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“We are working with teams around the world to move towards zero plastic in our work environments”

Is eliminating single-use plastic from our work environments, or even our environment altogether, actually possible? For Perrine Tiret, Head of the BNP Paribas cross-functional and participative programme “Green Company for Employees” (GC4E), the answer is a resounding YES!

What are the missions of Green Company for Employees?

The role of GC4E is to motivate and unite people while raising the profile of the initiatives taken within BNP Paribas to reduce the company’s impact on the environment, both internally and externally. The idea is to align everyone with the Group’s commitments, in order to act as coherently as possible. We coordinate actions within the various BNP Paribas entities and lead several networks built according to themed commitments, so as to gain a clear overview. Our aim is to create a ripple effect whereby GC4E ambassadors have their own network and bring the Group’s commitments to life within their teams, so that best practices spread outwards! An important part of our role is to tune into the concerns of employees so we know where to channel our efforts: each year, we choose an environmental field that interests them and on which the Group can act. For example, this year, we are focusing on sustainable food.

Reducing single-use plastic was the theme in 2019. What is your assessment of the actions of employees in this area?

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic which caused us some temporary setbacks, we’ve made considerable efforts together, which have borne fruit! And it’s not over, since the teams continue to alert us when they notice something “wrong” such as disposable cutlery or beakers, plastic packaging that could be replaced or done away with, depending on the case. Beyond individual awareness, we can clearly see that everyone now wants to play a part and add their building block to the structure. The proliferation of water bottles and mugs on desks in a short space of time tells its own story.

What are the latest advances made towards zero-plastic at Group level?

We are working with teams around the world to move towards zero plastic, especially with our suppliers in many countries. There are lots of examples, but over the past year there are three that I find particularly noteworthy. First in Morocco, where BMCI signed its “Zero-Plastic” charter to eliminate disposable items made of petroleum-based plastic from work and catering spaces. This idea of zero plastic has also been closely integrated into the exhaustive referencing work done by the Group Strategic Sourcing teams in France on meal delivery companies. It’s really a tool for organising events in a more responsible way, because an all-encompassing approach has been taken to the various environmental issues. So this means plastic, but also the fight against waste, types of transport… also with a social responsibility component, to encourage recourse to ESATs (French support and work assistance establishments), which employ people with disabilities. Finally, the latest prime example of the Group’s desire to do its part in saving resources is the end of promotional gifts. We no longer distribute goodies at trade shows or during our events. In terms of brand communication, it’s a deliberate choice and a commitment of key importance. 

Do GC4E ambassadors also organise large one-off campaigns?

Yes, especially within the framework of the 1MillionHours2Help programme, co-managed by the Group’s Human Resources and Company Engagement divisions. It allows you to dedicate part of your working time to initiatives helping others and to act on the world around us, outside the corporate framework. In September, the “World Clean Up Day” and the “Sustainability Week” met with great success. In Milan, colleagues from BNP Paribas Cardif took part in a major clean-up of the Sempione park – 55 kg of waste and 2,500 cigarette butts all the same! In Hong Kong, a team from IT Production was able to bring family along for a cleaning day on the Wilson Trail with the Clean Up Hong Kong Trails association. In Bahrain, the major clean-up of Nurana Beach mobilised more than 90 volunteers and enabled the recovery of nearly 2,000 kg of waste, including 130 kg of plastic. For its part, Germany set a daily challenge over the course of a week: not eating meat, cycling to the office, picking up litter on the way… We have plenty of examples like these at BNP Paribas!

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