Human beings have always yearned for a fairer society. The need to live in an environment with the same opportunities for everyone, regardless of his or her place of birth, training or social condition, has been a top priority for governments and institutions. Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

However, we still live in an increasingly globalized world and inclusion is one of the most important challenges of our society. There are many social groups without opportunities or resources needed to equally take part in economic, social and cultural life. Some data show this situation, according to the UN:

  • Around 738 people live below the international poverty line of 1.9 dollars per day.
  • More than 265 million children don’t attend school even though 22% of them are of school age.
  • Women go on earning 24% less than men in the labor market.

Access to financial services and products

It is impossible to prosper as a society if we don’t include in this development the groups that are in vulnerable situations. In fact, inclusive development generates decent work and offers opportunities for every sector of the population, guaranteeing the reduction of poverty and inequality.

Even though inclusion covers social, labor and financial fields, these variables are interconnected as the momentum of financial growth that will bring continuous social and labor growth. Financial empowerment is the first step to guaranteeing social inclusion, as it is necessary to reduce poverty and increase prosperity. In fact, the access to financial products and services has an immense impact on improving the living conditions of the poorest communities as it aids building a local economy, empowers people and boosts private and professional prosperity.

That’s why inclusion, as a key to reducing social inequalities, is one of the pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals launched by the UN, after achieving the Millennium Development Goals. These are 17 measures formulated to eradicate poverty, promote prosperity and the well-being of everyone, protect the environment and face climate change at a worldwide level.

Helping Contribute

Being aware of their capability of influencing and improving society, companies work for some time to boost an increasing number of programs and initiatives in which they invest an important human and economic effort in the interest of people at risk of social exclusion.

This is the case of Banco Santander which, on the basis of its compromise with the prosperity of society, boosts sustainable and inclusive growth to satisfy current needs without endangering the resources and possibilities of future generations. To do so, it works to reach an equilibrium between economic growth, social welfare and environmental protection “so that the efforts of some, benefit everyone”. A philosophy backed by its Executive Chairman, Ana Botín, who states that “the companies that want to positively contribute to society must align their goals with those of the society at a long-term”.

In fact, as a way of compromise to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, Banco Santander has defined 10 responsible banking goals to be achieved by 2025, including the financial inclusion of 10 million people between 2019 and 2025 and helping 4 million people through different social action programs in the communities where it operates from 2019 to 2021.

As a prelude to these commitments, Banco Santander long ago supported inclusion to put an end to inequality through programs and initiatives to improve the access to education, social entrepreneurship, employability and the well-being of the communities.

We live in an ever-evolving world. A world with daily challenges, which can be positively turned into opportunities for everyone to achieve the goal of reaching an equal society

Employees take part in some of these initiatives, such as Euros de tu Nómina, where the employees in Spain can donate a part of their wages to be invested in social projects and to aid groups at risk of social exclusion. For every euro that the employee donates, the entity donates one additional euro. Fideicomiso por los Niños, an initiative created by employees in Mexico, is where these employees make a voluntary donation of their wages to support children at risk of social exclusion in areas such as education, health or nutrition.

Educating in finance: a starter engine for financial inclusion

Concerning education, Santander is one of the companies that best understands training as an engine of prosperity in a society. That’s why, beyond its support of higher education, the entity has many programs to promote early childhood education, most of them focused on Latino America, guaranteeing equal opportunities for all children and supporting sustainable development. In 2018, more than 600,000 minors benefited from this aid.

Financial education is another key of the entity in this field, as training in finance is the first step for inclusion in this field. To do so, Banco Santander boosts the development of local programs, which have benefited more than 350,000 people, in order to teach children the importance of saving. Also, the company gives lessons focused on financial training and promoting businesses. For example, Programa Esola Brasil is an initiative launched to aid parents and teachers to increase their knowledge of financial education.

Along the same lines, the entity supports financial inclusion through initiatives such as Prospera Santander Microcrédito (Brasil), a program to boost the growing of small businesses that let disadvantaged groups with a lower standard of living escape poverty. Tuiio (Mexico) offers financial products and services designed for people without access to a formal financial system. Or Superdigital, a mobile platform to make basic transactions without having a bank account, which is already used by more than 500,000 people in Brasil, Mexico and Chile.

We live in an ever-evolving world. A world with daily challenges, which can be positively turned into opportunities for everyone to achieve the goal of reaching an equal society.

Banco Santander, along with more than 100 banks, signs the Responsible Banking Principles to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, demonstrating its commitment to a sustainable and inclusive future.