Preserving biodiversity: BNP Paribas activates collective efforts

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.

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.

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.