Santander has been named the Most Responsible Bank in Portugal, by placing first in the sector in the Merco ESG 2021 ranking.

The ranking was put together from the opinions of executives and several experts in finance, the economy and journalism. It also relied on Merco Consumption, Merco Digital and benchmarking. An exhaustive assessment methodology was applied to identify the Most Responsible businesses with regard to ESG, according to the following criteria: the environment; internally, customers and society; and ethics and governance.

Inês Oom de Sousa, chair of the Santander Portugal Foundation and head of ESG at Santander in Europe, stated that "this recognition gives us an extra push forward on our long and important path ahead. It is our responsibility to be a role model for ESG, not only in terms of the environment but also as regards the social and governance aspects. However, this is also an excellent opportunity for helping our customers with climate transition, creating impact and helping to create a more inclusive and sustainable society."

The bank has been incorporating ESG criteria with a view to becoming a more responsible company. In terms of the Environment (E), Santander keeps working to achieve the Paris Agreement goals and support its customers in their transition to a low-carbon economy; as for the Social (S) aspect, Santander strives to maximise its impact and work towards an increasingly fairer and more inclusive society; and with regard to Governance (G), Santander aims to do things The Right Way through clear, robust processes.

The bank has also set significant decarbonisation targets, namely by aligning its lending portfolio to achieve net zero by 2050, as per Santander Group's objectives; another of its aims is to reach €220 billion in green finance, with the clear goal of supporting its customers in their transition towards a low-carbon economy and reducing its own environmental footprint as much as possible.

The path towards a more inclusive, sustainable society is also paved with financial empowerment, promotion of education, entrepreneurship and employment. Since 2019, Santander Group has offered financial empowerment to over 7.4 million people across the world, and wants to hit and exceed the 10-million mark by 2025. Through its community outreach programmes, with the collaboration of charities and other social institutions, over 4 million people received assistance in the last four years, and we aim to reach 10 million in 2025.

Recently, the bank created the Santander Portugal Foundation to strengthen its impact on society. With an initial budget of €22.5 million, the Foundation will run programmes with significant social, economic and environmental impact in key areas such as education, employability, ecology and social issues.