Article

27.03.2018

Belgium has raised the second largest green government bond in the world

On 26 February 2018, the government raised EUR 4.5 billion to finance the transition towards a sustainable economy. This was an important first, both for our country and BNP Paribas Fortis.

The government's objective is to finance projects that will bring about the transition to a sustainable economy. The selected projects must therefore help overcome three environmental challenges: climate change, biodiversity and pollution. The proceeds from the fundraising will be devoted to projects in five green sectors on the front line of these issues: clean transport, biological resources and land use, renewable energy, the circular economy and energy efficiency.

"Before the government had even announced its intention to issue a green bond, we had already presented the various green financing methods to the Belgian Debt Agency", says Katherine Dior, who is in charge of bond issuing at BNP Paribas Fortis. "Our position as market leader on the Belgian debt market and our expertise in the structuring of green financing products placed us in a strong position to be selected as the structuring advisers. We also acted as joint bookrunner during the transaction. One notable thing we did in this capacity was to organise a roadshow that travelled to several European countries to reach out to green investors and show them the product."

(Almost) a conventional product

In recent years, BNP Paribas has been one of the pioneers behind the creation of green bonds on the Belgian market. "We have worked on numerous European green financing projects, especially concerning Belgium, for companies such as Aquafin, Renewi (formerly Shanks) and Cofinimmo. Our wealth of experience in the field led the Belgian Debt Agency to seek out our knowledge in order to create this first green government bond", explains Katherine Dior.

Green bonds have exactly the same features as conventional bonds, with just one difference: the financed projects must respect the Green Bond Principles. The issuer must also produce annual reports focusing on two fundamental points: allocating the amount raised to green projects, and monitoring their impact on the environment.

A central role

"Starting in September 2017, our staff helped the Belgian Debt Agency examine all spending by the federal institutions. The purpose was to identify projects associated with this spending that could potentially be financed by the upcoming green bond", continues Katherine Dior. "After three months of work, a list of eligible projects was drawn up, equating to a total of EUR 5.5 billion. Simultaneously, the Belgian Debt Agency sought a second opinion from the firm Sustainalytics. It confirmed that the framework for this green bond was aligned with the Green Bond Principles. Of the EUR 5.5 billion of spending identified, the government finally decided to set the green bond amount at EUR 4.5 billion in order to retain a safety margin."

The changing world will be a sustainable one

The largest bank in Belgium has a duty to play a leading role in a sustainable society and to be a catalyst for its development. This is more than an ambition, it is a concrete commitment to society. Sustainable development is without doubt one of the critical questions facing investments in tomorrow's world. "As a socially engaged bank, we are proud to have played a central role in this first green Belgian government bond", concludes Katherine Dior.           

The Belgian government's green bond in a few figures

The EUR 4.5 billion ultimately raised has been allocated to approximately 150 institutional investors. These include fund managers (33%), public entities (26%), pension funds (16%), bank treasuries (12%), insurance companies (5%), hedge funds (5%) and banks (3%). The diversity of the actors involved and the total amount reached illustrate the interest of investors and their appetite for this kind of product. From a financial perspective, the return on the coupon for this first green bond – which has a term to maturity of 15 years – is 1.289%. The bond will mature on 22 April 2033.

Article

25.02.2021

How can the blue economy make a difference?

What if the future of sustainable business is at the bottom of the ocean for once? Marine biodiversity contains resources that can meet the environmental challenges of many sectors. Perhaps yours, too. Find out more during an online event about the promising blue economy on 11 March 2021.

Blue is the new green

71% of our planet consists of water. Seas and oceans play a crucial role in our climate, and coastal areas can capture up to five times more CO2 than tropical forests. The blue economy wants to benefit from all these advantages to improve both the environment and our well-being,

With local being the keyword. And that's where the difference lies with the green economy, which also focuses on the environment and health, but not always in such a sustainable and smart way. Eating organically grown quinoa from Ecuador, for example, is healthy and eco-friendly, but transporting it here is expensive and creates high amounts of pollution.

Offshore sustainability

What does the underwater world have to offer that can be reused, recycled or converted into new sustainable products? A lot, it turns out, as the unique properties of organisms such as algae, starfish, jellyfish or sea cucumbers can be transformed into sustainable products with high added value. This is a process that requires creativity and innovation, and is already with us today.

For your sector, too

The blue economy is expanding rapidly and could bring about a revolution in a wide range of sectors such as healthcare, food, the plastics industry, cosmetics, energy and even aerospace. It is fully capable of helping companies transform their traditional activities into a sustainable model. And in Belgium's ports, the country already has a huge advantage and excellent access to coastal and offshore areas.

Another scoop of microalgae?

Microalgae, for example, offer a lot of promise, as they can renew themselves and thrive both in the desert and in the ocean. They contain many healthy components, such as proteins, that can be used to develop food products.

Sustainable plastics

When discussing the oceans, the plastic problem is never far away. Human beings are producing more and more plastic as the world's population grows, yet the problem with the existing plastic is that it's nigh on impossible to recycle as its components are hard to separate. By making a completely different type of plastic from biomass, its recycling is already considered at the design stage. A large amount of biomass remains unused in the oceans, and using smart, natural polymers could revolutionise plastic production, for example. These polymers are capable of self-renewal and can adapt to their environment.

Who will pay for it?

Great ideas, you think, but who will pay for them? The financial sector certainly wants to play a role in this revolution and is prepared to take risks and invest in new technologies, production systems and R&D.

This commitment was formalised in various ways during the climate week in New York at the end of September 2020. BNP Paribas signed the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) and joined the UNEP FI's Collective Commitment to Climate Action, a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and the financial sector. In terms of the maritime sector, the Bank committed to working with customers to preserve and sustain the oceans. Read more about this commitment here (only available in French).

Would you like to find out whether the blue economy could make a difference to your sector?
Sign up here for a free online event on this subject on 11 March 2021 (in English only), organised by BNP Paribas Fortis Transport, Logistics and Ports Chair.

Several experts will share their insights, while our experts from the Sustainable Business Competence Centre will also take part. They can advise you on innovations and guide you through your sustainable transition. Feel free to get in touch.
Article

10.02.2021

What is the future for mobility post-coronavirus?

The health and economic crisis has affected all aspects of every sector. Among them, mobility, for both private individuals and for companies.

Mobility is evolving every day. And it has been driven further as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Many people have been locked down and working from home has been widespread in many parts of the world.

The coronavirus crisis has changed concerns about transport

We are no longer moving around in the same way. And concerns are no longer the same. According to a BCG Consulting report, social distancing and vehicle cleanliness are the most important aspects for 41% and 39% of respondents, respectively, when choosing a mode of transport. There is also pre- and post-Covid mobility, with respondents being more likely to choose walking, their own bicycle or scooter, or their car than before the crisis.

Sustainable and alternative mobility in the years to come

Mobility has not necessarily waited for the coronavirus crisis in order to evolve. And, according to the same report, the share of more environmentally-friendly vehicles will continue to increase. By 2035, more than 35% of new vehicles will be electric cars, becoming the predominant form of motorised transport worldwide. Autonomous cars will also become more common, with 10% of vehicles being level 4 vehicles (able to travel without a driver, for example), and 65% level 2 or higher.

Customised mobility for employees, right now

The future of mobility is also relevant now, especially for businesses and the self-employed. The need for alternative modes of transport does not only concern private individuals, but also employees. There is no longer a single mode of transport for all situations, but a range of means depending on the need at a given moment. Electric cars, hybrid vehicles, electric bicycles, a public transport season ticket, car sharing, leasing, etc. These modes can take different forms and be combined in a mobility card, for example. There are benefits for the employees and managers of a company but also for the company itself through cost reduction, optimisation and fleet management.

Want to know more about sustainable and alternative mobility for you and your employees?
Find out more about our tailor-made mobility solutions
Article

28.01.2021

The road to alternative mobility

Nowadays, responsible fleet management is built around sustainability. We're here to help you identify and realise your Corporate Social Responsibility ambitions.

Together we can cut your company's carbon footprint, improve employee mobility, and make sure these steps become a central pillar of your company's added value. In short, our aim is to have an alternative mobility policy.

Energy transition

We can help you make the switch to alternative mobility and new technologies to reduce your carbon footprint. Our SMaRT approach ensures your fleet has the best energy mix to match your strategy and driver profiles.

Alternative mobility needs new technologies to go hand in hand with new infrastructure. That's why we offer not only electric cars, but also the right charging solutions, too. As part of our integrated service provision we can determine how many charging points you need, install them, and manage how they are used both at the workplace and at the driver's home.

Soft mobility

Modern mobility management is about more than just cars or vans. You need a 360-degree approach. We'll work with you to determine your mobility strategy and needs. Greener cars are just one of the options available. We have a number of mobility management solutions (such as the Mobility Card) and alternative mobility solutions (such as bicycle leasing) to inspire your organisation to offer a more flexible range.

Focus on employees

When you put your employees at the heart of your organisation, you're in a better position to find skilled employees, satisfy them, and retain them. Go a step further than just an alternative mobility solution: focus on their safety and let them play an active role in achieving your sustainability goals. Trust us to improve their safety and integrate new technologies.

Operational leasing is offered by Arval Belgium SA/NV, with the intervention of BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV – Montagne du Parc/Warandeberg 3, B-1000 Brussels, Brussels Register of Companies VAT BE0403.199.702.
Promotion only available from Thursday 21 January up to and including Wednesday 31 March 2021 and is only available to professional clients (self-employed, liberal professionals and SMEs) of BNP Paribas Fortis and Fintro.
The information provided here does not constitute an offer. An offer is made only after your file has been accepted and is always subject to Arval Belgium SA/NV's General Terms and Conditions.
Article

27.01.2021

Mobility, more than just four wheels

BNP Paribas Fortis offers complete mobility solutions. Sometimes a four-wheeled fleet is not enough for your mobility needs.

As a reliable partner, we can help you with every step – or pedal – of your mobility trajectory.

Mobility analysis and advice

Our mobility managers can work together with your relationship manager to develop a future-focused mobility strategy.

We start by listening to you: we want to understand your needs and concerns when it comes to mobility. This is our starting point for creating the best mobility solution for you and your company. We will build on this foundation with our expertise, while also taking Belgium's specific legal and fiscal ecosystem into account.

New mobility solutions

As well asfull-service leasing,we also offer our core product giving you access to our full mobility range, a wide range of basic services and added-value services such ascar parts,carpool management,bicycle leasingandmobility cards. All of our mobility services and their associated services such as parking, electric charging, fuel, tolls and car washing are within reach.

Managing your mobility budget

We'll help you and offer advice about implementing the federal mobility budget[VBK1] in your company. If that's too limited to meet your specific needs and aims, we can develop a personalised mobility budget solution to manage your mobility costs in line with the legal framework, just as we've done for a number of clients previously.

We've already implemented some tailored cost-neutral solutions, allowing our clients to combine lease cars with lease bicycles or other mobility solutions. This means the company can meet its goals while also making good on its promises and obligations.

Those ambitions might range from an ambitious CO2 agenda to a competitive offer to attract talent or a solution to solve your lack of car parking spaces.

Operational leasing is offered by Arval Belgium SA/NV, with the intervention of BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV – Montagne du Parc/Warandeberg 3, B-1000 Brussels, Brussels Register of Companies VAT BE0403.199.702.
Promotion only available from Thursday 21 January up to and including Wednesday 31 March 2021 and is only available to professional clients (self-employed, liberal professionals and SMEs) of BNP Paribas Fortis and Fintro.
The information provided here does not constitute an offer. An offer is made only after your file has been accepted and is always subject to Arval Belgium SA/NV's General Terms and Conditions.

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