Doing business sustainably
BNP Paribas has designed its corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy as an extension of its core business. The BNP Paribas companies manage their CSR commitments with the same high standards and professionalism as they conduct their commercial activities.
Like in other BNP Paribas markets, this approach geared towards continuous progress in a changing world also takes many different forms in Belgium.
BNP Paribas works to support economic development in all countries where it does business. This economic responsibility basically means providing substantial support to the Belgian economy by financing the plans and projects of our clients. At 2013 year-end, outstanding long-term loans to companies and households stood at €113.2 billion.
A significant share of these loans are extended to some 420,000 Belgian entrepreneurs (merchants, craftsmen, liberal professions, small business owners), the social profit and public banking sector (including hospitals and schools), individuals and companies for financing their investments in renewable energy, energy saving and the purchase of ‘green’ vehicles.
Integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into loan and investment analysis is also high on the agenda of BNP Paribas companies.
Improving both customers’ and non-customers’ financial literacy is another priority. Furthermore, specific emphasis is put on supporting Belgian start-ups and a number of external partners dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs.
Our social responsibility is demonstrated in a fair and loyal human resources approach.
Our diversity policy involves primarily promoting talented people whatever their background; improving gender parity at all levels; properly integrating disabled staff and providing adequate facilities to all customers; fostering collaboration between generations in the workplace.
In terms of our environmental responsibility, relentless efforts are made to reduce the environmental impact of our business activities. Key priorities include reducing paper consumption by 30% and CO2 emissions due to business travel and energy use by 25% by the year 2020.
In March 2014, we were presented with two additional Ecodynamic Enterprise labels from the Brussels Capital Region in recognition of its commitment to sustainability, as demonstrated in its buildings and equipments.
We also demonstrate a strong civic responsibility. Support to the social and solidarity economy is provided in a variety of forms, including through microStart, which granted its thousandst microloan in Belgium in June 2014, and Rural Impulse Fund II, an investment fund linked to microfinance in emerging countries, in which BNP Paribas Fortis invested €7.5 million in 2013. There is also a sizeable portfolio of loans to Belgian social enterprises which operate in the competitive market but whose main objective is not financial profit.
Our private foundation also provides substantial support to many Belgian not-for-profit associations and their educational projects designed to assist underprivileged young people.
Furthermore, the annual collection drive of ‘red cents’ enables to provide ten thousands of meals to the needy via the Belgian food banks.
In addition, several Belgian university chairs receive financial support on a multi-annual basis.
Finally, our strong commitment to the community is reflected in our corporate sponsorship policies geared, amongst others, towards supporting artistic expression and promoting culture in Belgium.
BNP Paribas, a responsible economic player
For the Group, being a responsible bank means living up to its economic responsibilities and working to finance projects for its clients.
In addition, BNP Paribas recognises that it has responsibilities in three other areas:
This means treating the Group’s more than 190,480 employees in a fair and loyal manner and engaging in serious and meaningful dialogue with staff union representatives.
This means helping to combat social exclusion and promoting education and culture. The Group has a strong stake in society, through initiatives and projects which take its banking role one step further for the good of society: special assistance for underprivileged neighbourhoods and marginalised areas, microcredit, support for charitable organisations and social economy enterprises. Our civic engagement is also manifested in the corporate philanthropy work done by the BNP Paribas Foundation, whose charity initiatives include educational, cultural and public health projects.
BNP Paribas pays particular attention to the environmental impact resulting from its banking activities all over the world. The Group has drawn up and implemented detailed policies relating both to its day-to-day functioning and to sensitive fields of industry, and supports environmental initiatives through the BNP Paribas Foundation.