When we speak about climate change, we often make the mistake of thinking that it is a problem that doesn't really affect us in our everyday lives. We perceive the one or two degree increase in the global temperature, the melting of the ice caps and the rise of several centimetres in the sea level as remote issues that do not have an impact on our health, our economy and our leisure. In this article we tell you about some evidence that global warming of the planet is here and worsening our life quality. Conscious that climate change is a genuine concern, right here and right now, Santander has a plan to be a net zero emission bank by 2050. 

There are impacts resulting from climate change that we are already suffering, even though we may be unaware of this or prefer to ignore them. The increase in greenhouse gases is making some outdoor work almost unbearable due to heatwaves, which are also causing increasingly fearsome droughts and fires, including in the first world. They are realities that we often see on the television while enjoying a comfortable environment created by our air conditioning, whose indiscriminate and widespread use remains one of the factors that causes the very problem that attempts are being made to highlight.

What is climate change?

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We use these two words to describe the Earth’s changing weather patterns as a result of human activity and the natural climate cycle. Climate change is now one of the most important challenges the world is facing. If nothing is done to stop it, it will threaten our future.

Without realising, we are all suffering in our everyday lives, and as a direct or indirect result of climate change, impacts that make life more difficult and even hamper our ability to carry out activities with the same freedom we enjoyed several years ago. An article from Global Citizen, a global citizen movement established in 2012 to end extreme poverty by 2030 and act in defence of the planet, provides us with several examples:

  • We are sleeping worse. Roughly 62% of people worldwide feel that they don’t sleep well. These are figures from 2019, before the pandemic, so we cannot attribute this decline to the stress caused by COVID-19. The cause? Chiefly the rise in temperatures: in the hottest months there are now many more nights when it is impossible to get to sleep. This is a direct cause, but there also indirect ones, such as the anxiety among those affected by fires, hurricanes and other natural disasters. If the number of these devastating phenomena is increasing, this is also accompanied by growth in the number of people suffering this kind of stress and struggling to sleep.

  • More intense allergies and at times of the year when they didn't occur previously. The increase in the number of hot days in the year and the earlier arrival of the warm seasons, together with air pollution and suspended particulate pollutants, are a cocktail that complicate the pathologies of existing allergy sufferers, and creates allergies in people that have never suffered from them before.

  • The ever-increasing cost of housing. Climate change is also hitting us in the pocket, whether we are renting or buying a home. Construction is now also factoring in the increase in adverse climate impacts and disasters, while the costs associated with construction and even of home insurance are rising.

  • Increasingly scarce and expensive food. Over the past century, supermarkets in many parts of the world have become places of superabundance, where food from all over the world, regardless of the growing season, can be purchased. But this era of convenience is coming to an end as climate change disrupts global food production. Soon, it might be hard to find or afford staple crops like rice and wheat products, fruits such as peaches and cherries, and seafood like sardines and scallops.

  • We are losing natural spaces. High temperatures, lack of precipitation and desertification are depriving areas of rain. This means river levels in these areas are falling, causing lakes, ponds and wells to dry up, and even disappear in some places. The impact on the environment is obvious, and also for humans, who have fewer places to visit in summertime to cool down, deal with the heat and enjoy nature.

  • More traffic jams. Climate change affects us when we travel by car and we are having to endure an ever-increasing number of traffic jams. Why is this? Well, as weather patterns become more erratic, materials and transportation infrastructure are facing increasing stress. And what happens when a road, bridge or tunnel has problems? The traffic conditions worsen until it is repaired.

Santander in the fight against climate change

The fight against climate change, therefore, is everyone's responsibility. And to make progress it is necessary to start by taking small steps, both at home and in the workplace. 

Santander, as part of its commitment to be net zero in carbon emissions by 2050, has adopted agreements in areas that affect the day-to-day activities of any company, such as ensuring that 100% of the electricity it uses is from renewable sources in all the countries in which it operates by 2025 and eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics in its branches and buildings.

100 %

of the electricity we consume is from green sources by 2025

100 %

of the electricity we consume is from green sources by 2025

These are decisions that are achievable for any person or company. For companies, as they grow in size, as is the case for Santander, so do their ambitions for the fight against climate change and the actions that are taken. Since 2020, the bank has achieved carbon neutrality across its own business and has offset emissions through five projects that have been certified as meeting recognised international standards, such as the Gold Standard, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

At the same time, Santander has pledged to support all its customers in reducing their carbon emissions, driving society's transition to a green society through a significant funding effort and by offering a range of green products.

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