Santander has a defined governance structure in sustainability at corporate and local level.
In 2015, Banco Santander has updated the governance structure of its sustainability function to include the international best practices on corporate social responsibility and the good governance recommendations set by the CNMV in Spain. This establishes that:
- The board of directors, the Group's senior decision-making body on all matters except those reserved for the annual general meeting, is the only body authorized to approve general policies and strategies, including those relating to sustainability.
- The Risk Supervision, Regulation and Compliance Committee oversees the corporate social responsibility policy, ensuring its compliance within the Group and its aim to create value. In addition, this committee oversees the process of communicating the Group's non-financial information through its sustainability report.
Additionally, in early 2016, the board of directors decided that the Executive Committee should be regularly briefed about progress made on the Bank’s main sustainability initiatives.
Banco Santander has a Sustainability Committee chaired by the CEO and comprising the general managers and/or heads of the different divisions and corporate areas of the Bank concerned with sustainability. This committee meets at least once a year and proposes, coordinates and promotes the Bank's sustainability initiatives.
The majority of local units have their own local sustainability committee, chaired by their country head. Each local unit runs sustainability initiatives tailored to local requirements, in line with the Group's overarching strategy and compliant with prevailing corporate sustainability policies, general and sectorials.
Santander also has a task force to assess the reputational risk stemming from any financial transactions with a social or environmental impact, which issues non-binding recommendations to the relevant decision-making body in accordance with the general and sectoral sustainability policies.
This task force is chaired by the Group Chief Compliance Officer and is comprised of members of Compliance, Risks, Sustainability, Legal Advisory, Communications and the business areas. In addition, in each geographies, specific working groups have been created for the local implementation of the Bank's sustainability policies and new advanced training has been given to risk, compliance and business teams for this purpose.
The Group has other multi-disciplinary committees, which contribute to different sustainability initiatives within the Group. These are:
- Climate Finance Task Force, whose goal is to set the positioning of the Group on climate change and to identify the risks and opportunities in this field through initiatives and projects mitigating its impact. This group is formed by representatives of the areas and/or divisions like Global Corporate Banking, Risks, Financial Division, Strategy, Public Policy, Compliance, Commercial Banking Innovation and Sustainability.
- Corporate volunteer committee, led by the human resources division and is made up of representatives of other divisions from Communication, Corporate Marketing and Research, Commercial Banking and Global Corporate Banking, as well as representatives of the Group’s subsidiaries, like Santander Consumer Finance, Isban, Geoban and Santander Global Facilities. Its objective is to identify corporate volunteer opportunities and promote the Santander Committed Volunteers programme across the Group. The committee members are responsible for promoting corporate volunteer activities in their respective divisions and companies in accordance with the Group´s volunteering policy.