The fight against climate change is crucial: raising awareness and adopting new measures are the objectives of the Climate Conference (COP25) taking place in Madrid from 2 to 13 December. 

According to the World Bank, failure to tackle climate change would result in 100 million more people living under the poverty line in 2030, and a further 143 million will become climate migrants by 2050. At the same time, the sea level continues to rise and the ocean cannot take any more plastic waste.

Santander is proud to sponsor the COP25 to enrich the debate and raise environmental awareness. Around 50 heads of state and government will participate alongside leading scientific, academic and business figures over a period of two weeks, in order to lay the foundations for global climate action.

 Ana Botín, Santander Group executive chairman, at the COP25
Ana Botín, Santander Group executive chairman, at the COP25

Sustainable inside and out

How can a bank like Santander help in the fight against climate change? In two main ways: by reducing our own environmental footprint and by supporting our more than 144 million customers to help them transition towards a more sustainable economy. 

To this end, we have set of ten responsible banking commitments that we intend to meet over the next five years. One of these is the mobilisation of €120 billion in green finance by 2025. In October we issued a €1 billion seven-year green bond to fund wind and solar power projects.

Another of the goals we have set is to eliminate single-use plastics from our buildings around the world by 2021. This commitment began with the Group's Brazilian subsidiary and has already reached other geographies where we operate, such as Portugal and Spain. In fact, at Santander Group City in Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, we have managed to reduce the use of plastic packaging by 38% and the use of paper by 61% in just one year. Santander Group City recently obtained the AENOR Zero Waste certificate. This is in recognition of the fact that at least 90% of the waste generated there is reintroduced into the value chain. Santander is the first financial institution in Spain to receive this certificate. 

The façade of some of our buildings adorned with material relating to sustainability
The façade of some of our buildings adorned with material relating to sustainability

We have also put measures in place to promote the use of recycled materials and to optimise energy sources. Therefore, we have committed to ensure that 100% of the electricity consumed at Santander comes from renewable sources in all countries where it is possible to certify the source of energy. 

For Banco Santander’s Group executive chairman, Ana Botín, “Climate change is the biggest challenge the world is facing, and it requires us all to take decisions. The COP25 represents an opportunity to increase the level of ambition of the commitments made to date and to develop instruments that contribute to their implementation, bringing us closer to fulfilling the Paris Agreement. We all have to make specific commitments: states, businesses and other social players, and the population as a whole. Santander is already one of the world's largest green finance providers and we are going to continue to take more action to provide more support in the shift towards a sustainable and productive energy model."

A history of sustainable practices

We have been fighting climate change for years. Proof of our efforts in this regard are the acknowledgements that we have received from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which has named us the most sustainable bank in Spain for nine consecutive years, and in 2019, has identified us as the most sustainable bank in the world. 

Furthermore, in September we became one of the signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking. This is the most significant collaboration between the global banking industry and the UN to date. A total of 130 banks from all over the world, including Santander, representing $47 trillion in capital.

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