Companies must be responsible corporate citizens

Willow Yang/File

Following the story in The Daily Californian, “Parent company of UC Berkeley’s official bank invests in ICE-contracted private prison companies,” we wanted to provide some key facts to correct inaccuracies.

The relatively small holdings identified in the story are not current, not long-term and critically not principal investments. BNP Paribas, as a significant player in the global capital markets, holds shares in a wide variety of listed companies to facilitate client demands, including offering exposure to common equity indices, such as the Russell 2000, to which both companies belong.

We know companies of all kinds must be responsible corporate citizens. For us and our parent company, we believe climate change is the greatest global threat facing society. As much as 10 percent of the world’s population may be forced to move as a result of changes in climate in the coming decades, according to the Environmental Justice Foundation. This could affect everyone worldwide, and that is why energy transition must be the focus of our efforts to help make a positive impact.

As a decadeslong supporter of the university, we are proud of our work supporting the community through the UC Berkeley Food Pantry, our annual Bear Opportunity Scholarship program, financial education and our regular support for student-led and campuswide initiatives. We look forward to continuing those efforts.

We welcome and respect open dialogue, and we plan to share more about the differences we want to make in the world.

It is an honor to be the official bank of the University of California, Berkeley, and we plan to serve the university community for years to come.

— Bank of the West and BNP Paribas