Run in cooperation with the Oxentia Foundation, the Santander X Environmental Challenge supports innovative businesses around the world in promoting a low-carbon economy

The focus is on sustainable financing and investments, as well as products and services that encourage ecological awareness

The challenge is aimed at entrepreneurs from eleven chosen countries

Six winners will each receive EUR 20,000, as well as specially tailored mentoring programmes to help them further develop their innovative ideas

Banco Santander has launched the “Santander X Environmental Challenge” in eleven countries in collaboration with the Oxentia Foundation. The initiative is aimed at entrepreneurs who play a role in a more sustainable economy with their innovative ideas and who contribute to the Paris Climate Agreement.

The transition to a green economy will be one of the greatest challenges for societies throughout the world after the Covid-19 pandemic. The focus will be on promoting a more resilient, more integrative and low-carbon economy as a central driver for economic recovery. Ana Botín, Executive Chair of Banco Santander, explains: “Although Covid-19 has unleashed a global health crisis and a downturn in the world economy, it has not slowed climate change. By the end of the 21st century, the temperature of our planet will have risen by 3°C, well above the 1.5°C threshold set in the Paris Agreement. If we fail to prevent this, the consequences for our planet will be dramatic." She clarifies: “This challenge is a great opportunity for the green revolution, which will require massive investment in new technology. This calls for innovation and a far-sighted entrepreneurial spirit."

The Santander X Environmental Challenge is open to existing businesses that generate annual profits of between EUR 200,000 and EUR 5 million with one product or service alone. The challenge is aimed at businesses based in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Poland, Great Britain, Uruguay or the United States. The positive impact of the innovations submitted must be transparently explained in the application along with key figures and data. In addition, the applications must relate to one of the following two competition categories in relation to climate change:

  • Be Sustainable: Solutions that promote green investments and financing
  • Be Mindful: Projects that reinforce ecological awareness

A group of international experts will evaluate the participants and their innovative ideas and select twenty finalists. These will then be invited to present their projects to an international jury of leading experts on sustainability, enterprise and global investment on April 26, 2021. Six winners, three from each of the two categories, will each be awarded EUR 20,000 to further develop their projects. They will also benefit from specially tailored mentoring from experts from the Oxentia Foundation network and a high profile in Santander’s channels and social media.

The Santander X Environmental Challenge is the second global challenge launched by Santander X, Banco Santander's global entrepreneurship network. It offers yet another example of the bank's commitment to responsible business practices as one of the key drivers of economic recovery and employment. In 2020 alone, the bank helped 32,700 entrepreneurs to implement sustainability initiatives.

Steve Cleverley, CEO of Oxentia, emphasises: “The Oxentia Foundation is very pleased to collaborate with Santander X in the Environmental Challenge. Our mission is to enable highly talented people to make a meaningful impact through sustainable social, economic and environmental development.” He underlines: “We are excited to partner with Santander X in assisting the world’s greatest entrepreneurial talent in addressing our planet’s most pressing challenge.”

Entrepreneurs who are interested in taking part in the competition can register by April 8, 2021 at For more information on the competition visit challenge-en.

About Banco Santander and its commitment to sustainability
Banco Santander continues to make strides in its commitment to inclusive and sustainable growth and in combatting climate change. The company has already achieved carbon neutrality in its own activities and this week announced its goal of zero net carbon emissions across the group by 2050; It has thus set its first decarbonisation targets in facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy. In 2030, its power generation portfolio will be brought into line with the Paris Agreement; it will stop funding power generation customers whose income is more than 10% dependent on hard coal, and end its involvement in global hard coal mining. In the meantime, it will continue to reduce its own carbon footprint and guide its customers in their transition to a green economy.

The Oxentia Foundation and its commitment to innovation and global entrepreneurship
The Oxentia Foundation was established to support Oxentia’s goal of tackling global inequality through activities in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. Active in an international arena, Oxentia designs, develops and runs awards, competitions and programmes to support innovators and start-ups in order to promote the commercialisation of science and technology-based innovation projects that support the UN’s sustainable development goals. Oxentia evolved from Oxford University's technology transfer company, Oxford University Innovation, with the aim of providing specialist innovation management services to clients in the public and private sectors around the world. Oxentia's approach draws on a strong Oxford legacy based on over 30 years of experience in supporting academic innovation and entrepreneurship in Oxford and in over 70 countries around the world.

Santander Consumer Bank AG
Santander Consumer Bank AG is one of the Top 5 retail banks in Germany based on the number of customers. It offers retail and business customers comprehensive financial services through a variety of channels. Whether online, via video consultancy or in person at one of its branches, Santander offers a wide range of services and products, from current accounts and credit cards to construction financing and securities. In Germany, the bank is the largest manufacturer-independent financier of mobility, and is also leading in consumer goods. The wholly-owned subsidiary of the Spanish Banco Santander has its registered office in Mönchengladbach. For more information visit