Banco Santander's LGBT+ network, Embrace, was started in 2015 by a small group of employees in the United Kingdom. Now its members add up to over 5,000 LGBT+ people and allies.
A lot has changed since then. Now, Santander has LGBT+ networks in the United States, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Portugal, and at the Corporate Centre. Furthermore, other subsidiaries are running special initiatives to:
This year, on 29 June, our employees in Europe will hold the first One Europe Embrace meeting. Its primary objective is to promote cooperation and exchange best practices with our employees in a new community in Europe, One Europe Embrace. The event is as promising as other successful gatherings the Group has organized – including “All Together Pride”, a virtual event in 2020 that brought together the heads of diversity and inclusion at Telefónica, BBVA, Inditex and Santander.
Embrace at Santander US is running many initiatives centred on first-hand accounts. In the first half of the year, it held several virtual meetings; the last one took place on 16 June. For this event, it united with the not-for-profit Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) for an event on family equality.
Articles on Spotlight showed Embrace members’ inspirational stories about acceptance and support. The Santander US network also encouraged employees to show their pride with pictures of them at home, in the street or at a branch.
Also, in honour of Pride Month in the United States, we put the Pride ATM on the background screen of Santander cash machines.
Despite being one of the newest Embrace networks, it couldn’t be more well-received by Santander España employees. This year, to celebrate LGBT+ Pride, we've created initiatives on participation and on external and internal awareness. We also adapted our branches with messages to support and highlight the LGBT+ community.
In 2021, Great Place to Work named us Brazil’s best company for LGBT+ employees. This accolade highlights our LGBT+ network, which we created alongside Allyship Journey, an educational programme to teach inclusivity towards LGBT+ colleagues and customers. Since its inception in September 2019, around 1,700 employees have joined.
This year, Santander Brasil has also sent its 48,000 employees educational material and a newsletter to raise awareness of LGBT+ diversity.
At Santander México, we’re sponsoring the Virtual LGBT+ Parade for the first time, organized by Connection México, a group of companies committed to creating inclusive working environments. We’re also participating in the Global Compact Forum on good business practice in diversity and equality.
We continue to run courses on gender and sexual diversity like Proud to Lead, which aims to empower leaders who manage inclusive initiatives.
We’ve recently set up the Embrace network in Portugal to highlight diversity and inclusion in the bank’s teams, as well as to raise awareness of LGBT+ rights.
Our digital bank is running initiatives at its offices with photocalls and other fun decorations. In June, it also kicked off a series of games with prizes from our diversity and inclusion space, Open&Out.
In late 2020, Embrace signed an agreement with Fundación 26 de Diciembre to take part in Project Amber, a programme to help transgender people — 80% of whom are unemployed — enter the jobs market.
The employees’ LGBT+ network following this agreement came about in September 2018. We support the Embrace initiative at our HQ to make our organization even more diverse and inclusive. It has over 100 members from various areas, ages, culture and beliefs.
Also in 2018, we became the first bank to join the Red Empresarial por la Diversidad e Inclusión LGBT+ (Business Network for LGBT+ Diversity and Inclusion). We second the words of our executive chairman, Ana Botín on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots (the event that triggered Pride Day) in 2019: “our diversity is what makes us stronger”.