The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided the central roadmap for this year's BNP Paribas Sustainable Future Forum in Paris.
The second BNP Paribas Sustainable Future Forum (SFF) was held in Paris in October and gathered over 70 speakers, 151 organisations, and over 400 participants from 24 countries. The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided the central roadmap for this global gathering, organised shortly after the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report calling for urgent action on climate change.
The event highlighted the bank's commitment and leadership in addressing climate change and sustainability issues, helping establish a dialogue between corporates, investors, experts, and start-ups. Discussing solution-oriented financing strategies that are necessary to build a common stronger future was a key talking point throughout the day.
Participants were welcomed by BNP Paribas Chairman Jean Lemierre, who paid specific attention to the diversity of organisations and people required to address the sustainability challenges and opportunities. He also emphasised the importance of industrialising sustainability processes to scale-up BNP Paribas' contribution towards positive banking.
This message was reinforced by Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO of BNP Paribas, who highlighted the import role the bank has to play in channelling finance towards sustainability, including adapting its business model. He also stressed the need to join forces with clients and stakeholders to collectively achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The central theme of scaling up the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals was discussed throughout the plenary sessions, and participants interacted with speakers through live polling. Key takeaways included:
- Reaching the inflexion point - The size of the global green economy represents 6% of the market capitalization of global listed companies
- The future is now- The next 10 years will be crucial in determining climate change impacts on economies and societies
- Dual digital- Digitalisation and sustainability will go hand-in-hand
- Steering standards- Large companies can set the standard in relation to implementing the UN SDGs.
Pioneering polar explorers Robert and Barney Swan – the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles and Managing Director of the 2041 Foundation respectively – underlined the urgency of climate risk, and highlighted the opportunities and mindset required to accelerate the energy transition.
The BNP Paribas event coincided with the 4th annual Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit held in New York. In that context, the findings of the Bloomberg's Sustainable Business & Finance Survey were presented at the Paris SFF, and highlighted the sustainable finance actions and outlook of 600 corporates and investors in the US and Europe. This explored themes including investor perceptions, data challenges and value creation opportunities of integrating sustainability.
BNP Paribas hosted the Business For Good Forum throughout the day in its plenary space too. This included inviting leading entrepreneurs and clean-technology start-ups to present their innovations, and allowed innovators to market their solutions to top institutional and corporate executives, building their sustainably networks and sharing best practices.
Antoine Sire, Head of Company Engagement at BNP Paribas, concluded the event by prioritising the need to act quickly on climate change, whilst embracing social, financial and technological transformations to create a better future.