Policies

Santander Group ensures ethical factors are properly considered when conducting business.

We therefore adhere to 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 area.

Our compliance with these policies is a process of continuous improvement. Santander undertakes 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 the date of the last update.

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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) 

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)

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)