Natural capital and biodiversity

Biodiversity refers to all the plant and animal species making up the living ecosystems on earth. The erosion of this “natural capital” - the economic value of nature - poses a clear danger to us all. It also creates major systemic and transitional risks for investors, and thus for economies. To help protect biodiversity worldwide, BNP Paribas is committed to implementing dedicated policies, participating in coalitions and financing actions with a positive impact.

Restoring biodiversity, Sustainable Development Goal #15  

The extinction of different species and the erosion of biodiversity hinder our progress in achieving 80% of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those related to poverty, hunger, health, water, climate, oceans and land. Biodiversity loss is therefore not only an environmental issue, but also a developmental, ethical and economic issue.  

According to the most recent report of the UN Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), one million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction today.  

1 million

The number of species threatened with extinction according to IPBES    

Tackling the main threats to biodiversity

In recognising that the Group has an important roles to play, both through the support it provides clients seeking to transform their practices and through work with extra-financial actors fighting to restore nature, BNP Paribas made the decision to further strenghten its commitment to biodiversity in 2021.

Based on IPBES' studies, BNP Paribas has published a public position to clarify and structure its actions regarding the five major threats to biodiversity:  

  • Changes in land and sea use 
  • Direct exploitation of certain organisms 
  • Climate Change 
  • Pollution 
  • Invasive species 

Why is biodiversity important?

Biodiversity plays a crucial role in maintaining natural capital. It contributes to the stability of ecosystems, allowing their regeneration and resilience to external disruptions. Each species has a specific function in the ecosystem, whether through its involvement in soil renewal, pollination, water storage or climate regulation.

Biodiversity also acts as a shield against disease. For example, a greater diversity of animal species may reduce the likelihood of disease transmission to humans.In addition, biodiversity is an infinite source of scientific knowledge and medical discoveries based on living beings and plants in natural environments.

Finally, biodiversity is of considerable economic importance. It provides natural resources such as wood, seafood, medicinal plants and many other products. It also supports entire industries such as agriculture, fishing, pharmaceuticals, tourism and many others.

“I believe that it is essential that banks contribute to the protection of ecosystems. To do this, they have two major levers of action: on the one hand, limit banking activities that have a negative impact on biodiversity and, on the other, support activities that, on the contrary, generate a positive impact on our environment.” 

Sébastien Soleille 

Global Head of Energy Transition and Environnent, BNP Paribas

Structuring our activities to limit the loss of natural capital  

Since 2010, BNP Paribas has deployed financing and investment policies to structure the sectors having the greatest impact on the climate, particularly in the fight against deforestation. More recently, the Group has strengthened its actions to safeguard particularly sensitive areas in terms of biodiversity

Since 2020, BNP Paribas has committed to: 

  • not finance any oil and gas exploration or production projects in the Arctic offshore or in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge  
  • exclude any maritime oil exports from the Amazon Sacred Headwaters, in the Esmeraldas region of Ecuador, from its trading activities 
  • provide financial products and services only to clients with a “zero deforestation” strategy by 2025, among those producing or purchasing beef or soy from the Amazon and Cerrado regions of Brazil 

Addressing climate change and biodiversity loss simultaneously

Biodiversity loss and climate change must be jointly addressed to achieve international climate and environmental ambitions. To reduce this biodiversity degradation, to protect, and even to restore it as much as possible, ambitious actions from all stakeholders (public authorities, citizens-consumers, NGOs, companies, scientists, financial institutions) are needed.

As a bank, BNP Paribas also acts in favour of biodiversity by accompanying its clients in their own ecological transition and by offering sustainable financial solutions, including sustainability-linked loans or green bonds. This support helps them to achieve specific objectives in terms of protecting terrestrial and marine biodiversity. 

BNP Paribas Asset Management, for example, offer a range of sustainable funds that promote biodiversity and has established ambitious objectives to measure and publish the biodiversity footprint of its portfolios and its exposure to deforestation and is integrating nature-related topics into its company engagement activities. At the same time, BNP Paribas Cardif 2023, BNP Paribas Cardif published the biodiversity footprint of its equity and corporate bond portfolios, and Cardif makes investments in green bonds with a positive impact on the environment within its general fund.

Preserving biodiversity in three key figures 


in funding for businesses contributing to the protection of terrestrial and marine biodiversity at the end of 2023


in funding for the maritime ecological transition by 2025


invested in start-ups committed to ecological transition by 2025

The BNP Paribas Group also invests in start-ups committed to the ecological transition. These investments with a positive impact on biodiversity come on top of several actions carried out within the Group and encouraging the integration of assessment criteria throughout all of its activities. BNP Paribas is therefore in dialogue with all its clients in sensitive countries to encourage their own commitments against deforestation. In addition, by the end of 2025, BNP Paribas will have assessed all its corporate clients on biodiversity-related criteria.  

"ESG analysis traditionally focuses on carbon, but less so on the modification of bee habitats, the destruction of mangroves or the decline of fish stocks. Through our work on biodiversity data and new measures, we intend to take action and encourage the consideration of natural capital in investment decisions."    

Robert-Alexandre Poujade 

 SRI Analyst BNP Paribas Asset Management  

Collective action for nature preservation 

Coalitions of stakeholders committed to nature  

Aware that it cannot act alone against this challenge, the Group is part of various coalitions at the global and local levels, such as Entreprises pour l’Environnement (EPE), the association behind the Act4Nature initiative. EPE brings together companies, public authorities, scientists and environmental associations to develop collaborative solutions and create a collective, international movement that will protect, enhance and restore biodiversity.  

In 2020, BNP Paribas took part as co-chair of an informal workgroup put in place to structure the Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). Created to complement the TCFD on climate, it aims to bring global consistency to the reporting of nature-related business risks and opportunities. Following several beta releases of the framework, developed with an open innovation approach to improve relevance, usage and implementation by stakeholders, the TNFD released its final recommendations (unavailable link) in 2023.

Raising awareness for the climate and biodiversity

The Group strives to raise awareness among our employees in 64 countries around the world of its environmental ambitions through vast internal trainings that address climate change, biodiversity impacts, and the key themes of sustainable finance. The BNP Paribas Foundation, for its part, is working more broadly to raise public awareness of these issues, in particular by supporting research and philanthropy related to biodiversity. The Foundation brings together public authorities, scientists, companies, NGOs and private citizens in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges and actions necessary to protect animal and plant species currently threatened with extinction. 

Photo credits: Wavebreak Media / RooM The Agency /Mark Edward Atkinson/Blend images /pingpao