#ROMANIAPOSITIVEIMPACT: SHIFTING TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY- BNP PARIBAS PERSONAL FINANCE
We live in times of unprecedented change, in an era of digitalization and technological progress. Starting with the homo species and all the way through the cognitive revolution and the evolution of the modern homo sapiens, our dear planet Earth watched us flourish and witnessed our progress. We have come so far, yet we have not considered, not for a second, looking over our shoulder to see how our actions are affecting the environment. Extreme weather phenomenon driven by human-forced global warming are now becoming more and more frequent, reaching high levels of impact; key climate-stabilising systems are starting to fail and their failure will eventually lead to floods, storms, heatwaves and even fires which will cost food supply for thousands of millions of people and economic collapse for those who survive; greenhouse gases are extremely high – currently, in the atmosphere, there are 400 ppm CO2, which is enormous. The last time we had such a quantity of CO2 in the air, the sea level was 20 metres higher and 3 degrees warmer than it is now. The climate math is crystal clear: The world can’t be healed within a couple of years, but we need to get involved and do something to defend it.
In 2017, Romania ranked 8th among the most polluted member states of the EU and in 2019 Romanian cities such as Bucharest, Iasi and Brasov are head of the list when it comes to the most polluted cities of the old continent. We might not be able to do magic and cut pollution down to zero by 2020, but we can combine our efforts and avoid damaging the environment with our negligence.
- A modern Captain Planet calling for the Planeteers
In September 2018, BNP Paribas Personal Finance Bucharest aligned to the BNP Paribas Group’s Positive Impact strategy, promoting responsibility and sustainable business as the key factors of protecting the environment. As the term partnership is in the company’s DNA, BNP Paribas Personal Finance came to realize that no company who stands alone can successfully confront climate change. And yes, we can start to be the change we want to see in the world, but it has to be a collective effort; yes, we can make profit, generate economic growth and combat climate change but we can only do so by adopting sustainable business models. We believe that only together we can generate a Positive Impact for Romania and that it why we have gathered under the same roof our partners, employees, NGOs representatives and C-level representatives of renowned retail companies present on the Romanian market – to discuss ideas and give a wake-up call to the Romanian retail environment; to raise awareness on the importance of cutting down the carbon footprint.
We have started by analysing the company’s actions in the social responsibility field and our new business line dedicated to financing green products, then continued by gathering information about environment-oriented initiatives conducted in Romania, sustainable business models developed by retailers to help reduce the carbon footprint and last, but no least, we wanted to know what do Romanians think about local consumption and if they consider this habit to be one of the means that help protect the environment.
A very important highlight that came to surface after conducting the 2019
edition of the pan-European Survey L’Observatoire Cetelem was that 90% of Romanians prefer local consumption, but only 22% of them are really convinced that choosing to purchase locally manufactured products helps protect the environment.
At a company level, the internal audit showed us that since we have joined the Positive Impact initiative our employees became more aware of what could happen to our planet and its resources. We started making changes in our daily routine: in 2018 we have recycled 7 Tone of paper thus saving 130 trees; in the first half of 2019 our employees managed to plant 500 trees, reduced energy consumption by 35% and water consumption by 11% and cutted down 100% the use of plastic materials.
When it comes to the retail sector and its involvement, we can definitely affirm that retail is engaged and we support our affirmation with the data gathered by our experts at Echangeur: Commitment and trust are now common values of the business environment. Committing to values, to the civil society and to the environment is retailers’ new sustainable business model – because with a population of 8,3 billion people by 2030 we will need 50% more energy, 40% more water and 35% more food. We are currently out of track, so it’s up to the business environment to set an example and start reducing the carbon footprint.
As an overall result of the match Romania versus The Environment we can observe more and more companies getting involved and an increasing number of individuals becoming more aware of the importance of preserving natural resources. But this is not enough! What can we do to generate more engagement and raise awareness about what’s happening?
Audience: employees (senior and C level employees that have the ability to positively influence the members of their team), business partners (C level representatives of the company that have the ability to positively influence the members of their team), NGO representatives that have implemented successful campaigns in the field, C level representatives of the retail sector in Romania that started to adopt and implement sustainable business models (retailers with no commercial relationship with our company, nor with our partners).
The event had one major objective: to raise awareness on the importance of nurturing our planet’s resources and protect the environment by reducing the carbon footprint, all of it while adopting a sustainable business model that will continue to generate profit and economic growth as well as producing positive effects that will later become a heritage of future generations.
#RomaniaPositiveImpact: shifting towards sustainability
was more than a networking and drinks after work event, based on rigorous planning and various components: we chose to communicate through internal channels and direct B2B meetings, going all the way in order to develop new liaisons with representatives of multinational companies in Romania active in the retail sector that we have invited to share their knowledge on sustainability in business, their future plans as well as their strategies, all of these to an audience formed of their competition.
While working on the structure of the event, we decided to divide the evening into three key moments: we had begun with presenting our new Positive Impact strategy completed perfectly with the results of the 2019 edition of the L’Observatoire Cetelem pan-European survey – Act local, Think local! Echangeur expert took the stage to talk about future trends in retail focusing on how Retail is engaged! We saved the best for last and tailored a discussion panel on sustainable business, which was, no doubt, the pièce de résistance of the evening.
After confirming the presence of our international and local speakers and Paula Herlo’s implication as moderator, we moved onto the next quest – that of finding a suitable venue that best expressed our ideal of Positive Impact. It was indeed a true adventure, same as is was deciding over the décor elements:
- The VENUE: ARCUB – a true expression of recycled architecture
- The BRANDING: a 4 sqm preserved reindeer moss and exotic foliage green wall that has replaced the classical branding elements
- The BIZARRE: furniture that’s both eco and usable – an eco-corner that displayed two armchairs and a coffee table made of 100% cardboard suitable for sitting not just decorating
- The CLASSY and ARTSY: an exquisite art exhibition: The environment – two artistic perspectives on a megatrend – comprising paintings and sculptures of two international artists – painter RONE and sculptor Pierre van Hulle, made entirely from 100% recycled plastic tape and other recycled materials.
Attendance rate 28% higher than expected
C-level representatives of the company’s business partners
Romanian NGOs representatives present in the audience
positive feedback from all participants
of the company’s business partners become more open and interested to promote in-store financial products (with 0% interest rates) dedicated to the purchase of green and energy efficient products
Q&A session preceding the discussion panel – 25 minutes past the estimated time
senior & C-level representatives of the company’s employees
speakers present at the event (5 international, 5 Romanian)
more engagement from the company’s employees when asked to get involved in CSR activities
INNOVATION & CREATIVITY
There is no innovation without creativity: #RomaniaPositiveImpact is by nature a creative and innovative communication idea as it displays a different approach of a corporate event. An idea that helped us gather more than 150 people under the same roof and keep them together for almost 6 hours.
Much more, we see ourselves as responsible to have facilitated the path towards a revolution of ideas that heated up the atmosphere with a dedicated panel of discussions on the concept of Positive Impact and Sustainable Business: C-level speakers representing renowned retailers (Carrefour, Kaufland) with no commercial ties to BNP Paribas Personal Finance nor its business partners, alongside NGO representatives (Let’s do It Romania!), a 100 fully-sustainable Romanian start-up (FOLDO), together with BNP Paribas’– the bank for a changing world – Deputy Head of CSR and the Managing Partner of ISense (Romanian market research agency) answered Paula Herlo’s and the audience’s questions on what is a sustainable business model, how companies can become a change agent, why sustainable is responsible and how do you drive positive impact beyond business and still get to be profitable.