Naturalis & BNP Paribas: a new partnership and a milestone for biodiversity

January 2, 2024

Friday 15 December 2023 marked a new milestone in BNP Paribas’ commitments to biodiversity with the launch of a multiyear partnership with Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Naturalis) in Leiden, The Netherlands. Geert Lippens, CEO and Country Head of The Netherlands and Antoine Sire, Global Head of Company Engagement, were joined by clients, experts and senior leaders from the two organizations for a celebratory signing ceremony and roundtable session.

How will this partnership deliver positive impact to biodiversity?

Naturalis Biodiversity Center is one of the world’s leading biodiversity knowledge institutions, home to more than 150 scientists who are driving ground-breaking research in the field—a natural fit for BNP Paribas’ efforts for collective action and research supporting biodiversity.

The shared mission to accelerate the protection and restoration of biodiversity is at the heart of this partnership, which is a long-term collaboration based on leveraging Naturalis and BNP Paribas’ strengths to drive real impact and translating Naturalis’s deep expertise and insights into concrete outcomes on the ground. The partnership aims to deliver impact in four areas: 

  • Education & awareness
  • Research & data
  • Financial innovation: accelerating the development of tools to direct more capital towards the protection and restoration of biodiversity
  • Science-based metrics for decision-making in finance and business


Why should we see nature as a vital partner?

During the launch, in an opening keynote Koos Biesmeijer, Scientific Director of Naturalis, underlined the magnitude of the threat to the world’s ecosystems, with more than a million species today facing extinction, and he showed how closely biodiversity loss and climate change are intertwined. “A 2% rise in temperature will cause 5% of all species to become extinct in the future,” he said. On a more positive note, he encouraged us to see nature as vital business partner and that the restoration of biodiversity is important to business strategy for both risks and opportunities: “If we add up all the intangible and material value that natural resources and ecosystems provide to our economy, our natural capital, it is worth several times the world’s gross national product.”

Following a celebratory launch of the partnership in the LiveScience gallery at Naturalis’s museum complex, leaders and experts from BNP Paribas and Naturalis rolled up their sleeves for roundtable sessions with a select group of clients. The sessions brought together the heads of sustainability from biodiversity-committed companies and institutional investors active across a broad range of sectors from food, agriculture and retail to transport, infrastructure and energy. Clients were unanimous in welcoming a partnership that puts biodiversity science to work for business and nature as practically and effectively as possible, and they underlined that there’s a need for concrete contributions in all four impact areas.

“Clients were unanimous in welcoming a partnership that puts biodiversity science to work for business and nature as practically and effectively as possible.”

How else has the Group committed to biodiversity?

Head of Company Engagement Antoine Sire reflected on the partnership in the context of the sustainability strategy of BNP Paribas. He shared the Group’s long commitment to sustainability and how BNP Paribas has strengthened that commitment over time, making it an integral part of its strategic plan: GTS.

On biodiversity specifically, Antoine highlighted recent achievements such as:

What is next for Naturalis and BNP Paribas?

Collaboration between the two organizations is already underway as we work towards presenting the first concrete results in the course of 2024.

F.l.t.r: Geert Lippens, Edwin van Huis, Eva van der Veer, Koos Biesmeijer, Antoine Sire,
Francine Hijmans, Dagmar van der Plas, Bouchra Filali, Benoit Saint Jevin, Claudia Belli.

Naturalis works towards biodiversity protection through monitoring and scientific research. BNP Paribas is committed to helping protect biodiversity across the world through the implementation of specific policies, participation in coalitions, and financing actions with a positive impact. By joining forces with Naturalis, we have the opportunity to help our clients better understand and map their impacts and dependencies on nature – and thereby lay the foundation for businesses to take concrete steps, like optimizing strategies or policies to protect and restore biodiversity.”

Geert Lippens
CEO and Country Head BNP paribas The netherlands