When the European Commission launched the landmark EU Green Deal in December 2019 it set out a bold plan for the continent to transition to a sustainable economic future. Described as “Europe’s man on the moon moment”, in broad brush strokes it outlined its ambition to be the world’s first carbon neutral continent by 2050.


Four years on and the road map outlined in the Green Deal has delivered significant change, and today, Europe undoubtedly leads the world in the transition to a low carbon, circular economy.

But as climate change accelerates and we inch ever closer to the 2050 deadline, one thing is clear – unlike the moon landing, Europe’s final destination is still unknown and if the Green Deal is to be an equally historic success, the devil will be in the detail.

What is the EU Taxonomy? How does it link to the transition to a circular economy?

The EU Taxonomy, Europe’s sustainable finance framework, is the place to dig into that detail. It underpins the Green Deal by setting a standard for economic activities that can be classified as environmentally and socially sustainable. It includes the transition to the circular economy as one of its key objectives and could help to unlock the trillions in finance needed to make circularity mainstream.

A recent taxonomy policy development has circular economy enthusiasts talking, with new guidelines that set out criteria to determine whether certain economic activity makes a “substantial contribution to the transition to a circular economy” – a transition that could be worth €1.8 trillion to the EU economy by 2030.

From a side note to a key theme

What caught my attention is that product-as-a-service (PaaS) has re-emerged as a key theme for the EU and an important lever for achieving the circular transition.

In 2020, PaaS was given just a passing mention as part of the 35 actions set out in the Circular Economy Action Plan (a major building block of the EU Green Deal), but through this taxonomy update the EU has signalled that it will prioritise PaaS as a mechanism to achieve the circular economy and, crucially, give organisations the criteria they need to implement it successfully.

The new technical guidance defines product-as-a-service models as “providing customers with access to products through service models, which are either use-oriented services, where ownership remains with the provider and the product is leased, shared, rented or pooled; or result-oriented, where the payment is pre-defined and the agreed result is delivered (i.e. pay per service unit)” (pg. 67).

It goes on to list a range of manufactured product groups that fit the bill, including textiles, electronics, furniture, and more (pg.67). This alone is a welcome step towards acknowledging the breadth of possibility that PaaS models can deliver.

However, the list is far from exhaustive, with medical tech, agricultural machinery, construction equipment, and automotives all notable omissions. Most, if not all, manufacturing sectors are being transformed by digitalisation at a rapid and increasing rate, meaning products become obsolete overnight and extracting the maximum value from resources, via circular models like PaaS, is paramount. The guidance will surely be broadened in future updates to capture the endless opportunities that as-a-service models can offer a multitude of industries.

The guidelines also set out criteria PaaS models must meet to be considered to be making a substantial contribution to the circular economy. First and foremost, the activity must “provide the customer with access to, and use of product(s), while ensuring that the ownership remains with the company providing this service, such as a manufacturer, specialist or retailer” (pg. 67).

The leasing industry’s role in circular transition

This is a call to arms for the leasing industry, which has an important role to play in helping organisations to implement systems that aid the circular transition. There is an opportunity here for lessors to build on our expertise in offering customers residual value pricing on assets (which inherently fosters the preservation of assets and their value) to offer a broad range of services covering the full lifecycle of an asset from asset management tools to data analysis to in-life maintenance support and sustainable end-of-life disposal.

Interestingly, the guidance also states that both a longer useful economic life through, for example, repair/refurbishment, and greater usage intensity (i.e. ride share services) are positive outcomes to be derived from PaaS models that will promote the transition to the circular economy (pg. 68). Clearly, the results for each of these approaches is very different because the more intensely a product is used, usually the shorter its life will be.

This is a powerful motivation for organisations to move away from traditional ownership models and work with lessors, who advocate for an optimum life of an asset rather than sweating an asset beyond its useful life, resulting in low value components with little opportunity for reuse. When managed properly, assets can deliver maximum value for organisations in their first lifecycle, be sustainably and securely refurbished and go on to fuel the second-hand market with high-quality products. These are the hallmarks of a truly circular economy.

Only three years after PaaS was just a side note in the EU Green Deal, it is now explicitly included in EU taxonomy, which is a hugely positive step forward. There’s still lots to do to create a framework that supports a truly circular economy and give investors and businesses the tools they need to implement circular solutions.

Setting these parameters will help the EU scale up sustainable investment, prevent greenwashing, and support organisations to transition to a more sustainable, future-proof way of doing business. Get this detail right and the sky really is the limit.

Andrey Maramzine, Chief Sustainability Officer, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions

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For the past 70 years, we’ve been helping companies grow by allowing them to acquire the equipment they need. Thanks to the strong relationships we’ve built with equipment manufacturers and dealers, we’ve developed a cross-sector expertise and are in a position to foresee changes and trends.

We regularly expand the range of equipment we finance to include more sustainable equipment and those equipped with the latest technologies. We also adapt our suite of solutions and services to better respond to the evolving needs of our clients.

A long-term presence in the traditional markets

At the heart of the real economy, we support businesses by financing equipment that are essential to their growth. This involves a large range that has constantly evolved and expanded over the years.

Like in the 1950’s, when the focus was on rebuilding the French economy post-war, we channeled our resources to finance innovative equipment (by the 50’s standards!) like tractors, combine harvesters, cranes, trucks, forklifts, excavators and much more across the construction, agriculture, material handling and the transport sectors.

Later, with the advent of new technologies, businesses needed to finance newer types of equipment like computers, mobile phones, photocopiers and telecommunications infrastructures. Once again, we supported them through this major transformation.

Today, we still finance logistics and technology equipment in these well-known traditional sectors, through the strong relationships we’ve built with the major manufacturers and dealers.

An ever-evolving equipment range to support Sustainable Development

We capitalise on our expertise in traditional markets to explore newer sectors, especially those that push for a more sustainable future.

We do this by financing more and more businesses and equipment that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations.

Through our long-term presence in the traditional markets, we had already been contributing to helping feed the populations and build new and more sustainable infrastructures.

But we wanted to go further and take proactive steps to promote and support the positive-impact investments of our clients.

We therefore continue to enlarge the range of equipment financed to include those that promote ecological transition by reducing pollution, consuming less energy and/or by deriving energy from renewable sources. Like LED lighting systems, photovoltaic panels, cogeneration systems, etc. The latter, for instance, ensure that energy is generated in a more efficient and cleaner way and that the residual energy usually wasted, is put to use. To promote greener mobility, we also offer finance solutions for hybrid and electric buses and vehicles, their charging terminals, and for trucks running on NGV (Natural Gas for Vehicle) and BioGNV.

In addition to energy transition, we work in sectors like healthcare and recycling to promote Circular Economy. We fund medical equipment that ensure good health and well-being of the people. But also equipment for waste management and recycling which allow for a more sustainable management of equipment at the end of their lifecycle.

Solutions that promote Circular Economy

Maximising the value of raw materials is a major challenge for everyone, be it consumers, businesses, or even countries, since it involves limiting waste and preserving the Earth’s natural resources.

At BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions, we aim to break away from the so-called linear economy of extracting, producing, using and disposing. For many years now, we have been pushing for a more circular model with the ambition to give a second or even a third life to professional equipment, in all sectors where this is possible. Finance, Recover, Refurbish, and Resell or Re-rent is our philosophy. A philosophy that resonates with all our customers who seek to limit the environmental impact of their activities. This is precisely what the solutions proposed by our subsidiaries BNP Paribas 3 Step IT and BNP Paribas Rental Solutions Trucks aim to do by working around the equipment life cycle. BNP Paribas 3 Step IT refurbishes 97% of the technological equipment at the end of the contract: this reduces the carbon footprint associated with equipment production and transport by 36%. BNP Paribas Rental Trucks maintains and repairs the vehicles it manages and ensures that they are resold at the end of the contract.

Usage Economy at the core

The Circular Economy model is a response to the new consumption patterns which involve paying for the use of an equipment, and not for its ownership. By leasing equipment from specialised companies, businesses get to completely outsource equipment management, particularly at the end of the contract. As the owner of the leased equipment, we recover the equipment and try giving it a second life, or recycle it according to environmental standards in cases where it can no longer be used.

While the preference for using an equipment has already started to dominate the will to own it, there is still a long way to achieve a true state of Usage Economy – a scenario in which the user would only pay for the actual use of his equipment, as in the case of industrial vehicles whose rents are calculated by the kilometre. Or like the first photocopiers that already offered the possibility to pay for the number of copies made.

This, again, makes for a truly virtuous model, since the objective is to keep using the equipment for as long as possible and to maximise its use. Even though the Internet of Things (IoT) has already given birth to pay-per-use services by offering the possibility to closely monitor the use of each machine, the road is still long. But it has a lot of potential and presents some great opportunities for companies, and we are ready to accompany them on this journey, as we have been doing on the ones towards Sustainable Development and Circular Economy.

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We finance a wide range of professional logistics and technological equipment.


For the past 70 years, we’ve been financing the Real Economy: SMEs, mid-caps, big corporates who, thanks to the equipment financed by us build, educate, feed and care for the society we live in.

It was therefore only natural that we act in times of a crisis like the COVID-19 that threatens their lives, their work and their health. So, in all the countries where we’re present, we mobilised the tools and resources at our disposal to support the most vulnerable.

Apart from the financial initiatives like payment deferrals, our teams acted in partnership with our local charitable partners to help the health professionals, the younger population and the most at-risk people on a priority basis.


In one of the countries hit the hardest by the pandemic, our colleagues supported the medical community with a donation of 89, 000 euros for the “Fondazione Buzzi”, an association we’ve been working with for the past 2 years. This donation went towards buying 7 intensive care beds.

While the Fondazione Buzzi usually works to support children’s hospitals, they extended their perimeter to include the most vulnerable sections of the society during this crisis.  

In addition, we supported the BNP Paribas Group’s initiative with the Italian Red Cross through online donations from employees and customers which amounted to 20,000 euros. The Italian Red cross is a partner of the BNP Paribas Group in the country and as part of this partnership, the employees are encouraged to volunteer for charitable causes during their working hours.


Despite the lockdown, some of our clients had to keep working to ensure the continuity of essential services. Our subsidiary entity, BNP Paribas Rental Solutions Trucks, specialising in long-term leasing of industrial vehicles wanted to their bit to support these workers through:

  • The provision of 3 refrigerated trucks free of charge for 3 months for the customer of BNP Paribas Rental Solutions Trucks AMT 83. Specializing in the transport of perishable food supplies, it covers large and medium-sized areas of the Mediterranean coast.
  • The provision of a truck to the ARS (Regional Health Agency) Paris region for the delivery of hydro alcoholic sanitisers and masks.


Because of the lockdown imposed by the local governments in an attempt to control the spread of the Coronavirus, our conventional ways of working needed to be reviewed with increased focus on digital tools and solutions. An electronic signature solution was therefore deployed to be able to finalise contracts remotely. On the launch of this tool, we partnered with Reforest’Action to plant a tree in the Piua region in Peru, for every contract that’s signed electronically with a goal to plant 5,000 trees. The reforestation will not only help restore the quality of the soil, but also fight against the desertification of this region, while at the same time raising awareness among our clients towards the causes that affect the environment.


Education is one of the pillars on which any civil society stands and the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown resulted in hundreds of thousands of students being deprived of this basic right. In such a period, the social and economic inequalities become even more apparent since not every student has the means to be able to continue attending classes remotely.

Our colleagues in Romania therefore stepped and joined hands with the “Ateliere fara Frontiere” foundation to donate 70 computers to allow children from families in financial difficulty to access online classes.

After this crisis, computers will be donated to schools so that more children can use them to learn and grow their knowledge.


Belgium and netherlands


This year, the Easter festivities were also a little marred by the crisis. The Belgian and Dutch teams tried bringing some smiles to the true heroes of this crisis – the health workers – by offering them Easter eggs in hospitals near our offices.

Gift Hospital

Our teams in the Netherlands also stopped by the Jeroen Bosch Hospital Hertogenbosch and the local Red Cross to donate masks.



In Spain, the BNP Paribas Group had earmarked a support package of 500,000 €. In addition, all the Group’s entities in the country, including BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions, got together to raise 200,000 €.

This amount was donated to multiple associations such as, « Cooperación Internacional », (for the purchase of food for the neediest families), the Madrid Food Bank, the Spanish Red Cross and the Network of Public Hospitals of the Region of Madrid.


Employees from all the entities of the BNP Paribas Group responded generously to the call for donations in recent weeks to food banks across the country. The campaign raised a total of 18,663 euros. The BNP Paribas German Foundation then doubled the amount of the campaign and rounded up the total donation to 40,000 euros. The amount was donated to the Tafel association which is one of the largest charitable organisations in Germany and supports more than 1.5 million people by distributing food across the country.

We also donated iPads and tablets to the Kinderschutzbund association that works for the protection of children. A part of these tablets will help strengthen the framework that allows people to seek guidance from the association remotely. The other half will be temporarily given to families where the children don’t have the necessary means to continue online learning during the lockdown.

United Kingdom

In the UK, we extended support to our two partner associations:

Naomi House & Jacksplace, an association we’ve been working with for the past 4 years that provides hospice care to more than 500 life limited and life threatened children. And Together for Short Lives, our partner for 2 years now, which supports families caring for seriously ill children, by helping them spend less time searching for help and more time together. They work in children’s palliative care services, campaign for policy change and raise funds to ensure children’s hospice care not only continues but improves.

To each of these associations, we extended a donation of 5,000£.

In addition, a special page from the “JustGiving” digital donation platform has been launched internally. The online fundraising is done via a number of events like dress up days, virtual exercise challenges and quizzes. The proceeds are used to help partners deal with the health and economic crisis.


Our teams in Turkey also helped the children from difficult socio-economic conditions to continue learning despite the lockdown. This was done through a donation to the TOCEV foundation (Foundation for Children Eager to Learn).

The Turkish government also launched a National Aid campaign to support the fight against COVID-19. BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions Turkey contributed to the fund through a donation of 15,000 euros.

So, these were some of the initiatives that were launched in the different countries in response to the health crisis. But our efforts don’t stop here – for the past many years, we’ve been developing solutions to push for a more sustainable and inclusive future. We mainly contribute to this through the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations by reducing our environmental footprint, by promoting diversity and inclusion and by multiplying the positive impact actions of our employees.

A year back, the General Management Committee of BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions decided to launch a mentoring programme with the aim to reduce gender inequalities between men and women. Each member of the General Management Committee therefore mentored 3 women during one year.

Mentoring: an enabler for professional growth

The decision came into effect after realizing that when important senior positions needed to be filled , there were very few women candidates who applied despite a very impressive pool of female talent in the company. It was therefore quite clear to the General Management Committee that the reason behind it were the cultural and societal unconscious bias which often act as barriers and hamper the women from evolving in their careers.

Which is why Charlotte Dennery, the CEO, along with the 3 other members of the General Management Committee – Pascal Layan (Deputy CEO), Wolfgang Pinner (COO) and Delphine Roché (Director of Transformation and IT) – mentored 3 women each during one year.


Pascal Layan

Pascal, the HeForShe ambassador for BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions shared the different milestones of this programme on his LinkedIn account. He said:

In 2019, it is simply unacceptable that an individual’s career prospects be defined by their gender. This programme is a manifestation of the General Management Committee’s strong commitment to promote equal professional opportunity at BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions to ensure that each person finds their place within the company.

Very encouraging first feedbacks

During this year, the mentors and the mentees have forged strong relationships that have allowed them to talk in an open way. Which is why the discussions constantly oscillated between the professional sphere and also towards more personal topics like work-life balance, the impact of maternity leave on a woman’s career and so on.

Each mentor adapted their approach depending on the person in front of them and their individual needs and goals. There were certain women, for instance, who wanted a deeper insight into the strategic matters of the company and others who wanted to work on developing a very specific skillset. In the latter case, they were able to put them in touch with the experts of concerned field, and in doing so helped them broaden their influence sphere and give a little push to their professional aspirations.

Certain women changed posts during the course of the programme and appreciated the guidance of their mentors in clarifying doubts to enable them to get a better sense of the new role and the new work environment.

So, no matter how different their initial expectations or the goals be from one another, the feedback from all the mentees, and even the mentors, has been extremely positive.


Ainsi, quels qu’étaient leurs objectifs ou leurs attentes initiales, les retours des mentorées, tout comme ceux des mentors d’ailleurs, sont totalement positifs.

Only a piece of a much bigger puzzle

While the programme has been a success, it is important to remember that one initiative alone cannot help bridge years of disparity between men and women. We therefore need to support this initiative with many other concrete actions and policies in this direction.

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Charlotte Dennery

Here’s what Charlotte Dennery had to say on the topic:

This programme won’t be able to singlehandedly fight against gender inequalities at the workplace. Before anything else, we need to create a pool of talented women who would be able to hold strategic managerial positions in the company in the years to come. It is also important for them to have role models that can inspire them.  This is something, however, that needs to start at the grassroot level, in the way education is provided to young women, even in the primary schools, so that they are aware of all the possible career paths open to them, including the ones that are traditionally more masculine, like the scientific field. It is therefore a long-term endeavour..

The programme is therefore part of many other initiatives, one that will be renewed in 2020 but will be open to all the employees this time, men or women. The company has simultaneously committed itself to the cause by giving it the voice it needs and deserves, be it internally or externally, by raising awareness in the press, on social media, through internal and external events like the Global Women’s Forum.

In addition, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions has put in place concrete human resources policies to:

  • Ensure equal pay for equal work
  • Allow employees to have a better work-life balance, through the possibility of homeworking for up to 2 days a week
  • Guaranteeing a safe working environment for everyone by fighting against all forms of discrimination and harassment and fostering a culture of mutual respect among colleagues

These measures in favour of diversity are part of the overall commitment of the company which aims to create value for the economy, the society, the environment and the employees. This commitment is modelled on the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all member stated of the United Nations and refers to Goal number 5 (gender equality).

You would like to know more about our HR policy in favor of gender equality.


Frédérique Garrouste

The European leader is boosting its growth by relying increasingly on a socially responsible business approach. Charlotte Dennery harmonised the business activities of BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions with collective growth. This long-term vision of sustainable growth guides in equal measure the equipment finance solutions offered by the company and its internal organisation.

For the Ensae and Polytechnique alumnus, the goal is clear: the equipment finance activity (where the bank owns the equipment and the user pays a rental fee to use it) must contribute to the Usage Economy, to not only preserve the planet, but also to better respond to the needs of businesses that require assets equipped with the latest technology. The impressive growth of the company she has been leading since 2015 seems to validate this approach: the total number of annual contracts – the customers mainly being dealers and distributors of equipment – rose from 10.1 billion in new production volumes in 2015 to 13.5 billion in 2018, an annual growth of more than 10% against a market average of 8% to 9%.

After having worked in the BNP Paribas Group’s major business lines like BFI, investment, insurance, in France and North America, Charlotte Dennery took charge of the leasing activity with a clear vision: she is convinced that the Group can and should promote equipment re-use, and subsequently the Circular Economy. A partnership with a Finnish company, specialist in life cycle management of technological equipment, was recently signed. “We will finance equipment that will be managed and maintained by our new Joint Venture with 3 Step IT, who, at the end of a lease, will recover and refurbish them to be put back on the market in 97% of the cases,” says Charlotte Dennery. BNP Paribas, on the other hand will bring to the table its risk analysis expertise and its capacity to finance the requests.

The alliance will be effective across 20 European countries where each of the partners is present. And since the equipment have more than one shelf life, the financing model evolves with the depreciation of the asset. “We’re contacted by companies of all sizes who want to adopt these solutions, from SMEs to the larger groups, whose share continues to increase among our direct customers,” says Charlotte Dennery.

The responsible approach is also extended to the management of 3,400 employees. Charlotte Dennery therefore took the shifting of the central teams (1,400 employees) from Puteaux to Nanterre, in February 2017, as an opportunity to improve on the working environment. “The layout of the building in the flex-office mode, with large spaces for formal and informal meetings, has made the way the teams work much more dynamic and convivial,” she says. The employees participated in the floor plans and homeworking was put in place. We’ve noticed an increase in productivity of the employees.” All measures have been implemented to onboard the teams to a more collaborative environment. “We must give the business a meaning and a vision so that the employees feel a real sense of pride in contributing to its growth,” says the CEO, who directly oversees the Human Resources, Finance and Communication departments.

Dialogue and cooperation are omnipresent at all levels, starting with the top where Charlotte Dennery created a four-member Executive Board, which meets every Monday for two to four hours to reflect on major strategic decisions. “A project needs to be analysed from all angles, this committee allows us to benefit from collective intelligence,” says Dennery. She does not hesitate to schedule once or twice a year brainstorming getaways of three to four days. “The Executive Board works in an extremely collaborative manner, with discussions on all subjects, in good faith,” explains Pascal Layan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, in charge of the management of the three business lines that finance logistics equipment, technological equipment and assist the customers of the BNP Paribas Group’s banking network. We address operational matters such as the five-year plan we need to continue being the industry leader in Europe. Wolfgang Pinner, Chief Operating Officer, who has been in the Group for 30 years, is responsible for Country Supervision while Delphine Roché has been Director of Transformation and IT since the beginning of the year, after having worked for 12 years in the UK business. “I have dealt with the transformation of leasing in each of my previous posts, be it as the Head of the Process Improvement Program or as the Head of a Business Unit,” says Delphine who was previously at an N-3 level post.

The Executive Committee has 14 members and the goal is to make it more gender-balanced, through a mentoring program for women supported by members of the Executive Board. “To increase female representation, especially in the Executive Committee, is a long-term job,” said Charlotte Dennery.

Among the major strategic projects monitored in the Executive Committee, the digitalisation of the bank’s intervention chain is a priority. Response times for funding requests have been reduced from three days to approximately two hours. “Speed ​​has become the norm and I wanted the business to adapt to these new market expectations,” says Charlotte Dennery. After a positive answer to the financing request, it is necessary to follow through with automatic pay-outs to the dealers and automatic debit of the rental fees. “Our teams in the countries are experts in the local fabric and the international ones assist them constantly in improving their skills,” explains Pascal Layan. The goal is to simplify the financing process as much as possible for all types of customers. Accepting finance requests in less than thirty seconds requires a lot of expertise! “

And that is the key to business development. “We are going to appoint managers to improve the end-to-end digital journeys of our partners and customers,” says Delphine Roché. We need to review the processes from the customers’ standpoint.

The challenge is also to retain employees by allowing them to continuously upgrade their knowledge and skills. “It is essential for the employees to know how to use the latest tools. A program of Reverse Digital Mentoring was therefore introduced so that those who are comfortable with these tools mentor those who need help, with the top management leading by example by being mentored themselves,” says Delphine Roché.

All these projects help promote the development of new types of equipment, such as those that support energy transition, and geographical expansion of the company, in China, for example, where the Group is the only European player to break through on a large scale. “We have negotiated a partnership with a local partner who hosts our team of 80 people,” said Wolfgang Pinner. Employees who deal with the clients of BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions, however, form a separate team. The United States, Switzerland and Scandinavia are also part of recent as well as promising progress in terms of sustainable development.


1988 : Ecole polytechnique

1990: ENSAE

1991: High-level government officer Insee then Ministry of Finance

2001: BNP Paribas, Head of Strategy and Development, BFI

2002 : Head of Strategy, United States

2004: Head of Asset Management and CFO, Cardif

2009: Managing Director Operations, BNP Paribas IP

2015 : CEO, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions