BNP Paribas: “It is essential that banks help protect the Earth’s ecosystems”

Two major events in France in September will bring together key players in CSR and environmental protection to discuss current threats to biodiversity, and how sustainable finance can play a role in preserving the planet’s natural capital: the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN World Congress) in Marseille and the Giverny Forum, near Paris. To better understand these complex issues, we are talking to Sébastien Soleille, Global Head of Energy Transition and Environment at BNP Paribas.


What are we talking about when we talk about biodiversity?

Biodiversity is a big term! Another way to think about it is as “natural capital”. It is a way of looking at the environment from an economic point of view and of seeing nature as a “stock” of living and non-living components. Biodiversity is the living component of this natural capital, so it includes the variety of plant and animal species that make up our natural world, and that work together in ecosystems that support everything we need to survive: food, drinking water , medicine, etc.


Why has the preservation of biodiversity become so important now?

Threats to biodiversity are not new, but unfortunately they are becoming increasingly important and serious. The scientific community, public authorities and coalitions of various stakeholders – particularly those in which BNP Paribas participates – have all highlighted the link between the loss of natural capital and human activities. The 2019 IPBES report, for example, showed that a million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction. This will have a major impact on all supply chains with far-reaching consequences on poverty, access to clean water and the global food supply. IPBES also predicts that this degradation will jeopardize progress towards 80% of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have been at the heart of BNP Paribas’ strategy since 2015.

threats to biodiversity are not new, but they are becoming increasingly important and serious


What are the main threats to biodiversity?

IPBES has identified five primary pressures on biodiversity linked to human activities: changes in the use of land and seas (deforestation, artificialization of land), direct exploitation of organisms (overexploitation of freshwater resources, overfishing) , climate change (rising temperatures), pollution (plastic and cigarette butts in particular) and invasive alien species that affect local ecosystems.


How can a bank help solve these problems?

For me, it is essential that banks help protect Earth’s ecosystems while funding an economy that can meet people’s basic needs: heat, food, water, etc. Banks can achieve this in several ways: on the one hand, we can limit banking activities that have a negative impact on biodiversity, and on the other hand, encourage those that will have positive impacts on the environment.

The financial sector as a whole has a major role to play since it has the power to influence the entire economy. Global engagement of the financial sector can be a very influential action, and we all know that preserving biodiversity is crucial for a successful transition to a sustainable economy. This is why it has become a priority in our work with other financial and extra-financial players and increasingly in our exchanges with our clients.

The financial sector as a whole has a major role to play since it has the power to influence the entire economy.


Ambitious commitments in terms of sustainable financing

By 2025, BNP Paribas has objectives of 3 billion euros in funding related to the protection of terrestrial biodiversity, 1 billion euros in funding for the ecological transition of ships, 55 million euros in investments for the protection and restoration of natural capital, the evaluation of all our business clients on biodiversity criteria, and more….

Read the article on how BNP Paribas strengthened its commitments to biodiversity in 2021


Why are events like the Giverny Forum or the IUCN Congress important for France and internationally?

At BNP Paribas, we have long been convinced that sustainable finance can play a role in responding to serious problems affecting the environment and society. This is why it is part of the corporate purpose of the Group. However, we also know that we cannot act alone, so we participate in coalitions with other actors, be they financial, public or private. The IUCN Congress in Marseille and the Giverny Forum in September are crucial events that bring together NGOs, scientists, large companies and others to discuss CSR issues, and biodiversity in particular. They allow us to discuss with these different actors on strategies to move forward and identify key areas where we can work with others to implement concrete actions. For example, this year in Giverny, a working group in which I participated, “Agir pour la biodiversity”, will publicly present five proposals on how banks, public authorities, researchers and companies can better integrate biodiversity. in their models and what authorities and regulators can do to help.

Giverny and the IUCN

During the first week of September, BNP Paribas will participate in the Giverny Forum and the IUCN Congress in Marseille, two major events bringing together different actors around the issue of biodiversity and its preservation. The first CSR conference in France, the Giverny Forum on September 3 will bring together 700 participants, 7 French ministers, 75 expert speakers and 47 partner organizations, all dedicated to determining concrete actions for the planet and the fight against climate change. The IUCN Congress from September 3 to 11 will have a large international scope of scientists, NGOs, government bodies (such as the French Ministry of Ecological Transition) and partner companies such as BNP Paribas to discuss solutions innovative for biodiversity and what’s important to come. stages of its preservation.

Who is Sébastien Soleille?

Sébastien Soleille has 20 years of professional experience in energy transition and the environment, sustainable development, the industrial environment, biodiversity and the circular economy.

Before joining BNP Paribas, Sébastien started as an environmental economist at INERIS (National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks).

He then joined the large international oil and gas company TOTAL, where he held numerous positions for nine years including Head of TOTAL’s R&D program on alternative fuels, Head of the environment department of an oil and gas refinery, Sustainable Development Manager for new energies and others.

Sébastien also worked for more than four years as Director in charge of Energy Transition at Deloitte.

Today, with his team within the CSR department of the BNP Paribas Group, Sébastien supports employees in reducing environmental impacts, both for themselves at work and through the support they offer to customers of the Group.

Disclaimer

BNP Paribas SA published this content on August 31, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on 31 Aug 2021 13:21:09 UTC.

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