Against the backdrop of challenges related to Covid-19 and the ever-increasing climate and biodiversity crisis, the 2021 Euromoney Regional Awards for Excellence recognise Western Europe’s leading banking organisations, who have demonstrated growth, adaptation to crisis and critically client centricity in response to diverse needs. Euromoney has named BNP Paribas Western Europe’s Best Bank, alongside six distinguished awards including:
- Western Europe Best Bank
- Western Europe Best Bank for sustainable finance
- Western Europe Best Bank for Financing
- France Best Bank
- France Best Investment Bank
- Best Investment Bank Belgium
- Best Bank in Luxembourg
Transitioning to a net-zero economy in which ‘sustainable finance’ becomes ‘finance that is sustainable’ means supporting clients to adapt to challenges, integrating climate science to ensure the integrity of the transition, mobilising the bank’s balance sheet and evolving sustainable finance product innovation to transform the business of banking.
As a bank committed to net-zero and the Paris Agreement, the transition is at the core of BNP Paribas approach. In awarding BNP Paribas Western Europe’s Best Bank for Sustainable Finance, Euromoney editors noted:
Post-Pandemic the bank has become even more important as a financier to its Western European clients. It has also moved earlier than other top-tier global banks to burnish its sustainability credentials.
On sustainable finance integration across the bank:
We are trying to be a standard-setter and an innovator in all products across sustainable bonds, social impact bonds, blended finance and helping our borrowers set ambitious transition targets. At BNP Paribas, this is not a separate sustainability or transition practice. It is embedded and integrated at all levels of the company including in governance.Antoine Sire, Head of Company Engagement, BNP Paribas Group
In explaining the decision on BNP Paribas winning the region’s best bank for financing, Euromoney was specifically interested in the integrated approach between the bank’s debt and equity market expertise and activity across CIB:
Our Debt Markets and ECM teams have worked hand in glove, which was key in a period like no other when clients were relying more than ever on an integrated capital markets assessment and a well coordinated offering.Renaud-Franck Falce, Head of Capital Markets in EMEA, BNP Paribas
Spotlight on the bank’s sustainable finance & capital markets expertise
As well as topping the league tables in sustainably-linked bonds and loans, BNP Paribas under chief executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, leads with conviction in a complex area for issuers, investors and banks.Euromoney editors
Over the last year, BNP Paribas has mobilised its staff, expertise and its global reach to support clients in Europe and beyond. Key highlights include:
Pandemic responses supporting the economy
The Bank’s teams have supported clients on a path to recovery and created innovative solutions throughout the last year, including a mass mobilisation of social finance and scaling up capital markets activity to bolster the economy.
- Social bonds (notably Covid-19 response bonds) were integral during the crisis, as use of proceeds were channelled towards tackling urgent health and social challenges. BNP Paribas became an undisputed leader in the development of this market, and is ranked #1 in social bond league table (2021 YTD) with 8.26% market share (Source Dealogic).
- BNP Paribas retained its top League Table position in 2020 and in the first months of 2021 for both EMEA bonds and loans. The bank was at the forefront of the liquidity facilities in Europe and delivered over 42% of all underwritings provided to corporates by the EMEA bank market as liquidity facilities since Q2 2020.
Transition meets innovation
The banks’ capital markets teams supported key CIB clients in their transition to net-zero, utilising sustainable finance innovation in a material way
- World’s first convertible SLB – BNP Paribas was sole Structuring Advisor & sole Global Coordinator for the first ever €650m convertible sustainability-linked bond issued by Schneider Electric. The KPIs target CO2 emissions, gender diversity of hires/women in management positions, and education access.
- World’s largest Sovereign green bond – BNP Paribas was joint bookrunner on the Italian government’s €8.5bn 24-year green Buoni del Tesoro Poliennali (BTP). The green BTP which supports the EU’s transition to net-zero by 2050 was over 9 times oversubscribed, showing strong investor appetite for the country’s transition strategy.
- First Multi ECA Green Loan – BNP Paribas was the structuring bank & lead arranger on National Grid’s $743mn ECA-backed financing (aligned with Green Financing Framework). Funds the “Viking Link” interconnector between the UK and Denmark supplying renewable energy to 1.4 million households in the UK.
- First gigafactory in Europe – BNP Paribas teams across structured debt advisory helped Swedish company Northvolt raise over €1bn of financing to build Europe’s first gigafactory, powered by renewable energy, with the aim of producing the world’s greenest batteries.
- First discounted sustainability-linked share buy-back in EMEA – The bank supported Enel’s sustainability-linked share buyback programme on 1.72m shares to serve the Long Term Incentive scheme for Enel’s employees and includes an SDG reward mechanism where Enel purchases their own shares.
- Blended finance for a just transition: BNP Paribas has pioneered several blended finance projects to support climate action and nature-based solutions in developing countries, through consortiums with partners across the public and private sector. This includes the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, an innovative association of public and private partners for the conservation and regeneration of the resilient coral reefs surrounded by a sustainable and financially resilient ocean eco-system.
Engaging staff in the transformation of BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas has put its employees at the heart of the transformation of the Bank.
The Bank is empowering staff to become change agents within both the bank and wider business community to accelerate and facilitate a global green transition. The notable emphasis on staff education and upskilling for furthering professional development through sustainable leadership training includes the ‘We Engage programme’ across all Group employees, and is a training program for all 200,000+ BNP Paribas employees dedicated to building a common base of knowledge on sustainable finance as well as current environmental and social issues.