World Earth Day: it’s still not too late to act!

Friday, 22 april 2022

To mark this important day for the planet, let’s take a look at Groupe BPCE’s commitment to the climate

World Earth Day will be a rather special event this year: just two weeks ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the 3rd and final part of its 6th assessment report entitled ‘Mitigation of Climate Change.’ While the report is alarming as to the warming trajectory our planet will take without strong, immediate and coordinated action by governments on a global scale, it also reminds us of the solutions and efforts to be made in the various sectors of the economy, with the authors insisting that it’s still not too late to act. 

Groupe BPCE has placed climate change at the very heart of the strategic plan it launched in July last year, making it a priority for all its businesses and companies. It fully intends to support all its customers in their environmental transition, helping them to meet their needs for financing, investment, savings or insurance, with privileged advisory services and high-quality strategic dialogue, providing expertise, solutions and a long-term vision.

It should be remembered that Groupe BPCE joined the ‘Net Zero Banking Alliance,’ an international initiative launched by UNEP-FI aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. For Groupe BPCE, contributing to carbon neutrality means aligning its portfolios with a zero net emissions trajectory by 2050; it also means monitoring this trajectory over time by setting short-, medium- and long-term milestones for the alignment of its balance sheet with these objectives. This is what the Group has done by underpinning its commitments with dedicated measurement tools: the Green Weighting Factor (GWF) mechanism used since 2018 to rate the climate and environmental impact of each financing deal concluded by Natixis CIB, as well as a systematic Green Evaluation Models approach making it possible to provide a climate rating for the other balance sheet activities, due to be rolled out on 100% of the Group’s portfolios by 2024.

Biodiversity, another major challenge for the planet

Groupe BPCE is also aware of the major challenge represented by the degradation of natural capital and is committed to taking concrete action to preserve it. This is why, within the framework of the ‘act4nature international’ initiative, the Group’s corporate financing and investment businesses (Natixis CIB) and asset management businesses (Natixis Investment Managers) made eight concrete commitments* in 2020, entirely focused on their direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity. These commitments include sustainable financing solutions that cover opportunities for enhanced biodiversity, and €2 billion of assets under management dedicated to natural capital and the protection of water resources by 2023. Today, 100% of new customers in relevant sectors are reviewed for the impact of their activities on biodiversity, and an initial assessment of commitments will be published at the end of 2022.

Earth Day also provides an opportunity for Groupe BPCE companies to highlight their day-to-day commitments: Banque Populaire Alsace Lorraine Champagne, for example, supports so-called ‘Miyawaki’ initiatives, a method for rapidly growing resilient forests on degraded soils. Urban islands of flora and fauna biodiversity have been created in Mulhouse and Metz. A sink to capture CO2 has also been created to further reduce the bank’s carbon footprint. The Caisse d’Epargne Midi-Pyrénées, for its part, is committed to biodiversity, notably by its decision to sign up to the ‘companies committed to nature’ program with the French Office for Biodiversity and by its formulation of a 10-step action plan for 2024. It has already carried out a biodiversity diagnosis on its main site and planted 1,600 trees, as many as there are employees, in a municipality in the Haute-Garonne region.

*SMART commitments: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based