The bank for a changing world

Our commitments to accelerate the energy transition and to fight for climate protection

  • 24.09.2018

Fighting global warming and protecting biodiversity are global challenges. As a banking industry leader in sustainable finance and investment, BNP Paribas pursues a strategy of sensible development, paying close attention to its activities’ societal and environmental impacts in all regions.

In 2011, BNP Paribas Group first confirmed its aim to participate in building a sustainable future. Since then, it has made strong commitments, framing its activities around global principles and initiatives that promote low-carbon finance. This voluntary policy is built upon a strong conviction—that the global energy transition represents a hotbed of opportunities for the Group, as well as for the global economy. In line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, BNP Paribas today plans to contribute to the goal of limiting global warming to below 2°C

Within the framework of its environmental responsibility, three central principles guide the Group’s actions:

  • Guiding our clients in the transition to a low-carbon economy

  • Reducing the environmental footprint linked to our own operations

  • Knowledge development and the sharing of best environmental practices

  • Jean-Laurent Bonnafé

    Director and Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas

    “In this race against time, the banking and finance sector must be at the forefront of the establishment of a low-carbon economy. The bank is the engine of the economy. As the intersection for everyone—individuals, businesses and investors—it is capable of changing the global order. Through its financial and investment levers, it can strongly encourage its clients to mobilize and respond to the urgency of the situation.”

We act in favor of the energy transition and climate protection.

Climate change action has been a priority for BNP Paribas for several years. The Group has spearheaded several initiatives to finance infrastructure for renewable energy, invest in climate research, engage key partners, and even help its clients meet their energy efficiency objectives. 

Reducing our environmental footprint

At the end of 2017, BNP Paribas reached its carbon neutrality objective. Since 2012, the Group has led an active policy to reduce its CO₂ emissions through measures to improve energy efficiency at its buildings and data centers, and through optimizing professional travel. Residual emissions have been offset since 2017 thanks to the Kasigau project from Wild Life Works—a program that aims to preserve and restore 200,000 hectares of forest in Kenya. In the long term, a new carbon compensation program was officially launched in January 2018 with the GoodPlanet foundation, with the aim of installing 13,000 anaerobic digesters in India.

Elsewhere, the Group is collaborating with suppliers to reduce the environmental footprint of purchased products and services. For example, it uses sustainable paper, as well as supplies made from recycled materials. 

Photo ©Lisa Kristine / Wildlife Works

Withdrawing from the fossil fuel sector (coal, oil and gas)

As a long-time energy sector partner, our goal is to become a bank of reference for sustainable finance and investment.  

To meet this objective, the Group has decided to cease financing high-polluting activities such as: 

  • Coal extraction, whether through mining projects, or by any mining companies specializing in coal that do not have a diversification strategy
  • Coal-based power plants
  • Projects primarily dedicated to the transport and export of gas and shale oil, or oil derived from bituminous sands
  • Arctic exploration projects, or oil and gas production projects in the Arctic

The Group aims to finance only electricity-producing businesses whose coal-reducing strategies are at least as ambitious as those set out by their respective countries. 

Supporting GreenTech stakeholders

BNP Paribas is investing more in the renewable energy sector, with the goal of financing €15 billion by 2020. The Group is paying particularly close attention to GreenTechs that are active in the energy transition, in which it will invest €100 million by 2020.   

In 2016 and 2017, for example, the Group invested €5.5 million in equity in Heliatek, a start-up that produces organic photovoltaic films that help decarbonize electricity production in buildings.

Innovating and promoting green finance

BNP Paribas offers a range of “green” products and services, as well as tools to guarantee the control of investments. 

It is already one of the global leaders in the Green Bonds market—in 2017, €5.3 billion in placements were registered and, between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, the bank was the leading co-financer in 20 green bond operations.

BNP PARIBAS OFFERS A RANGE OF “GREEN” PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, AS WELL AS TOOLS TO GUARANTEE THE CONTROL OF INVESTMENTS.

Combining high performance with positive impact, BNP Paribas Asset Management also offers a large range of green funds that are invested in alternative energies and energy efficiency. By the end of 2017, these funds totaled €5.5 billion in decarbonized pipeline products

Today, BNP Paribas global activities led to €155 billion in financing toward the energy transition and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

More information on Global Goals and BNP Paribas

Helping our individual clients in their own ecological projects 

BNP Paribas makes several incentivizing credit offers available to individual clients in the bank’s retail banking network, such as green car loans offered at 1% with the purchase of a hybrid or electric car, which were made available in France at the end of 2017. 

Or for example, the Boost'Chauffe loan, at a rate of 1% to finance new heating or hot water equipment, proposed by BNP Paribas Personal Finance and ENGIE, thus improving energy efficiency in France.

©nblxer.

Minimizing carbon risk

To combat carbon pollution and promote a more sustainable economy, BNP Paribas Group has decided to: 
  • Progressively introduce an internal carbon price to evaluate the resilience of its credit portfolio to climate change
  • Measure, understand and regularly publish the carbon footprint of assets managed as third-party accounts by BNP Paribas, conforming to the Montreal Carbon Pledge to which BNP Paribas Asset Management is a signatory
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of assets managed as third-party accounts by BNP Paribas, conforming to the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition, to which BNP Paribas Asset Management is a signatory
  • Reinforce awareness activities around carbon risk throughout companies operating in the oil and gas industries, in which the Group invests as a third-party

In 2017, BNP Paribas Asset Management measured and published the carbon imprints of more than 180 equity funds in its portfolio (compared with 100 action funds in 2016), representing €51.5 billion. This initiative responds to the challenges of the Montreal Pledge signed by both BNP Asset Management and BNP Paribas Cardif.

Establishing strategic partnerships with key stakeholders

To incentivize more responsible behavior, BNP Paribas acts outside of its ecosystem to lead or guide eco-responsible initiatives. This occurs through the signing of agreements and partnerships with supranational organizations in order to guarantee the development and sharing of best practices for the environment.

BNP Paribas has also aligned itself with several international events to spur action and raise awareness around environmental protection and global warming.

Our actions to accelerate energy transition

Photo ©Synergos Institute/Flickr

We act to preserve biodiversity and natural resources.

BNP Paribas has adopted policies that aim to protect natural ecosystems, financing activities that could impact them positively. The Group has created a list of mandatory criteria that the Group requires clients to respect in order to benefit from its financial services. 

Protecting forests as biodiversity zones 

BNP Paribas aims to guarantee that its activities do not contribute to deforestation or the degradation of forests, through the Zero Net Deforestation initiative of the Soft Commodities Compact, jointly developed by the Consumer Goods Forum and the Banking Environment Initiative. Signatories to this initiative act to eliminate deforestation in their value chains by 2020. 

To solidify this position, BNP Paribas pays special attention to the protection of forests within the framework of its relationships with clients operating in the sectors of agriculture, palm oil, paper products and mineral extraction, which can have especially significant impacts on forest biodiversity.

How we coordinate our financing and investment actions in sensitive sectors including palm oil, defense, and agriculture

Photo ©APZBNF - Credits: APZBNF

Preserving water resources

BNP Paribas seeks to guarantee that its activities do not contribute to water waste or pollution, notably in regions of the world where water is becoming increasingly scarce. 

To benefit from the Group’s financial services, clients in the agricultural or mining extraction sectors must implement water management policies that aim to optimize consumption and control the impacts for other uses, particularly in water stress zones. They are also asked to manage their outflows to limit pollution.

Minimizing atmospheric pollution

BNP Paribas seeks to guarantee that its activities do not contribute to an increase in air pollution, especially in areas with high population density.

To benefit from the Group’s financial services, clients in the agricultural and palm oil sectors must implement internal policies that prohibit burning and minimize the use of phytosanitary products, which are significant atmospheric pollutants. 

Globally, the Group asks its clients to minimize emissions of sulphur oxide (SOx), nitrous oxide (NOx) and fine particles (FP) in sectors such as energy and mining.

Promoting the circular economy

BNP Paribas seeks to guarantee that its activities do not contribute to the increasing scarcity of natural resources, minerals and non-minerals, and aims to favor the circular economy wherever pertinent.  

BNP Paribas supports the transition to a circular economy in three ways—it finances key stakeholders, especially those who innovate; it develops the economy of functionality through its leasing offer; and it engages in the framework of its own functioning.

BNP Paribas directly finances many circular economy stakeholders in its domestic markets, such as the French company Moulinot (specialist in the revaluation of food waste through vermicomposting) and Building Integrated Greenhouses in Belgium. 

In addition, some of the Group's businesses participate directly in the circular economy. For example, BNP Paribas Real Estate has carried out some real estate projects in an economically and ecologically responsible way with the Encore Heureux architects' collective. With Arval, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions offers a leasing service based on how a good is used rather than who owns it. This optimizes the use of assets and the management of their life cycles. BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions’ Kintessia project is another example of the circular economy: as the first B2B platform for renting or selling transport, construction and agricultural equipment, Kintessia is increasing the use of previously owned equipment, along with the rate at which existing equipment is put to use. This project received a 2017 BNP Paribas Internal Innovation Award.

Lastly, BNP Paribas has adopted internal policies aimed in particular at large-scale reducing, reusing and recycling of office supplies used in its buildings. In particular it has focused on paper and IT equipment. When reaching end of life, IT equipment can be handled in such a way to ensure their reuse or their material recycling—an important and entirely possible proposition.

Putting sustainable development at the heart of the organization 

On September 1, 2017, BNP Paribas created the Company Engagement department, which is headed by members of the Group’s Executive Committee. This department defines and implements the corporate strategy on issues related to sustainable development around three major axes: the choice of financing carried out by the bank, the impact of activities carried out by BNP Paribas and the engagement of its employees. To do this, BNP Paribas provides ways to promote its strategy among all employees in the 73 countries where the Group is present, so that they can play an active role in carrying out this policy.

Photo header ©Viktar Malyshchyts

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