BNP Paribas hosted its inaugural European Sustainable Future Forum in Paris this week, bringing together corporate and institutional clients to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the energy transition. The event highlighted the bank’s commitment and leadership in tackling climate change and sustainability issues, encompassing panels on shifting business models, green finance, private sector engagement, and a captivating keynote from Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation.
Jean Lemierre, BNP Paribas Group Chairman opened the event, followed by an optimistic address about scaling up the energy transition from Brune Poirson, French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition. This was followed by a ‘business models of tomorrow’ panel in which industry experts from Moody’s, UPM, BNP Paribas Asset Management and Leasing solutions conversed about realigning corporate strategy and the positive role of scenario analysis in assessing climate risk. Sir David King, Former UK special representative for climate change enlightened the audience about the stark reality and impacts of global warming, stressing an importance on research and the innovative solutions required to meeting the Paris agreement.
In a changing world, innovation requires a pioneering and collaborative mindset-something highlighted by keynote speaker Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation. Solar impulse was the first and only solar plane to fly around the whole world without fuel. Using his experience as a forward thinking sustainability champion, Mr Piccard inspired the audience to think beyond the present constraints, and embrace an explorative attitude towards clean technology solutions.
Targeted track discussions with industry and BNP Paribas sustainability specialists also provided in depth dialogues about topics ranging from ESG impact and smart cities, to investing in renewables and smart mobility. The role of the private sector as a catalyst for change, including greater confidence in green opportunities, was advocated by Clara Gaymard, co-founder and president of Raise & Women’s Forum (ex GE France CEO) and Claire Tetenuit, General Delegate, Entreprises pour l’Environnement. The forum ended with Steve Howard, ex IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer and current chair and co-founder of We Mean Business, giving the audience an insight into the shifts in attitude required to fast track the sustainability agenda, including a greater focus on purpose and progressive leadership.
The Sustainable Future Forum also provided corporates and investors with an opportunity to engage with panellists through live polls, one of which identified ‘behaviour’ and ‘innovation’ as the most important factors in determining the success of the sustainability transition.