• Innovation

Innovation: offering ever more sustainable investments to our customers

As the bank for a changing world, BNP Paribas must anticipate the changes that affect our customers and society. Jane Ambachtsheer, Global Head of Sustainability at BNP Paribas Asset Management, talks about the benefits of innovation that serves our customers and society.

Placed at the heart of our strategy, innovation gives us the opportunity to provide solutions to customers’ expectations and their desire to engage in ever more responsible investment opportunities. Sustainable finance, based on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria, has been at the heart of our strategy to build a fairer world for several years.

Are investor expectations concerning sustainability changing?

Jane Ambachtsheer: We have seen a growing interest in sustainable investment as investors become more aware of social and environmental issues and want their investments to have a positive impact on the world. We are seeing a surge in interest in thematic funds, due to both stronger regulatory requirements and a growing demand from investors.

" We are seeing a surge in interest in thematic funds, due to both stronger regulatory requirements and a growing demand from investors. "

How does innovation enable BNP Paribas Asset Management to maintain its lead in the sustainable finance segment?

J.A.: Innovation has been key to becoming a leader in sustainable investment, and in 2021 we changed our tagline to become the sustainable investor for a changing world. We strive to offer innovative sustainable solutions to our clients, such as our Ecosystem Restoration strategy — focused on restoring and preserving global ecosystems and natural capital — or our Inclusive Growth strategy, which invests in companies with a proactive approach to reducing social inequalities. We continually innovate to enhance our sustainable approach and develop proprietary models for assessing investment risks and opportunities linked to sustainability (inclusive growth scoring methodology, carbon emission estimation, etc.).

In your opinion, what major innovations within BNP Paribas Asset Management marked the year?

J.A.: We continue to progress in all aspects of sustainable finance! A concrete example is that, while around one-third of European funds’ assets are classified under Article 8[1] or Article 9[2] of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation[3], this proportion reaches 81% of the assets in our open-ended funds range.

We concentrated on being "future makers", using our influence to promote progress on three key themes, or the "3Es":

  1. Energy Transition: We committed to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, and we will publish our net-zero roadmap that will frame our commitment and the associated targets and strategy in 2022.
  2. Environmental Sustainability: We launched a market-leading biodiversity roadmap. This includes innovative partnerships with the Carbon Disclosure Project and Iceberg Data Lab to develop biodiversity corporate reporting metrics, thus helping investors to better assess biodiversity impacts.
  3. Equality & Inclusive Growth: We launched our Inclusive Growth strategy that tackles social issues. More recently, we conducted a global study of the number of women on boards, demonstrating the effectiveness of BNP Paribas Asset Management’s voting policy and shareholder dialogue. We also need to "walk the talk" towards achieving excellence. This is done by providing sustainability training programmes, working towards a gender-balanced business, reducing emissions and waste in our operations, and providing staff volunteering opportunities focusing in particular on youth inclusion.

We will continue to innovate to deliver our ambitious approach to sustainable investment – strengthening our ability to deliver long-term results to our clients, as well as to attract and retain the best talent. We have an exciting strategy to keep us ahead of the pack, and we look forward to partnering with our clients on this journey.

[1] Produits faisant la promotion de caractéristiques ESG (environnementales, sociales et de gouvernance).
[2] Produits ayant un objectif environnemental et/ou social.
[3] Selon une étude Morningstar sur les actifs sous gestion des fonds européens.

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Find Jane Ambachtsheer's interview and other experts points of view in our 2021 integrated Report.

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