BNP Paribas Fortis launches numerous initiatives to support corporate clients in their energy transition. Why is this so important?
Aymeric Olibet: After more than a century and a half of economic development focused on fossil fuels, our planet has gained around 1.1°C compared to the pre-industrial era, causing a proliferation of climate catastrophes and their disastrous consequences for people. A glimpse of what life on earth would become with a climate out of control.
The Covid-19 period confirmed a trend observed for several years: economic players are taking the climate emergency into consideration. Institutions are leading the way. The European Green Deal aims for carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050, with an intermediate target of -55% by 2030.
Sustainable finance is experiencing unprecedented growth: the proportion of funds under management incorporating ESG criteria could exceed US$50tn in 2025, equivalent to more than a third of assets under management worldwide.
At BNP Paribas Fortis, we are taking our place in this movement. This was the purpose of the launch of the Sustainable Business Competence Centre (SBCC) in September 2018: unrivalled in Belgium, it is positioned as a preferred partner to support corporate clients in their sustainable transition.
Can you tell us about a significant operation carried out by the SBCC in 2021?
A.O.: Among the 89 loan applications analysed last year, mainly in renewable energy and waste management, the Biometh Quality Product project is an emblematic example of what the SBCC supports. This industrial site integrates the principles of the circular economy into the management of biomaterials and organic waste in order to produce a certified organic fertiliser, which can replace certain chemical fertilisers. We are proud to support this project, which has the additional advantage of taking a firmly local approach: biomaterials from Wallonia are thus processed and recovered in Wallonia.
In September 2021, BNP Paribas Fortis signed an agreement with the green strategy consulting firm Climact. What are its objectives?
A.O.: Our aim is to give our customers the keys to accelerate their sustainable transition. We therefore carried out an in-depth study of needs and applied a strict selection process to ally ourselves with Climact. This firm of independent experts appeared to us to be the best partner in the market in the field of decarbonisation. From diagnosis to the implementation of comprehensive action plans, its activities are complementary to the support provided by the SBCC.
You are part of the NEST. What exactly does it consist of?
A.O.: The NEST is the BNP Paribas global Network of Experts in Sustainable Transitions, headed by Wilfried Remans. It connects more than 400 specialists from all Group entities to pool their skills. Given the challenges and complexity of the sustainable transition, it is essential to import skills and expertise (which we do through the SBCC, among other things by way of partnerships or investments in themed funds such as Circularity Capital, Astanor) and then disseminate them in order to be relevant contacts for our clients, who are players in the transition.
This is the total amount of investments in the energy transition made in 2021 worldwide.
I.e up by 27% compared to 2020, according to a report published by BloombergNEF (BNEF) in January 2022.