Making Sustainability the New Normal
TMI’s Treasury4Good Awards
By Eleanor Hill, Editor
We are delighted to introduce the winners of our inaugural Treasury4Good Awards, which recognise the growing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) and Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in the treasury marketplace. Dedicated to those corporate treasury teams, banks, and vendors truly making a difference, these are the first awards of their kind in our industry.
There’s often a misconception that sustainability is just about doing the right thing for people and the planet. But smart organisations are starting to realise that it’s also about preparing for the future and ensuring the company remains ‘sustainable’ in every sense of the word.
In fact, CSR and D&I are quickly becoming vital strategic tools for business growth and success. What’s more, customers, suppliers, employees, and shareholders are increasingly looking for banks and corporates to generate a positive social impact, while improving financial performance and working towards a more sustainable business model. Creating a diverse workplace and embracing ethical practices are also critical for organisations looking to stand out from the crowd in a market where reputation is everything.
We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of submissions for these Awards; and delighted to recognise winners from different sectors and geographies. We have made the Awards in three categories – Banks and Vendors, Corporates, and Individuals – and as the following summaries of their activities illustrate, there is some incredible work happening in our marketplace. Congratulations to all of our worthy winners!
Bank and Vendor Award Winners
The winner of the Award for Best Global Bank for CSR, BNP Paribas, has an outstanding record of CSR activities, many of them finance-linked. Projects with corporates such as Danone bear witness to the bank’s involvement in ‘positive incentive’ loans, which offer a discount when the company outperforms its sustainable goals or a premium if it underperforms. This is a neat demonstration of the fact that delivering on sustainability can have an impact on profitability and growth potential. BNP Paribas is also active in the areas of green loans and bonds and with its range of investments in renewable energy and social entrepreneurship. In addition to sustainable finance activities, the bank itself has made significant sustainability pledges.
One of the standout features of this submission, and a deciding factor for the judges, was the fact that BNP Paribas has appointed sustainability champions across its business. As an example, Axelle Vigo-Lovy, in addition to her sales activities as head of the Large Corporate B2B sales team in Paris, has been nominated Sustainable Cash Management Manager. As such, she is in charge of incorporating CSR in the Cash Management offering. She works with the HR and Communication departments to involve the Cash Management community in various CSR activities and ensures dialogue with clients on such activities. Moreover, Virginie Poulin has been appointed Head of Engagement for Transaction Banking EMEA and is tasked with building a broader roadmap for a sustainable transaction banking in EMEA, starting with working capital solutions. She has already launched several training sessions for front-office employees, covering subjects such as the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sustainability in M&A situations, and sustainability in specific sectors such as agriculture.
BNP Paribas also won the Community Engagement Project accolade for its School of Positive Impact initiative. The bank participated in the creation of this school in conjunction with l’Université PSL (Paris Sciences et Lettres) to launch an academic project in France based on the UN’s SDGs. It is aimed at fostering a new academically qualified generation who will be the future movers and shakers working to create solutions that will have a positive impact on the planet and on society in general. Students will undertake a multi-disciplinary course embracing natural science, engineering and the humanities, and will be equipped to continue their studies by taking Master’s degrees either at the PSL itself or at other international universities.
The judges were extremely impressed with this initiative since the School of Positive Impact will, in the bank’s own words, “Train tomorrow’s decision-makers for the great challenges of our time.”
BNP Paribas’ third Award was for Best CSR D&I Innovation, recognising both its Green Car Leasing solution and its Kintessia Project, which focuses on the circular economy. The former has seen Arval, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas and a specialist in full-service vehicle leasing, launch groundbreaking green offers for companies and their employees as well as individuals. These offers include Arval Car Sharing, a web and mobile platform through which employees can search and book a vehicle in three taps. This is a win-win solution for both companies and employees – and offers clear sustainability benefits. The Kintessia Project is also a BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions’ initiative – and isthe first B2B platform for renting or selling transport, construction and agricultural equipment. The platform is increasing the use of previously owned equipment, along with the rate at which existing equipment is put to use, thereby supporting the circular economy, which looks to move away from the current ‘take-make-waste’ way of doing business.