The World Health Organization estimates that 7 million people die prematurely every year from diseases caused by air pollution, such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx). In addition greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), trap heat, create smog and lead to even greater concentrations of pollution. Reducing emissions will be vital if the ambition to create a cleaner and greener economy to be realised.
The 2019 World Environment Day focuses on improving air quality, with #BeatAirPollution as its theme. BNP Paribas is moving forward with clean air technologies, including Clean Air Zones in the UK and accelerating green mobility through electric vehicles.
In the UK, BNP Paribas has put pollution at the heart of its recent community engagement and environment initiatives. The 'Clean Air Zones' greentech initiative – developed in partnership with Airlabs, Chiltern Railways, and JCDecaux – adapts traditional out-of-home (OOH) advertising to create four clean air zones in Marylebone station, next to BNP Paribas' UK headquarters. The solution is powered by Airlabs' technology, and combines atmospheric chemistry with airflow engineering, alongside a filter system for nano-particles. The result is the removal of over 90% of particulate matter such as PM2.5 and PM10, as well as gases such as NOx, SOxand CO2, in the area immediately around the filter systems.
Transitioning to cleaner technologies is a core part of BNP Paribas' approach to sustainable mobility. In particular, the bank has embraced cleaner technologies in the automotive sector through strategic partnerships. BNP Paribas Arval – the bank's vehicle leasing solutions business – partnered with ENGIE late last year to launch a new electric mobility offer. Based on a monthly rental fee, the integrated service includes electric vehicle leasing from Arval and the installation and maintenance by ENGIE of charging points at company sites in town centres or at drivers' homes.
Advancing green mobility and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the mobility sector is also a core theme at the World Summit on Sustainable Mobility in Montreal, in which BNP Paribas is an event partner.
In Asia, CG Lai, China CEO for BNP Paribas, is also sharing his insights on clean air in a panel at the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Regional Roundtable for Sustainable Finance. Financing the transition to cleaner mobility has been accelerated over the last few months, notably through sustainability linked loans (SLL). Recent BNP Paribas sustainable mobility transactions include a €900 million SLL for Spanish infrastructure and services operator Ferrovial, and a $30 million SLL to South African automotive group Motus in 2019.
As part of the bank's broader sustainability strategy and goal to accelerate the low-carbon energy transition, BNP Paribas has also embarked on the following actions:
- In 2017, BNP Paribas became carbon-neutral and is committed to supporting clients in their transition to a low-carbon economy
- At the end of 2018, BNP Paribas had exceeded its renewable energy target and financed €15.4 billion of renewable energy
- In early 2019, BNP Paribas Asset Management announced an enhanced coal-exclusion policy, aimed at tackling climate change by divesting from the largest source of carbon emissions.