The health and well-being of our employees is a priority as part of our strategy to build a more responsible bank. In this regard, food plays a key role. That is why our chairman, Ana Botín, has verified at first-hand the progress represented by the pioneering catering facilities of our corporate headquarters.
A balanced diet is much more than a way of consuming food, it is a commitment to the health of both people and the planet. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) warn of the irreversible damage caused by obesity in the population. The organisation states that this problem has almost tripled worldwide since 1975, which, in 2016 for example, translates into more than 1,900 million overweight adults (650 million of them with obesity). Another major problem, speaking of food, is the indiscriminate waste, with tons of foodstuffs being thrown away worldwide.
To overcome these two major challenges, Santander continues to work on strategic projects such as the development of a Fruit and Vegetables Processing Centre in Santander Group City, located in Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, Spain.
This facility, which opened at the end of 2021, represents a milestone in the creation of special processing plants in organisations’ catering facilities. Its purpose is to supply the restaurants of Santander Group City, Alhambra and Montepríncipe, in order to turn them into more sustainable and responsible spaces. To this end, the infrastructure has been adapted and equipped with state-of-the-art technologies for preparing the raw materials, cooking them and serving them with the highest possible quality. This is something that our chairman Ana Botín discovered on her visit.
The fruit and vegetables consumed at our corporate headquarters are delivered straight after harvesting, thus significantly reducing the logistics (packaging, etc.), with benefits such as the reduction of the environmental impact, the commitment to the local economy and the Spanish primary sector, and the increased consumption of seasonal products. This step forward has benefits for the planet and the health of the average of more than 4,500 employees who use the corporate restaurants, where between 800 kg and 1,000 kg of fruit and vegetables are consumed.
Fruit and Vegetables Processing Centre in Santander Group City, located in Boadilla del Monte
The Fruit and Vegetables Processing Centre, a further step in our strategic plans
This initiative is the result of combining two other projects. On the one hand, BeHealthy, the health and well-being programme that, since 2016, has aimed to promote healthy habits among our employees, through four pillars: Know yourself, Move yourself, Feed yourself and Balance yourself. In addition, we have taken measures to ensure a healthier diet, such as the elimination of flavour enhancers and refined salt, the reduction of sugar, and the increase in the use of vegetables, pulses and cereals in the dishes.
On the other hand, it forms part of our commitment to reducing the environmental footprint of our activity, in this case, that of the corporate centre. In this work space we are #PlasticFree, as we do not provide single-use plastics, but rather opt for biodegradable materials, filtered water and soft drink fountains, etc. Furthermore, the food left over each day is transformed into the #CenasParaTodos (dinners for all) initiative, which delivers 100 meals a day to vulnerable people.
All this effort over the years has been recognised: we were the first financial institution to receive the AENOR “Zero Waste” Certificate This was in addition to achieving other certifications such as Ecocook (Level 3), which rewards the best practices we have implemented to date.