BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

The BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation and Realise are committed for the jobs of tomorrow

17 October 2019

On Monday 14 October, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation and réalise signed a three-year partnership agreement jointly founding “OPPORTUNITY, Training today for tomorrow’s job”. Thanks to this programme, an innovative training model that has already proved a success in Geneva will be rolled out across Switzerland.

Together, réalise and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation embody the values of commitment and support for a transition towards a more sustainable, connected and shared growth.


The OPPORTUNITY programme has been jointly set up by the two partners with the aim of introducing the adult education model created by realise with the wish to spread it up to five swiss cantons. It focuses on the most promising economic sectors for present and future employment.

The OPPORTUNITY programme has three main strands:

  1. Understanding the key sectors of the future economy (which will be sustainable and connected)
  2. Identifying employment opportunities related to these growth sectors
  3. Creating hands-on training courses that are accessible to all, including those who currently lack the skills expected by the market


“OPPORTUNITY, Training today for tomorrow’s job” thereby promotes equal opportunities in the shift towards a sustainable, digital and inclusive economy. The programme is the result of the genuinely collaborative approach adopted by its two partners, réalise and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation, and will be developed over a three-year period with the possibility of renewal.

réalise is well-known in Geneva for its work in the field of professional integration for those on the margins of the labour market. Over more than 30 years, réalise has developed a pioneering, pragmatic and effective adult education and return-to-work model. This model is based on the principles of workplace learning, a unique skill identification process, and continuous adaptation to labour market changes.

Created in 2002, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation’s mission is to foster cultural, social and environmental dialogue between the banking world and its local environment. Its aims include promoting education and social inclusion.

The first phase in the OPPORTUNITY programme, which is already underway, consists in rolling out the digital training initiative launched by réalise in Geneva in 2018 across Switzerland. This will be done with the help of Simplon – a social enterprise with strong links to the BNP Paribas Group. Simplon’s aim is to offer free in-person training with certification in digital technical professions to individuals who have “dropped out” of the labour market.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Help2Help: valuing employees’ dedication

29 August 2019

BNP Paribas is committed to supporting our employees who dedicate their time and energy to volunteering causes. The Help2Help programme sponsors our staff to work on voluntary projects within solidarity organisations.

The Help2Help programme across the world

Since 2003, the BNP Paribas Group has been supporting employees who volunteer through the Help2Help programme. Employees working in the volunteering sector in around thirty countries may receive financial assistance to work on a project. The fields of activity include humanitarian aid, healthcare, the environment, and local solidarity. In 2018, a total of EUR 940,000 was spent on 260 projects worldwide.

Help2Help in Switzerland

In Switzerland, the Help2Help programme holds a call for projects once a year. The bank’s employees in Switzerland can submit a project on behalf of the association they volunteer with. A committee of the bank’s employees then meets to select the winners. Since 2004, almost 200 projects have received support from the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation. The projects are rolled out both in Switzerland and abroad. Below are the two winners from 2019.

2019 winner: EVE (Enfant-Vélo-Ecole)

After having been volunteers for several years in an NGO active in South-East Asia and Africa, Magali and Florence decided to set up their own organisation in 2015 with concrete projects for underprivileged groups in Asia: EVE (Enfant-Vélo-Ecole). Their aim is to promote children’s access to education by distributing bicycles in Vietnam and renovating schools in India, as well as providing supplies to a number of schools. They visit the locations as soon as possible to assess logistics, monitor the implementation of projects and track the results on-site.

In 2019, the organisation decided to help a school in the village of Jhenjipani, at an altitude of 1,640 m in the Uttarakand region of India. Accessible only on foot, the village is home to a very poorly equipped primary school. In addition to providing school supplies at the beginning of each school year, the EVE association helped them renovate their furniture and kitchen. This year, thanks to the Help2Help programme, the school will be able to clean up its playground to avoid water accumulating during seasons when heavy rainfall and snow melt occur.

2019 winner: MAA (Maasai Aid Association)

Didier has been a volunteer with the Maasai Aid Association (MAA) for over 15 years as an active member and, more recently, as an auditor. The NGO works for education, health and children’s rights in Maasai countries in Kenya. Recognised as a non-profit, the organisation actively campaigns for the eradication of forced genital mutilation of Maasai girls and receives the support of the canton of Geneva for its awareness-raising initiatives in the villages concerned.

The MAA association received the support of Help2Help in 2019 to build a nursery school for around sixty children in the village of Ilgenchere. An information campaign opposing forced genital mutilation will also be deployed in the region targeting approximately 200 people.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Volunteering hours in support of local organisations

19 July 2019

Since 2018, BNP Paribas Suisse employees have had the option of converting 8 working hours into volunteering hours. The aim is to use these paid hours to help local organisations and boost their impact. As the bank for a changing world, we strive to shape the future and make the world a better place. By promoting solidarity at an individual level, BNP Paribas hopes its employees will share its ambition of making a positive and sustainable impact on society.

A stronger local presence

The bank aims to strengthen its presence and that of its employees in the local community, raise awareness of local issues, and offer meaningful activities. Organisations often need assistance in pursuing their objective.

Last month, around twenty employees from Geneva lent a hand at the Partage food bank. Over two mornings, the teams sorted the food donations that came from the Samedi du Partage. It was the perfect opportunity to learn about Partage, which promotes sustainable development through combating food waste, professional reintegration, and the circular economy.

In Zurich, around a dozen employees assisted a farming family through the Volontaire Montagne (or Bergversetzer) organisation. Over a full day, they supported the family by carrying out repairs, working the land and giving advice on the farm’s marketing and sales strategy for its products.

CSR at the heart of BNP Paribas’s activities in Switzerland

Volunteering hours are part of the bank’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) strategy in Switzerland, which is based on the four economic, social, civic and environmental pillars established by the Group.

For more information, see “A responsible bank”.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

The BD Zoom 2019 Award inspires animated discussion

7 May 2019

For three years, BNP Paribas (Suisse) has been working alongside the Department of Public Education, Training and Youth (Département de l’instruction publique, de la formation et de la jeunesse – DIP) in the canton of Geneva to explore the amazing variety of comic books in French-speaking Switzerland.

This year, three finalists stood out in particular owing to the topics they deal with.

20 years ago, no-one would have asked me into classes to promote reading. They would have invited a novelist.”


An award promoting the amazing variety of comic books in French-speaking Switzerland

The BD Zoom Award aims above all to encourage reading among young people in French-speaking Switzerland, while casting a spotlight on the rather unique format of comic books.

“It is an incredible public-private partnership that is extremely beneficial,” stated Nadia Keckeis from the DIP.

Over the past few months, secondary school students in the canton of Geneva have had the opportunity to meet and interact with authors, and to read and critique their work. After studying their work, the students shortlisted three comics:


The three authors visited classrooms across Geneva to talk to students about their comics and the job of a comic book author and storyteller. The conversations were just as rewarding for the students as for the authors – a reminder that books are created with and by the reader.

After studying for five years, I felt it important to speak about a serious and personal topic. I wanted to share my family’s experience, but using humour rather than pathos.”

Emilie Gleason

Championing difference, recognising unhappiness and raising awareness about protecting the environment

The finalists covered major, yet very different, topics ranging from autism and the existential quest to the importance of protecting the environment. However, they all shared one common theme: loneliness.

Also drawing inspiration from her personal experience, Maurane Mazars speaks about her hero, Piet, who suffers from anxiety and lives and breathes music. “This comic is inspired partly by my own experience, but transposed into another context: music”.

For Zep, The End stems from an African story about antelopes being poisoned by trees that were defending themselves against a growing antelope population. This story was a factor that prompted research into the intelligence of trees. It inspired him to write a fictional story that sometimes bears a close resemblance to reality.

TED, a firm favourite among the young audience…

Around 300 students were given the opportunity to attend a meet-and-greet with the three finalists at the Geneva Book Fair. The authors fielded questions in a Q&A session and even sketched out a few comic strips for the audience. At the end of the event, the students chose their favourite comic from the three finalists.

The BD Zoom 2019 Award was presented to Émilie Gleason for Ted, drôle de coco in the presence of Anne Emery-Torracinta, State Councillor responsible for the DIP and Igor Joly, delegate general of the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation.

…And BNP Paribas in Switzerland’s employees

BNP Paribas in Switzerland staff also participated in the students’ BD Zoom Award activities. After finding out which three comics had been shortlisted, they selected their own favourite comic book last Thursday after a special meeting with the three authors.

As was the case for the students, Émilie Gleason’s comic TED, drôle de Coco was the most popular among staff.

They were moved by the young author’s story and the messages conveyed through her comic strip.

This meeting between staff and authors inspired some animated discussion. One colleague at BNP Paribas in Switzerland said, “In addition to introducing us to books that we would not otherwise look for, the BD Zoom Award allowed us to get to know the authors and have a real dialogue with them.”

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Polar Access Fund: 2018 in review

In 2018, the Polar Access Fund awarded scholarships to students engaged in research on global warning for the first time. We take a look back at a busy year for the PAF, a programme designed to ...

8 January 2019

In 2018, the Polar Access Fund awarded scholarships to students engaged in research on global warning for the first time. We take a look back at a busy year for the PAF, a programme designed to give students from leading Swiss research centres the opportunity to visit the most far-flung corners of the planet.

The PAF: a demanding programme

The Polar Access Fund calls for applications from students engaged in doctoral or post-doctoral studies at Swiss universities and research facilities. These students, working in a variety of fields, are all united by a scientific interest in the phenomena observed at the world’s poles as a result of global warming. After the cut-off date for applications, a panel of experts meets to select the winning projects and divide the available funds between these expeditions. The judging criteria focus primarily on the value added by the research projects, and the scientific benefits of each expedition.

Covering a broad array of topics

The 2018 programme awarded grants to five researchers, including three women, from four Swiss institutions (the University of Zürich, ETH Zürich, Paul Scherrer Institute and the Federal Institute for Research on Forests, Snow and Landscapes). The successful applicants travelled to Greenland, Siberia and Bhutan during the summer of 2018, collecting samples and observing natural phenomena.

The research topics covered include glacial melting, microbial populations in frozen lakes and aerosol concentrations in the Arctic. All are affected by global warming, and serve as clear indicators of climate change in action. Studying these phenomena is essential to understanding the scale of the disruption which climate change is wreaking upon our planet.

Eef van Dongen finally got to witness ice calving at close range, an impressive experience: “After studying the theory of calving glaciers for almost a year, it was very impressive to see a calving glacier in reality. I did not expect the sound of icebergs breaking off and falling into the sea to be that loud. It is almost like hearing a thunderstorm”.

Applications open now for 2019

The application window for this year’s round of funding is open until 15 January 2019. Grants of up to 20,000 CHF are awarded to eligible projects.

For more information on the 2018 expeditions, visit the SPI website.


In 2016, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation joined forces with the Swiss Polar Institute to help young researchers take part in an expedition to Antarctica. In 2018, building on the success of this important project, the Fondation and SPI launched the Polar Access Fund in order to provide vital funding to young scientists conducting research into climate change.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Engagement Week : Our employees are committed!

While the bank organised a week devoted to the themes of BNP Paribas' Company Engagement from 19th to 23rd November in Switzerland, nearly 200 employees committed to using sustainable transport ...

30 November 2018

While the bank organised a week devoted to the themes of BNP Paribas’ Company Engagement from 19th to 23rd November in Switzerland, nearly 200 employees committed to using sustainable transport for their commutes to and from work. Together they saved the CO2 equivalent of 10 return trips between Paris-Geneva by car! The Commitment Week presented an opportunity for BNP Paribas in Switzerland to highlight its strategy to be a more responsible bank and its positive impact initiatives developed locally, as well as some of the major challenges relating to sustainable development such as the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) or the socio-professional integration of migrants in Geneva. The Engagement Week provided the chance to meet up, exchange ideas and debate issues in direct relation to current affairs. Themes such as positive economy, inclusion, positive impact and the environment were at the heart of these discussions during the conferences, sharing sessions, forum and screening of short films. Approximately 20,000 kilometres were covered by soft mobility, thanks to the efforts of employees in Geneva, Zurich and Lugano who came to work by carpooling, by bike, by foot or by public transport. Perhaps an invitation to permanently change our modes of transport?    

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

New HEADS awards : a new edition providing more support to the HEAD’s Young graduates

After six years that have established the New Heads - Fondation BNP Paribas Art Awards as a major event on the emerging Swiss art scene, HEAD - Genève and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation have ...

3 October 2018

After six years that have established the New Heads – Fondation BNP Paribas Art Awards as a major event on the emerging Swiss art scene, HEAD – Genève and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation have decided to provide an enhanced support mechanism to help assist the young prize-winners who graduate from the school.  

Personal exhibitions in Swiss artistic institutions.

Each year, two artistic institutions are now invited by HEAD – Genève and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation to select and organise the personal exhibition of an MA graduate in Fine Arts. For the 2018 New Heads – Fondation BNP Paribas Art Awards, the Centre d’art contemporain – Yverdon-les-Bains (CACY), represented by its Director Karine Tissot, chose to show the works of Sara da Silva Santos from 29 September 2018 while Nathalie Herschdorfer, Director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Le Locle, will showcase the works of Thomas Liu Le Lann in Le Locle from 2 November 2018. These exhibitions, organised with the support of HEAD – Genève and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation, will require each prize-winner to produce new works for the occasion.    

Feedback organised at artgenève  

The New Heads – Fondation BNP Paribas Art Awards will maintain their presence at the artgenève art fair, showcasing from 31 January until 3 February 2019 a selection of works by the two prize-winners that will be produced for their exhibitions in Yverdon-les-Bains and Le Locle. This feedback is supplemented with the publication of a small monographic catalogue for each of the prize-winners, comprising images of their personal exhibition and a text written by an art critic. During this presentation in Geneva, a meeting is set up with the collaborators of BNP Paribas in Switzerland, following which they select a work by each artist to be added to the Foundation’s collection.  

Encouraging support on all aspects of one’s early career

This new configuration for the New Heads – Fondation BNP Paribas Art Awards thus provides decisive support for the young award-winning artists for the beginning of their career with a first personal exhibition, a first monographic catalogue, a first showcase in an art fair, a first meeting with patrons and a first work in a company collection.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

The BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation supports artists in Switzerland through its collection

Support of Switzerland's budding art scene Eager to animate and expand its collection of works of art, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation has chosen to focus on the acquisition of works from young ...

30 August 2018

Support of Switzerland’s budding art scene

Eager to animate and expand its collection of works of art, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation has chosen to focus on the acquisition of works from young Swiss artists or those having some tie to Switzerland. In this way, the works of promising artists like Marco Scorti, Claudia Comte and Guillaume Dénervaud are now a part of BNP Paribas in Switzerland’s historical collection.  

Aurélie Pétrel makes her mark on the customer lobby in Geneva

This year, it’s Aurélie Pétrel who has been comissioned to create an artwork in-situ at the heart of BNP Paribas in Switzerland. The young artist created a monumental cubic structure of 2.5 m3 made up of photographic prints on wooden, steel and glass strips. It is, so to speak, a portrait of the Bank, inspired by photos from the archives, employees’ testimonies and works from the collection. Aurélie Pétrel, Axionométrie, 2018 Aurélie Pétrel Axionométrie, 2018, Digital print on wood, steel and glass 250 cm3 © Jérémie Spierer Adorning the great white marble hall in a spectacular fashion, Place de Hollande, Axionométrie is now an integral part of the Bank’s identity.  

Aurélie Pétrel given free reign by the Elysée Museum to carry out her work

Although the final result is sculptural, Aurélie Pétrel’s work is first and foremost photographic. It perpetually questions the status of the image, which it deconstructs only to offer a new spatio-temporal perspective. Aurélie Pétrel, Héxagone 18 (Installation évolutive), LabElysée, Musée de L'Elysée, Lausanne, Mai-septembre 2018, © Yannick Lutry Aurélie Pétrel, Héxagone 18 (evolving installation), LabElysée, Musée de L’Elysée, Lausanne, May-September 2018 © Yannick Lutry As an echo of Axionométrie, which represents an important stage in her work, the artist is currently prolonging her artistic research at the Elysée Museum in Lausanne. The institution has invited her to develop a project over several months at the LabElysée, an experimental venue focused on digital, within the museum. Aurélie Pétrel’s installation is both progressive and immersive, its starting point being snapshots taken in a start-up company. From this source a great many images are made, then endlessly transformed, in a fragmented, digitalised and virtual manner. Entitled Hexagone18, her installation can be viewed until 23 September.  

The BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation, partner of the LabElysée

Since 2017, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation has been collaborating with the Elysée Museum in the development of a new experimental space dedicated to digital culture: the LabElysée. A working site at the heart of the museum, the LabElysée questions the way in which a cultural institution dedicated to photography plays with new technologies. In an age where the internet has become a creative tool, the LabElysée invites the visitor, at the museum and online, to follow and participate in the conception process of the photographic museum of tomorrow.

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

The project “1hr per m2: a student under my roof” received the canton award for sustainable development

The project, "1hr per m2: a student under my roof", is an initiative funded and co-founded by BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation. The project has received the canton award for sustainable development ...

6 June 2018

The project, “1hr per m2: a student under my roof”, is an initiative funded and co-founded by BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation. The project has received the canton award for sustainable development with around fifty student/senior citizen pairings. The initiative aims to combat social isolation, while facilitating student housing solutions in Geneva. “1hr per m2: sharing with a student” was set up in 2016 by BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation, the organisation Pro Senectute and the University of Geneva.  

An intergenerational project

More than just renting a room, “1hr per m2” is a true exchange between host and the student welcomed into their home. As its name suggests, a room of a certain size is made available in exchange for a few hours spent lending a helping hand: help with shopping, computer use, foreign language classes and more besides. But beyond this help, the programme brings a human presence to senior citizens and has a real impact on public health for this sometimes vulnerable population. Those aged over 70 years make up 40% of the programme hosts, and the majority live alone.  

Economic and environmental gains

Students benefit from a lower cost room as they pay a fraction of normal rates. With these savings, students have more time to concentrate on their studies and build relationships with Genevese residents, since most come from abroad to study in Geneva. Additionally, all the rooms allocated through this programme in 2017 amount to around sixty rooms freed up for others – the equivalent of a small university hall of residence which now does not need to be built.  

A successful public-private partnership

Following a 3-year pilot phase, the partnership between BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation, organisation Pro Senectute and the University of Geneva has been extended to 2021. In the first year, 23 pairings were made. By 2017 the number had doubled, with 53 pairs currently sharing a house. This success demonstrates that a real demand exists in Geneva, but also shows how much hosts and students enjoy living together.     Marius and Mme Berthier walking at the park Marius and Mme Berthier walking at the park
© Kathelijne Reijse Saillet

The canton award for Sustainable Development

Presented each year to initiatives run by public or semi-public organisations, this annual award contributes to the implementation of Agenda 21, a sustainability commitment made by the canton. Agenda 21 aims to support and encourage civil society to take action, both in Geneva and the cross-border area.    

BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation

Conference : The poles are warming up. Why should we care?

On June, 7th, BNP Paribas in Switzerland and the Swiss Polar Institute organize a debate on a quite hot topic on environment. "The poles are warming up. Why should we care?" That is a good ...

1 June 2018

On June, 7th, BNP Paribas in Switzerland and the Swiss Polar Institute organize a debate on a quite hot topic on environment. “The poles are warming up. Why should we care?” That is a good question that will be discussed by the experts presented below. If you don’t want to miss a thing of the talk, follow us on Twitter for a live broadcast! Conference on the environment program