Are we on track to limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C or 2°C? What progress has been made since the Paris Agreement? These will be key questions at the climate conference in Dubai.
At Ready for COP28 – Unlocking change, BNP Paribas Fortis wanted to push for collective action by bringing together different perspectives on what we can do more than today, and how we can move from words to action. And see how to make it all affordable for everyone. BNP Paribas Fortis wants to support and help Belgians find the right balance between sustainability and affordability.
The common theme throughout the morning was how we can collectively bring about positive change to move forward faster together, and this in 3 areas: individual change by each Belgian, technological development and changing our energy model. After introductory keynote speeches by Michael Anseeuw, CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis, and Tinne Van Der Straeten, Federal Minister of Energy, the focus was on sustainable living for all and the role of hydrogen in a sustainable economy.
Per capita emissions from Belgium’s housing stock are twice the EU average. Making them more sustainable is therefore one of the biggest challenges if we want to reduce CO2 emissions. It is estimated that around 380 billion euro will be needed between now and 2050 to make all Belgian housing sustainable.
Are we in Belgium ready for this huge challenge? How can we get everyone on board? These and other questions were addressed in a panel discussion by the following people:
- Charlotte Van De Water (Project Manager Climate Neutral Construction & Senior Expert Energy & Climate for Buildings at Agoria)
- Philippe Close (Mayor of Brussels)
- Gaëtan Hannecart (Chairman of the Board at Matexi)
- Nicolas De Vijlder (Head of Beyond Banking at BNP Paribas Fortis)
The bank is a firm believer in working together to move forward faster. It proposes joining forces to work even more closely together for the Belgian housing market in the near future. Along the lines of the existing ‘Schools of Tomorrow’ programme, a large-scale public-private partnership for the construction, financing and maintenance of family homes could be considered.
Michael Anseeuw, CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis: “I think we need to step up efforts in the field of sustainable housing. With cooperation between public and private bodies, we can succeed in making sustainable living accessible to everyone.”
Another panel discussion focused on green hydrogen. This energy carrier is becoming increasingly important in the sustainable energy mix of the future as it offers the potential to avoid CO2 emissions. Hydrogen can also be used as a storage medium, contributing to more efficient energy use.
However, hydrogen is expensive to produce. Technological advances, tax incentives and measures taken by producers should make production more economically attractive and easier to finance.
The European Union made green hydrogen a top priority in its 2022 REPowerEU plan. The goal is to reach 20 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030, half of which will be imported and half produced domestically. Belgium is seen as a potential hub for green hydrogen in Western Europe because of its infrastructure and supportive policies.
This meant plenty of interesting topics to discuss with the following panel participants:
- Michel Vanhaesbroucke (Chief Strategy Officer and Business Development, John Cockerill)
- Prof. Christa Sys (University of Antwerp, holder of the chair ‘BNP Paribas Fortis Transport Logistics and Ports’)
- Romain Talagrand (Head of Power & Renewables at BNP Paribas)
They discussed the state of the science regarding the use of hydrogen as an energy source. They also discussed the Belgian hydrogen action plan and what Europe’s strategy is for its implementation.
Low-Carbon Transition Group
In 2021, BNP Paribas set up the Low-Carbon Transition Group (LCTG). It takes initiatives related to the energy transition and guides clients towards carbon neutrality and a sustainable economy.
The LCTG brings together more than 250 experts to help clients with sustainable development advice and financing. Areas of expertise include clean energy, mobility and environmental solutions.
BNP Paribas Fortis (www.bnpparibasfortis.com) offers the Belgian market a comprehensive range of financial services for private individuals, the self-employed, professionals, companies and public organisations. In the insurance sector, BNP Paribas Fortis works closely, as a tied agent, with Belgian market leader AG Insurance. At international level, the Bank also provides high-net-worth individuals, large corporations and public and financial institutions with customised solutions, for which it is able to draw on the know-how and international network of the BNP Paribas Group.
BNP Paribas (www.bnpparibas.com) is the European Union’s leading bank and key player in international banking. It operates in 65 countries and has nearly 185,000 employees, including more than 145,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main fields of activity: Commercial, Personal Banking & Services for the Group’s commercial & personal banking and several specialised businesses including BNP Paribas Personal Finance and Arval; Investment & Protection Services for savings, investment and protection solutions; and Corporate & Institutional Banking, focused on corporate and institutional clients. Based on its strong diversified and integrated model, the Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realise their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. In Europe, BNP Paribas has four domestic markets: Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg. The Group is rolling out its integrated commercial & personal banking model across several Mediterranean countries, Turkey, and Eastern Europe. As a key player in international banking, the Group has leading platforms and business lines in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas as well as a solid and fast-growing business in Asia-Pacific. BNP Paribas has implemented a Corporate Social Responsibility approach in all its activities, enabling it to contribute to the construction of a sustainable future, while ensuring the Group's performance and stability.