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Carbon footprints: BNP Paribas helps its employees and clients reduce their environmental impacts

Over the course of 2020, BNP Paribas continued its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and offered its clients new solutions to help them do the same. During this year marked by many challenges, digital issues have become key topics in these processes.

Calculating BNP Paribas' carbon footprint in 2020

Since achieving carbon neutrality in 2017 within its operational scope (direct and indirect emissions related to energy purchases and business trips), the Group continues to monitor its direct and indirect CO2 emissions rigorously and annually. This work focuses on the precise measurement of energy purchases, business travel, responsible use of resources and offsetting emissions.

The global health crisis of 2020 also led to significant changes in working methods and thus in the Group's emissions: With many employees working at home and with international travel being greatly restricted, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide decreased by 23% compared to the previous year. However, these results had to be put into perspective.

While GHG emissions were down worldwide due to unusual circumstances, an increase in energy consumption due to remote working has been calculated using recognised external references. The teams tasked with these calculations also worked to determine emissions reductions related to the decrease in commuting between the workplace and home (which is generally not taken into account in the Group's calculations).


Reduction in energy consumption compared to 2019 (average kWh/full time employee)


Reduced business travel compared to 2019 (average km/full time employee)


Overall reduction in GHG emissions compared to 2019 (T CO2 eq/full time employee) )

"In addition to the effects of the health crisis observed this year, it is the current and future changes in working methods brought about by this crisis that will change the results of the Group's environmental indicators. Our annual monitoring, which is increasingly accurate for measuring our direct impacts and analysing their evolution, will enable us to continue and strengthen actions that will help to reduce these impacts in the coming years. "   
Stephane Lambert, Group envrionmental Reporting Officer

How does BNP Paribas calculate its own emissions?

BNP Paribas reports annually on its greenhouse gas emissions, based on the collection of data on energy consumption in its buildings and on business travel. It is on the basis of these two types of data that the Group's emissions are calculated. This collection of real data is performed in the 20 main countries where the Group operates, accounting for 90% of the workforce. Projections are then made for the remaining 10% of employees. Based on this reporting, more than 50 indicators are monitored in order to analyse not only the Group's emissions but also the consumption of paper, water and waste management.

Actions to reduce digital emissions

In addition to buying low carbon electricity, where possible, and offsetting residual emissions through specific programs, one of the Group's main levers to reduce its direct environmental footprint is the Green Company for Employees programme. This programme has helped to reduce the impact of BNP Paribas by promoting sustainable mobility among employees and eliminating single use plastics in offices. Green Company for Employees also works to raise awareness among all Group employees around the world about best practices that can make a difference in their daily lives.

Ahead of the health crisis, the Green Company for Employees programme had already positioned itself on the issue of reducing emissions related to digital tools, a sector that weighs on about 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but one that will have doubled by 2025 if current trends contine. With increased use of these tools throughout 2020, this issue has become more important than ever. BNP Paribas working groups have collaborated on the best ways for the Group to be more digitally sustainable and awareness campaigns have been conducted around the world to help employees understand how simple changes in their digital habits can have a major impact, whether they work from their offices or at home.

"Digital sustainability is a fascinating topic that we don’t talk about enough, and one that absolutely must be taken into account."

Comment from a BNP Paribas employee druing Digital Cleaning Week

In March 2021, Green Company for Employees and Group Data Office co-organised a Digital Cleaning Week, offering conferences open to all employees worldwide, with internal and external experts on data, IT and the challenges of digital sustainability. Challenges to clean shared email boxes and servers were also organised. At BNP Paribas Bivwak!, about a hundred employees undertook a digital storage clean up operation equivalent to the impact of 19 air trips between Paris and New York in terms of emissions, and similar initiatives also took place within various teams around the world.

"My Carbon Footprint" an innovative solution for the carbon impact of pruchases

Measuring one’s own carbon footprint can be difficult, but BNP Paribas retail banking network customers in France, as well as Hello Bank! customers, now have a soluiton to help them: ‘My Carbon Footprint.’ Developed  in partnership with the French start up Greenly and launched last July, this functionality, accessible directly from a BNP Paribas account, was enhanced last February. It allows clients to establish, in a simple, concrete and fun way, a general estimate of the carbon footprint of their transportation (gasoline), their housing (electricity and water), or various daily services (Internet subscriptions and phones). By monitoring closely the evolution of the carbon impact of their spending, BNP Paribas customers are also in a better position to identify ways to reduce it.

This offer is part of a global approach initiated by BNP Paribas to support its customers in their own energy transition. For example, the retail banking network in France offers a range of eco solutions that fit into the key moments of their daily life, such as travel, eco car loans (for vehicles and electric bikes) and housing, with 0% and 1% Energibio loans and the ‘My Renovation project’ offer.

"I have been using this app for several months, which gives me the barometer of my carbon impact. This allowed me to identify areas for improvement: For example, I don't take my car anymore whenver I can take my bike."

Emilie, client and employee of BNP Paribas

Mon empreinte carbone en chiffres…

42 000

Customers use the functionality every month


Transaction rates for our clients that we are able to categorise

1 180

Companies have a customised carbon coefficient

Our partner, Greenly

A French start up founded in 2019, Greenly, developed an estimator for the CO2 impact of everyday expenses. In practice, thanks to artificial intelligence, Greenly analyses each expense by automatically identifying the typical purchase product or basket from the supplier wording. 304 categories were created by Greenly, whose estimator automatically recognises between 85 and 89% of transactions; euro/carbon conversion coefficients are then applied to each purchase.

According to Greenly, the average carbon footprint of a Frenchman stands at 11.2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita per year in 2018. For the 315,000 BNP Paribas customers who have already visited the functionality and are environmentally conscious, this is a strong lever on which we can act collectively to reduce our impacts.

Learn more about Greenly

An international approach

In the United States, Bank of the West's individual customers have also been offered a similar digital solution to increase their awareness of the impact of their purchases. For all customers holding a current account, who choose the ‘1% for the Planet’ option, Bank of the West pays 1% of the net turnover of this account to the the ‘1% for the Planet’ organisation. These customers also have access to a carbon tracking tool that uses Aland Index, a service for estimating the potential carbon impact of purchases developed by Alandsbanken and DoEconomy.

Through these partnerships, BNP Paribas can offer its clients a simple solution that allows them both to gain a better understanding of their own impact and to make more environmentally friendly choices.

Photo credit : ©Hero Images

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