Responsible Business of the Year 2019: BNP Paribas

Finalist for Business in the Community’s Responsible Business of the Year 2019 

BNP Paribas: Clean energy investment jumps 32 per cent as part of wider plan to create sustainable growth

  • 32 per cent rise in clean energy investment
  • €155 billion financing for a better world, up from €135 billion the year before
  • 6,756 volunteering hours

The belief that the world needs collective progress driven by sustainable and equitable growth is at the heart of the way BNP Paribas runs its business.

As a leading European bank, which employs 9,000 people in the UK, the business acknowledges that it can be a big part of the solution in tackling some of the world’s big social and environmental challenges.

Central to this is the bank’s product portfolio. At the end of 2017, the amount of financing provided by BNP Paribas to help promote a greener planet stood at €155 billion, up from €135 billion the year before. A good example of this is the £1.4 billion, five-year revolving credit facility the bank has issued to Thames Water, along with an interest rate linked to how well the company performs against environmental and social metrics.

Supporting renewable energy projects is important. The financing for clean energy jumped 32 per cent between 2016 and 2017, to €12.3 billion. The bank itself is carbon neutral.

“Our customers, shareholders, employees are all demanding that we do business differently than before. For banks, it means making decisions about what business we want to finance and the role we play in reducing carbon emissions or contributing to growth and prosperity that is more inclusive.”

Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO, BNP Paribas

The company has developed a robust environmental, social and governance risk-management framework to make sure it is investing responsibly. In 2017, it divested from tobacco completely and created a new policy on oil and gas investment.

In supporting communities, the company issues many loans, including microfinance, to social enterprises (€1 billion in 2017), and UK staff spent 6,756 paid hours volunteering at local initiatives. It is committed to diversity, supporting the United Nations Global Business Standards for LGBT inclusion, for example. Currently, 23 per cent of female staff sit in senior positions. By the end of 2020, this will be 30 per cent.

These achievements continue to drive recruitment and employee satisfaction across the whole business.

The information in this impact story has been supplied by BNP Paribas.