with UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) to raise $10 billion by 2025 from private  investors to finance renewable energy development and protect and restore landscapes around the world. The Group's financing of renewable energies is gaining ground quickly: the target of €15 billion by 2020 was achieved in 2018. BNP Paribas will also be investing €100 million in greentech startups by 2020. 

BNP Paribas is furthermore the global leader in green bonds.  Since 2012, the Group has been joint lead manager of €10.2 billion in green bonds, including€1.1 billion in equity-linked bonds. This success led BNP Paribas Asset Management to launch a fund at the end of 2017 entirely dedicated to green bonds.

Stepping up humanitarian initiatives and supporting environmental research on climate change  

Launched in 2012 in partnership with the NGOs CARE, the French Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, the Rescue & Recover Fund helps vulnerable populations tackle humanitarian crises. The fund has donated nearly €4 million since 2012 and helped the victims of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the tsunami in Indonesia in 2018 and the fires in California that same year. At the end of 2018, the fund launched a development campaign to help the people of Niger, Madagascar and Haiti cope with climate change. So far it has raised €128,484 for the three above-mentioned NGOs.

BNP Paribas Foundation has been funding research on climate change since 2010, through an international philanthropy program, Climate & Biodiversity Initiative

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