Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus Signed an agreement with BNP Paribas, in Paris on 28 March, 2019 to create a social business company called the ClimateSeed. This is the first independent social business company created by the bank. It will combat the adverse effects of climate changes in a social business way. The agreement is signed between Grameen Creative Lab of Germany of which Professor Yunus is a co founder and Chairman. Grameen Creative Lab supports the development of social business.
The agreement marks the launch of a five year global partnership that foucsses specifically on entrepreneurship. This new partnership will see the Grameen Creative Lab and BNP Paribas working together to roll out social businesses within the BNP Paribas Group. The first example of this kind is the launch of ClimateSeed by BNP Paribas Securities Services ClimateSeed is a marketplace platform that allows companies seeking to offset their carbon emissions and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to come into contact with projects offering voluntary carbon credits and seeking financing. ClimateSeed will reinvest all profits in carbon footprint reduction initiatives and in maximising its positive impact on society and the environment.
The partnership will also build awareness among BNP Paribas employees about social business and will support GCL with pro bono legal advice. Christophe Itier, the High Commissioner for Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Innovation in France, was present at the signing ceremony as a guest of honour.
Yunus said “We are very excited about this collaboration. It is a strong message: one of the world’s largest banking groups creating their own social businesses and promoting the concept among its employees. We hope it will inspire many others to do the same.”
Antoine Sire, Head of Corporate Engagement and member of the Executive Committee of BNP Paribas, added, “The challenges facing society today require BNP Paribas to strengthen its longstanding commitment to sustainable and equitable growth. Like Professor Muhammad Yunus, we are convinced that social business is a way to achieve this.”
BNP Paribas has supported initiatives of Yunus in the past, notably to support the Grameen America microfinance program, which provides individual loans to extremely low income women. It investied in 2018 a total of $1.5 million in favour of Grameen America to foster women-entrepreneurship in New York and California and aims to support over ten years the creation of more than 12,000 women-run businesses and nearly 22,000 jobs. The long standing support to the path of social entrepreneurship, social business and microfinance resulted in a total of €1.6 billion last year.
On the same visit to Paris, Yunus signed agreement to create the 71st global Yunus Social Business Centre (YSBC) at the prestigious Lille Catholic University of France. YSBCs now exists in 30 countries around the world.