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Policies

Santander Group ensures ethical, social and environmental criteria are properly followed when conducting business.

It therefore avails of several policies, codes and internal rules inspired by the best practices, international conventions and protocols, codes of conduct and guides that are applicable in every área.

The content of these policies is a process of continuous improvement. Santander carries out an annual review of its corporate sustainability policies, which apply to the whole Group. These policies are approved by the Group’s board of directors, indicating on the policy the date of the last update.

General sustainability policy

Defines the Bank’s general sustainability principles, and its voluntary commitments with its main stakeholders focused on the creation of lasting value. This policy incorporates the CNMV's Code of Corporate Governance main recommendations in this area.

The sustainability policy also refers to managing social and environmental risks when the Bank provides finance to sensitive sectors and for sensitive business activities, further developed in the sectorial policies.

General sustainability policy (PDF 101 Kb)

Human rights policy

This policy sets out Santander's position on protecting human rights in its relations with stakeholders. The policy takes into account the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Human rights policy (PDF 81 Kb)

Climate change and environmental management policy

It explains the framework and initiatives to support protecting the environment and reducing the effects of climate change as well as the impacts of its activities, products and services, following best in international practices.

Climate change and environmental management policy (PDF 75 Kb)

Sector policies

These policies lay down the criteria governing the Bank’s financial activity with the defence, energy, mining & metals and soft commodities (products such as palm oil, soy and timber) sectors. They prohibit financing certain activities and establish restrictions for others (e.g., transactions needing special attention in light of their potential social and environmental impact, and subject to certain requirements being met in order to be approved).

These policies apply to all transactions concerning lending, equity and wholesale banking advisory services; and to all the Bank’s prohibited activities and customers for lending, equity, advisory services, insurance and asset management.

The defence policy provides that Banco Santander will not maintain, under any circumstance, any type of business relationship with organisations (and their subsidiaries) that manufacture, commercialise or distribute: antipersonnel mines, cluster munitions, chemical or biological weapons, nuclear weapons and ammunition containing depleted uranium, irrespective of their business activity.

Defence sector policy (PDF 67 Kb)

The energy policy sets out Santander’s criteria for financing energy customers and projects, particularly in relation to the following activities: oil and gas extraction and production, coal-fired power plants, nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, other renewable energy facilities, bioenergy (especially bioelectricity, bioheat and biofuel markets) and construction of electric energy transmission and distribution lines.

This policy also describes prohibited or restrictive activities in regards to the energy sector. An example of activity expressly prohibited is financing new coal-fired power plant projects worldwide.

Energy sector policy (PDF 108 Kb)

The mining & metals policy sets out Santander´s criteria for financing customers and projects of mining and metals, particularly those relating to prospection, research, development and exploitation mining, restoration and recovery of the exploited natural space, as well as obtaining the metal contained in the extracted mineral ore and its subsequent processing, processing of by-products and production and marketing of minerals excluding the production of finished products.

Among the prohibited activities described by the policy is the financing of any new thermal coal mine projects worldwide.

Mining and Metals sector policy (PDF 124 Kb)

The soft commodities policy provides Santander’s lending criteria for the agricultural raw materials sector: extraction and processing of timber products, manufacture of wood-based cellulose and paper, soy plantations, oil palm plantations, rubber plantations, processing of soy, palm oil or rubber, agriculture and cattle ranching and biomass or biofuel production. These standards involve the enforcement of recognised standards that aim to sustainably manage these resources and help prevent deforestation.

Extraction and sale of native tropical wood species not certified to Forest Stewardship Council is one of the prohibited activities in relation to the soft commodities sector that this policy provides.

Soft commodities sector policy (PDF 95 Kb)

Corporate volunteering policy

This defines the priority areas in which the Group's volunteers are active, focusing especially on education and encouraging and facilitating Bank employees participation in volunteering programmes. It also bolsters the Group's commitment to society and increases the staff's pride in belonging, motivation and commitment to the Group.

Corporate volunteering policy (PDF 69 Kb) 

General code of conduct

This code brings together the ethical principles and rules of conduct governing the actions of all of the Bank’s staff and is the central element of the Group’s compliance programme. It was last updated in November 2017.

The bank has a confidential complaints channel, through which employees can inform of possible breaches of the general code of conduct they have become aware of in the course of their work.

General code of conduct (PDF 376 Kb)

Principles of responsible behaviour for suppliers

This document establishes the minimum principles of ethical, social and environmental conduct that Banco Santander expects from all its suppliers; these are aligned with the ten principles of the Global Compact.

Principles of responsible behaviour for suppliers (PDF 94 Kb)

Principles of action in tax matters

The tax strategy and the corporate tax policy set out the principles governing Banco Santander's fiscal action requiring adopting all good practices leading to the appropriate prevention and reduction of both tax risk and reputational risk, in order to generate greater legal and economic security for the institution and its shareholders.
 
Banco Santander has adhered since 2010 to the Code of Good Tax Practices in Spain and to the Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks in the United Kingdom, actively participating in the cooperative compliance programs being developed by different Tax Administrations.
 
The Group provides information on its total tax contribution in the section on investing in the community in its Sustainability Report as well as information on taxes paid in each jurisdiction in accordance with Article 89 of Directive 2013/36 / EU, in Annex VI of the audit report and consolidated annual accounts.
 

Tax strategy Banco Santander (PDF 41 Kb)

Tax policy extract (PDF 120 Kb)

Santander also participates actively and is part of the main initiatives and working groups, at local and international level, which promote sustainable development.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

The Group Executive Chairman, Ana Botín, is a member of the executive committee and the Bank participates in the WBCSD Future of Work initiative, by looking into how to adapt its own business and human resource strategy to evolve with the digital age.

More information: WBCSD

Banking Environment Initiative (BEI)

A group of international banks convened by the Chief Executives of its members to identify ways to collectively direct capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development.
Santander participates in two climate related work streams, the Soft Commodities Compact and the new initiative Bank 2030 which aims to build a roadmap for the banking industry to 2030 seeking to increase the financing to low carbon activities.

More information: BEI
 

UNEP Finance initiative

Global partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and the financial sector which aims to promote sustainable finance.

Together with 27 other banks, Santander promotes the principles for responsible banking of the United Nations. The Principles provide the banking industry with a single framework that embeds sustainability across all business areas. The Principles align banks with society’s goals as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. Transparency, accountability, governance, target setting and working with all stakeholders towards positive impacts are at the core of the Principles and will help banks increase their contribution to address global challenges.

Santander also participates along with other 15 banks in 2018 in the UNEP FI pilot project on implementing the TCFD recommendations for banks.

More information: UNEP Finance Initiative
 

United Nations Global Compact

Santander is committed to the development of its business activity with the ten principles of the Global Compact, demanding its suppliers to assume and also comply with them.

More information: United Nations Global Compact

CEO Partnership for Financial Inclusion

Santander, along with other 9 companies is part of this private sector alliance promoted by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Special Representative of the United Nations to promote Inclusive Financing for development.

More information: CEO Partnership for Financial Inclusion

Equator Principles

These principles are the reference for the financial sector to asses and manage environmental and social risk of projects.

Santander analyses the environmental and social risks of all financing operations of projects that are under the scope of the principles of Ecuador and participates actively in the evolution of the criteria.

More information: Equator Principles
 

Principles of Responsible Investment

A United Nations initiative that aims to disseminate the implications of sustainability among investors to contribute to sustainable development and help its signatories to incorporate them.

Santander manages the pension funds of employees in Spain and Brazil applying criteria of responsible investment.

More information: Principles of Responsible Investment

Others include

Wolfsberg Group; Round table on responsible soy; Sustainable livestock working group; CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project); Climate Leadership Council.

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