Businesses play a crucial role in becoming a more sustainable world. We are working to have a positive impact on people’s welfare and the sustainability of the planet. Our policies in favour of human rights, the green economy, employment and social development, have earned us inclusion in the Euronext Vigeo Eurozone 120 sustainability index.
To ensure that society prospers and that our environment is sustainable, businesses must look beyond financial gain and give their contribute to social and environmental measures that will help to make a difference. We understand and assume our role and responsibility in removing the obstacles to social prosperity, working together to create more sustainable markets and communities. This commitment has led to our inclusion in the Euronext Vigeo Eurozone 120 index, which recognises our efforts in developing sustainable environmental, social and corporate governance practices.
In order to form part of this index, produced by the rating agency, Vigeo Eiris, as many as 330 indicators are assessed. These are based on human rights, environment and climate change, employment policies, relationships with stakeholders, corporate governance and contribution to economic and social development. This recognition is the reward for our innovative track record, which shows our positive impact on helping people and businesses prosper while, at the same time, renewing our efforts to become an increasingly more responsible bank.
Fighting climate change is fighting for our planet
A responsibility that is reflected in our initiatives focusing on the use of renewable energy sources, more efficient energy use, support for the transition to a low-carbon economy, and the funding of smart infrastructure and new sustainable technologies. We have measured our environmental footprint and committed ourselves to reducing our impact, in those countries where we are present, through cutting waste and emissions. We are also working to remove all single-use plastics items from Santander’s offices around the world by 2021 and to ensure that 60% of all electricity consumed comes from renewable sources.
In order to meet our commitment to sustainability, our bank has set itself the target of mobilising green financing of EUR 120 billion between 2019 and 2025, and EUR 220 billion million between 2019 and 2030, to help combat climate change. A commitment that is one of the 10 responsible banking goals that the company has set for itself by 2025, with the aim of contributing to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Social inclusion initiatives for growth
However, sustainability goes beyond promoting environmental measures. We support development which promotes economic growth, social progress, access to education, entrepreneurship and employability. Last year, all around the world, we contributed to over 360,000 people receiving financial education and helped almost 300,000 microentrepreneurs.
Equal opportunities between men and women is also a priority for our bank. An example of this are the initiatives which we have launched over the last few years to drive genuine gender diversity with programmes such as “Mujeres con S”, which strengthens women’s leadership in the workplace, and where we motivate them to create their own projects and achieve their personal and professional goals.
We believe that it is vital to encourage education in order to achieve an equal, inclusive and sustainable society. Since 2002, we have invested more than EUR 1.7 billion in support of higher education. A figure that makes us the private company which invests most in education in the world, according to the “Fortune 500 Change the World” list. Over the past year, we have awarded 73,741 university scholarships and grants to give young people the chance to contribute to economic growth.
All of these initiatives have made us the world’s most sustainable bank, according to the global ranking of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), the leading international benchmark of the sustainability of companies’ environmental, economic, social and corporate governance policies.