Preserving biodiversity: BNP Paribas activates collective efforts

  • 28.04.2021

Faced with the global challenge of preserving biodiversity, no single player will arrive at soluitons on their own. That is why the BNP Paribas Group has chosen to join coalitions, as it has for its other actions, promoting a more sustainable and inclusive economy. The goal? Pooling everyone's strengths to find the solutions that will help preserve biodiversity, which is currently under threat.

Making a stronger response, together

The preservation of biodiversity involves environmental, societal, economic and ethical challenges. It is a complex issue that has an impact on all human activities, our processes, and our supply chains. Therefore, putting the economy back at the service of living things cannot be done alone. The Group has understood this and is adopting a methodological approach based on the collaboration of numerous economic actors and international bodies.

In order to map global challenges, BNP Paribas has been particularly attentive to the work of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an intergovernmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services. According to IPBES, one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction. In its 2018 report, IPBES already listed the 5 main threats: changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of certain organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive exotic species.

According to IPBES, one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.

Act4Nature: A collective supported by Businesses for the Environment

EPE (Businesses for the Environment) is an organization that brings together large international companies wishing to act together in the face of the environmental challenges. For example, EpE published in French and English ‘Upscaling Corporate Solutions for Biodiversity‘ to highlight sixty best solutions companies can transform into more general practices in favour of biodiversity.

EPE is also behind the act4nature initiative launched in 2018. It is an alliance between large companies (65 have joined the initiative), public authorities, scientists and environmental associations that pursue the same ambition: Creating a true, dynamic and international collective to protect, promote and restore biodiversity, in particular through the involvement of CEOs from all sectors. By joining Act4Nature, each company has made common commitments, signed by their CEOs, as well as individual commitments recognised as SMART by alliance partners.



Finally, if the climate has the Taskforce on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), biodiversity will soon have the TNFD Taskforce for Natural Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). Currently, 74 financial institutions, regulators, companies and other organisations are leading an informal working group (IWG) co-chaired by Antoine Sire, Head of Company Engagement at BNP Paribas. Their aim is to set up TNFD, in addition to the TCFD, as a framework for companies and financial institutions looking to assess, manage and declare their dependencies and impacts on nature.

Joint actions for investments that promote biodiversity

But what can a bank really do for biodiversity? Jean Laurent Bonnafé, Director and Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas and Chairman of EpE, has said: “As with the energy transition, finance has a role to play in steering financing towards companies and sectors that help protect and restore biodiversity.” With these clients and its other stakeholders, BNP Paribas is actively involved in setting up specific funds, issuing green loans and choosing investments linked to initiatives and operations to promote biodiversity.

The Group was thus involved in the creation of the Global Fund for Coral Reefs. This coral reef protection initiative supports public and private funding, which brings together BNP Paribas with Althelia Funds; the United Nations Capital Development Fund, Prince Albert II of Monaco, and the United Nations Human Development Programme (UNDP) among others. BNP Paribas Asset Management also joined the Cerrado Manifesto, a grouping of companies and institutional investors fighting mass deforestation in Brazil, a move subsequently reinforced at Group level by a recent and restrictive policy to combat deforestation.

finance has a role to play in steering financing towards companies and sectors that help protect and restore biodiversity

On the ground actions can prove just as strategic for protecting biodiversity. This is why the Group is joining forces with local players in favour of the preservation of biodiversity, such as the Tara Foundations and the Natagora and Natuurpunt projects in Belgium (for the enlargement of natural reserves). Concrete initiatives, such as ClimateSeed, the voluntary carbon-offsetting platform launched by BNP Paribas, to preserve Indonesian tropical peatlands. In Kenya, the Group participates in Wildlife Works' forest protection and restoration programme.

Green finance - and in particular microfinance - is a tool with a real, concrete and measurable impact. BNP Paribas joined the MEBA (Microfinance for Ecosystem Based Adaptation) project in Senegal and Colombia to accelerate its deployment with micro borrowers. This cross cutting programme includes training for small farmers by biodiversity experts, with the aim of improving the resilience of these populations facing the effects of climate change.

Philanthropy and campaigns to raise awareness about the protection of biodiversity

We know from scientists that the climate balance, as well as a large part of the global economy, depends on the health of the oceans, so BNP Paribas supports several initiatives to raise awareness on the subject. In addition to its commitment to the blue economy to protect maritime spaces, the Group undertakes awareness campaigns among its employees, such as workshops in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation. For the general public, for example, the Group has supported the ‘bio inspired’ exhibition organised at the Cité des Sciences with the help of the BNP Paribas Foundation; the launch of the Coral Matters platform, in partnership with the BNP Paribas Foundation and the Association of Science Technology Centers; or through its parnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Through these numerous actions, the Group aims to inform the general public about current natural emergencies, to which it is imperative to provide a collective, effective and immediate response.

Climate & Biodiversity Initiative: BNP Paribas finances research

Since 2010, the BNP Paribas Foundation has financed scientific research on climate and biodiversity, to the tune of 6 million euros every 3 years through project calls.

Since the Initiative's creation, 27 teams of scientists have been assisted and have achieved concrete achievements and great successes. Among these: The recent study on the impact of invasive exotic species  coordinated by the CNRS researcher Frank Courchamp, in conjunction with the InvaCost database supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation. And the NOTION project carried out by the Mediterranean Oceanology Institute, which aims to anticipate planktonic cell reactions to future climate change, in terms of ocean diversity, activity and productivity.

> Read the article ‘Invasive exotic species: how much are they costing us? 

Photo credit: Hero Images

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