Positive Innovation

Entrepreneurs and corporate intrapreneurs presented innovative impactful projects to help scale up actions tackling climate change.


According to the most prominent experts, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is still possible but requires a rapid and far-reaching transition. As part of the Positive Innovation Club series organised by Sparknews, on the 5th December corporates, banks and NGOs met in London to discuss positive impact business initiatives. The corporate world was also widely represented across industries, services, retail and financial institutions.

As highlighted by Paul Lindley-an award-winning British entrepreneur and children’s welfare campaigner-the sustainability transition is a collective journey on which we all need to embark at both, individual and business level. His inspiring keynote was followed by a series of presentations from seven innovative companies carefully selected for the event. These presentations revolved around the theme of social and positive impact business, purpose, and other issues.

Sustainable finance is often seen as an additional dimension to the relationship between corporates and banks, and is an opportunity to align interests to have a meaningful conversation about shared sustainability concerns. Impact Finance requires a deeper understanding of the business and integration of working projects across several internal teams (finance, sustainability, communication, and operations for example), alongside strong relationship between corporate leaders finance teams.

The market demand for green financial products has significantly increased with investors focusing on this new asset class. As an example, this year total cumulative issuance of Green/Social/Sustainable Bonds has surpassed half a trillion U.S. Dollars: total green bond issuances as of 2018 YTD (December) reached the total of $171bn compared to $133bn as of December 2017 (up 29%).

Sustainable Bond Issuance by Currency
[Source: Bloomberg, 5th December 2018]

Emmanuelle Aubertel, Sustainable Finance Product Structurer at BNP Paribas presented the Positive Incentive Loan – a loan with an adjusted margin mechanism. Essentially the margin is linked to a global sustainability score provided by extra–financial rating agencies (or to pre-agreed sustainability metrics) and the client is rewarded by a discount on the margin when meeting pre-defined sustainability criteria.

This product is a fantastic opportunity to align “planet finance” and “planet sustainability”, as one of our client brilliantly puts it. What is great is that by using a financial incentive we are able to support and reward our clients’ commitments to sustainability. Overall it is all about engagement with our client.

Emmanuelle Aubertel, Sustainable Finance Product Structurer at BNP Paribas

Six other pitches presenting innovative, impactful projects focused around designing renewable energy and purposeful advertising solutions, training programs and research to advance sustainable development. Airlabs, in particular, came to present one of their four Clean Air Zones that helps tackle air pollution in the Marylebone station in London – a solution implemented through a partnership with BNP Paribas, Air Labs, Chiltern Railways, and JCDecaux.

These presentations were followed by seven workshop sessions addressing a range of topics. All the participants were invited to join these discussions and exchange about the power of positive impact and #PositiveBanking.