The heavyweights are leading the way when it comes to innovation in CSR

Would it be true to say that CSR policies are in meltdown and have fallen far below what is expected of them? In general terms, yes. Against all the odds, however, a handful of heavyweight companies, identified by Novethic, have made CSR a priority issue, including BNP Paribas, with a commitment that has been incorporated into the bank's executive committee!

Numerous studies indicate that CSR initiatives have little impact – whether from a lack of resources or due to scandalous “impact washing” – despite the high expectations of individuals and the strong needs of society. And yet, Novethic (which is not always very gentle in its assessment) highlights BNP Paribas’s commitment regarding the social and environmental impact of its activities.

In 2017, under the clear mandate of CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, BNP Paribas created a new “engagement department” that includes CSR, communication, the foundation, and diversity, with the departmental director sitting on the executive committee. It is an approach that has been rolled out in 73 countries by 200 people. The aim is to develop sustainable solutions – epitomized in the phrase “business with impact” – that will be applied across all the BNP divisions that have not been able (or willing) to introduce CSR solutions to their core business on their own.

Even if there is still work to do, the new department acts as “an accelerator for disseminating the company’s impact and transformation culture”, says Antoine Sire, director of corporate engagement. Equally noteworthy is the release of the book Impact & Cie, jointly authored by Nathalie Madeline, CSR project Manager at BNP Paribas, a co-publication by Eyrolles and Impact Partenaires (September 2018). In passing, I would also like to pay tribute to Novethic, which has listed the good practices put in place by various financial behemoths, whose tried and tested methods may serve as a template for others. Watch this space.

For more information, see: “(Objectif RSE) BNP Paribas se transforme grâce à sa Direction de l’Engagement” (Novethic.fr)