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Climate change: BNP Paribas’s strategy recognized by ShareAction

  • 17.01.2019

Combating climate change has become one of the major challenges of the 21st century. Mindful of the stakes of this effort, BNP Paribas has committed to promoting the energy transition and reducing carbon emissions. This commitment was recognized by the British NGO ShareAction, whose recent reports — Banking on a Low-Carbon Future (2017) and Getting to Green (2018) — rank the Group as the most active European bank in this area.

ShareAction’s ranking commends BNP Paribas’ commitments

ShareAction, an expert in responsible investing, has set out to improve the way companies tackle environmental, social and governance issues. In order to carry out the environmental portion of its mission, ShareAction performs industry analyses and ranks banks based on their commitment to eco-responsible approaches. 

In December 2017, ShareAction distinguished BNP Paribas’s environmental efforts by ranking the Group as the European bank most committed to protecting the environment. In ShareAction’s report Banking on a Low-Carbon Future, BNP Paribas received a score of 107/162, positioning itself as the leader out of 15 European banks analyzed. 

The ranking aims to evaluate companies based on :

  • the quality of their reporting,
  • their management of climate risks,
  • their development of low-carbon products and services,
  • their public commitments and their collaboration with major stakeholders.

BNP Paribas’ score recognizes its strategy for managing climate risks and its offer of sustainable products and services, as well as its efforts to promote dialogue on how to combat climate change.

BNP Paribas’ initiatives among leading practices celebrated by the NGO

In September 2018, ShareAction published a new study, entitled Getting to Green. Based on the Banking on a Low-Carbon Future ranking, the NGO reviewed the best practices in the European banking industry in terms of combating climate change. 

As a leading European bank, BNP Paribas commands a special place in this report. The document outlines the Group’s strategy on climate, its CSR governance, its 2020 performance targets, its commitments to carbon neutrality and to support the energy transition, as well as its responsible investment and financing policies in sensitive sectors. Getting to Green delivers strong recognition for the tangible efforts carried out by BNP Paribas.

Sonia Hierzig, Senior Projects Manager at ShareAction, says: “We are particularly impressed by the way in which BNP Paribas has managed to roll out its climate strategy across the entire organisation. They have achieved this by, among other things, ensuring that around 130 employees across departments spend all or the majority of their time on CSR issues, and by organising an extensive climate education programme. We hope that its peers will be inspired by these initiatives and will quickly follow suit: in order to meet emissions reduction targets and avoid catastrophic climate change, we need this kind of commitment from the banking sector.”

A lasting commitment to a sustainable future 

Since 2011, BNP Paribas has pursued an active policy in favor of protecting the environment and building a sustainable future. In this sense, the Group is on pace with the targets set by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, aiming to limit global warming to a maximum of 2°C. These ambitious objectives govern the Group’s financing and investment choices, its support for climate research and startups, as well as the operation of its clean activities. Some examples include: 

  1. BNP Paribas has committed to raise its total financing to renewable energies to 15 billion euros by 2020. The Group has also committed to investing 100 million euros in startups working to promote the energy transition.

  2. At the same time, BNP Paribas chose to cut back on its support to fossil fuels. The Group has stopped financing or investing in coal extraction projects, coal-fired electric power plants (in all countries), as well as coal mining pure players, and coal power companies that have not developed a diversification strategy. In addition, the Group decided in late 2017 to cease all relations with economic players whose primary activity is exploration, production, distribution, marketing or trading of shale oil or gas and/or oil produced from oil sands. The Group has also excluded gas and oil exploration and production projects in the Arctic from its financing and investments.
  3. BNP Paribas also works to limit the environmental impact of its own activities. Since 2012, it has pursued an active policy to reduce its CO2 emissions through an approach aiming to boost the energy efficiency of its buildings and data centers, and by optimizing its practices in terms of professional travel. The Group also supported the Kasigau project by Wild Life Works, a program developed to preserve and restore 200,000 hectares of forest in Kenya. 
  4. After five years of action, the Group has compensated for the incompressible residual emissions tied to its activities — in late 2017, BNP Paribas was able to reach its carbon neutrality target. To maintain this carbon neutrality, it launched a long-term carbon compensation program in January 2018 in partnership with the foundation GoodPlanet. It plans to install at least 13,000 bio-digestors in India to recycle waste and produce renewable, local energy.
  5. Finally, the BNP Paribas Foundation is committed to support climate research — it allocates two million euros of funding to climate research every year, and it carried out awareness campaigns that reached 60,698 people in 2017.

Laurence Pessez, Global Head of Group Corporate Social Responsibility at BNP Paribas, says: “We are pleased that ShareAction has identified BNP Paribas as the leader among the largest European banks in terms of our response to climate change, and that their 2018 report commends our efforts to implement a comprehensive governance and management of climate risks. As an international bank, our role is to allocate funding to activities that have a positive impact on the energy transition and contribute to the decarbonisation of the economy. We hope our experience on this journey so far will be helpful to our peers in the development of their own climate strategies. And we thank ShareAction for our continuous dialogue on this important matter.

Crédit photo : header ©孤飞的鹤

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