The bank for a changing world

Energy and climate: the transition is underway

  • 18.04.2016

For the Produrable Expo (Paris, March 30 and 31, 2016), BNP Paribas Deputy CSR Manager Nathalie Jaubert explains why we can feel confident that the shift towards a low-carbon economy is already underway. She places special emphasis on the benefits of this transition for businesses, while describing the support offered by BNP Paribas. 

Moving in the right direction

From climate summits to energy transition laws, carbon taxes to environmental standards, climate change is now one of our central political and regulatory concerns. But considering the urgency of the problem, can things really change fast enough to make a difference? “We have set ambitious objectives and the first deadlines stretch well into the future. Of course, we would like to see a faster pace of change,” Nathalie Jaubert confirms. “However, one thing is certain, over the past few years, the leading players in the global economy have been marked by a major change in their outlook. The COP21 climate conference is the best example – which culminated on December 12, 2015 with the signing of a universal agreement by nearly 195 countries, including China and emerging countries like India and Brazil. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and restrict global warming to a maximum of 2°C – or even 1.5°C – above preindustrial levels,” she explains.

 

One of the keys to transitioning towards a low-carbon economy is to expand the share of renewables in the energy mix. “Starting two years ago, renewables reached 50% of installed energy production capacity worldwide,” Nathalie Jaubert says. Another sign of the changing times is the economy’s gradual divestment from the coal industry, the fossil fuel responsible for the majority of CO2 emissions. “At BNP Paribas, for example, we no longer finance coal extraction projects. Businesses relying on this raw material now have to rethink their models. Things are moving in the right direction!” Nathalie Jaubert adds. 

A hotbed of business opportunities

In addition to the regulatory framework, the transition towards a low-carbon economy is an absolute necessity for businesses. “The availability of resources, access to drinking water, biodiversity and much more depend on this transition. That’s why increasing numbers of businesses are integrating the fight against climate change into their economic models. It’s a matter of survival. Ultimately, on one side we’ll have the winners who have made this transition and, on the other side, everyone else,” Nathalie Jaubert explains. 

The winning companies will also be those who understand that there is no real climate strategy without innovation. “From electricity storage solutions to networks, vehicles to smart buildings, more and more companies are transforming the ‘challenge’ of the energy transition into an opportunity. They are recruiting talent and teaming up with start-ups and investment funds to design sustainable and innovative solutions. It has also enabled them to conquer new markets,” Nathalie Jaubert says.

Less CO2, more growth 

To support all of its customers in the transition towards a low-carbon economy, BNP Paribas has developed a targeted “green” offer. “Our retail customers can benefit from an energy assessment and a dedicated loan to finance energy efficiency renovations on their homes. For businesses, we have set up Green Desks that offers an energy report to help them improve their energy efficiency or integrate renewable energies into their facilities. For institutional customers, we provide green investment products combined with regular reports to demonstrate the impact of their choice and make it possible to monitor the energy footprint of their portfolios,” Nathalie Jaubert says. 

The message is simple: prove that we can now create growth without emitting increasing amounts of greenhouse gases. “Energy efficiency and renewable energies can now serve to finance growth, as well. All the indicators demonstrate this fact. As a bank and a global economic player, it’s our duty to share this observation with all of our customers,” Nathalie Jaubert concludes.

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