Santander Bank Polska has just released its eighth report summarising the organisation's impact on social, economic and environmental issues. In response to the expectations of stakeholders, investors and the market, the publication was renamed the ESG Report. For the fourth time, it is prepared in the form of a website. A novelty this year is the ESG service published along with the report.
Warsaw, 06 Sept 2021
The acronym ESG refers to three key issues from a responsible business perspective: E - Environmental, S- Social and G- Governance. The company's performance in the environmental, social and corporate governance areas shows the organisation's maturity in terms of sustainable development. The report and the ESG website are made available in two language versions - Polish and English. They have been adapted to the needs of the blind and visually impaired, comply with the international standard on accessibility for people with special needs (WCAG 2.1 at AA level) and have been certified by the Widzialni.org Foundation. A new feature is the ESG service, where relevant indicators are presented broken down into environmental, social and governance areas. The performance of Santander Bank Polska measured by the indicators will be updated every 6 months.
”2020 was for all of us predominated by the pandemic. For our company, it was a testing time to see if we would be able to follow the principles of sustainable development and the responsible banking strategy we have been implementing during the crisis. Will we not forget about challenges other than the current ones, which we face as one of the largest banks in Poland? And we have passed the test, as evidenced by the tenfold increase in financing for renewable energy sources, the launch of green products such as sustainable bonds or the achievement of neutrality in terms of our own emissions. Responsible banking is our backbone, an element of our strategy which we pursue notwithstanding, or even especially, in difficult times. We have ambitious targets, such as the declaration of achieving zero net CO2 emissions by 2050. This includes both internal emissions, caused for example by electricity consumption, business travel or car fleet operations, but also emissions that result from our financing - lending, advisory or investment services provided to customers from all segments. We will achieve the latter goal by, on the one hand, exiting the so-called 'dirty sectors', but also by increasing our share in financing renewable energy sources (RES),” explains Michał Gajewski, CEO of Santander Bank Polska.
The bank will report on the achievement of its carbon neutrality targets on the ESG website and in subsequent ESG reports.
As every year, the process of creating the report was based on a dialogue with stakeholders, including employees, customers and NGOs. All the participants' opinions were analysed, and the bank referred to some of them in the report, publishing, among others, an extensive chapter dedicated to the organisation's impact on the climate. Other important topics covered included the safety of services, customer data security, customer satisfaction and financial performance and stability.
The report presents information that is most relevant for investors, regulators and the European Union. These are primarily ESG indicators on which non-financial ratings and assessments of companies, countries and other organisations are based.
The publication was prepared in accordance with the international guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative, at Core level. Prior to its release, key indicators were verified by an independent auditor. The report also complies with the European Commission's guidelines on disclosing non-financial information related to climate impact, as well as with the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking and presents how the bank's activities contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A new feature is the alignment of the document with the ESG reporting guidelines developed by the Warsaw Stock Exchange and the EBRD. The Report also refers to international guidelines and objectives relevant to Santander Bank Polska and the financial sector such as TCFD or 17SDG.
The report can also be downloaded and read in PDF format at esg.santander.pl
Photo competition and eco mural painting
The main photo used in this year's ESG Report is a winning photo in a special competition announced on Santander Bank Polska's Facebook page "Through a Green Lens". In the first stage, the photos were evaluated by a jury chaired by Karolina Jonderko, winner of World Press Photo 2021. Then the four final photos, which according to the jury creatively reflect on the subject of the protection of the climate and natural environment in Poland, were voted on by Internet users on the bank's FB page. The winner was Tomasz Moczkodan, whose artwork became the main photograph of the ESG Report and also provided the inspiration for creating an eco mural painting in Warsaw. The eco mural was created on 1 August 2021 in Warsaw on Francuska Street, near the Waszyngtona Roundabout. It was painted with photocatalytic paint, which absorbs pollutants from the air. The mural can be seen until the end of September this year.