Intesa Sanpaolo

Intesa Sanpaolo

SECTIONS :  Sustainability Targets    Evaluation  •  Key Points  •  Overview

Company Activity

The Intesa Sanpaolo Group is one of the top banking groups in Europe, with a market capitalisation of 47.0 billion euro. The company was founded in 1931 and is headquartered in Turino, Italy.

Intesa Sanpaolo is the leader in Italy in all business areas (retail, corporate, and wealth management). The Group offers its services to 13.5 million customers through a network of approximately 4,700 branches well distributed throughout the country with market shares no lower than 12% in most Italian regions.

Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A engages in the provision of financial products and banking services. It operates through the following segments: Banca dei Territori, Corporate and Investment Banking, International Subsidiary Banks, Private Banking, Asset Management, Insurance, and Corporate Centre.

Company Sustainability Activity

Intesa Sanpaolo starts it is aware of having a significant impact on the social and environmental context in which it carries out its business thus chooses to act not only on the basis of profit but also with the aim of creating long-term value for the Bank, its employees, customers, community and the environment.

Such awareness generates adherence to important international initiatives, such as the United Nations Global Compact and the Equator Principles.

Intesa Sanpaolo Group is one of the few European financial groups to have joined all the main United Nations initiatives concerning the financial sector in the field of sustainability, which are part of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (UN Sustainable Development Goals).

COVID-19 relief:

  • €100m to strengthen the National Health System through the Civil Protection Department throughout Italy, and in particular in the most affected areas of Bergamo and Brescia. 16 hospitals and 3 COVID-19 Emergency Centres benefitted from the donation with the creation of 36 new hospital wards and 500 hospital beds mainly in Intensive and Sub-Intensive Care Units.
  • €10m to support families in financial and social difficulty due to the COVID-19 crisis, of which €5m was donated to the Ricominciamo Insieme project of the Diocese of Bergamo and €5m donated to the Diocese of Brescia.
  • €6m in donations from the CEO (€1m) and top management’s 2019 variable compensation, to strengthen healthcare initiatives, with additional voluntary donations from ISP People and Board of Directors.
  • €3.5m donated through ForFunding – the ISP crowdfunding platform – to support Civil Protection Department initiatives related to the COVID-19 emergency.
  • €1m allocated from the ISP Charity Fund to boost COVID-19 scientific research
  • €350k donated to Associazione Nazionale Alpini to accelerate the construction of a field hospital in Bergamo.

Sustainability indices, rankings and awards:

  • Included in the DJSI World and DJSI Europe, based on an annual assessment carried out by SAM with a best-in-class criterion among companies with the largest market capitalisation.
  • In February 2021, Intesa Sanpaolo received the S&P Global Sustainability Award – Bronze Class.
  • Intesa Sanpaolo is included in 3 indices of the FTSE4Good Index Series, based on the ESG rating, assigned by FTSE Russell which exclusively uses the public information of over 7,200 companies in 47 different financial markets.
  • Intesa Sanpaolo, thanks to the AAA rating assigned solely to 2% of companies in the banking sector under review, is included in several families of indices including MSCI ESG Leaders Indexes and MSCI Low Carbon Indexes.
  • In 2020, Intesa Sanpaolo was included in the Leadership Band, obtaining an A- rating
  • Intesa Sanpaolo is included in the Euronext Vigeo Europe 120 and the Euronext Vigeo Eurozone 120.
  • Included in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.
  • Included in the Refinitiv 2020 Top 100 Diversity & Inclusion Index. 
  • In January 2020, Intesa Sanpaolo was included in the SDG2000, a list that identifies the 2,000 companies belonging to 7 key sectors which, worldwide, have the potential to influence the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030.
  • Intesa Sanpaolo is the first European bank in terms of relations with financial analysts and institutional investors and in terms of ESG aspects.

Domestic and International Initiatives, Partnerships and Strategies for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Global Compact – A UN initiative that promotes corporate social responsibility through the adoption of ten fundamental principles relating to human rights, labour rights, the environment and combating corruption.
  • Women’s Empowerment Principles – WEPs Principles promoted by the UN that define guidelines for companies aimed at promoting gender equality and women’s professional development in the workplace.
  • UNEP Finance Initiative – The UN Environmental Programme that promotes dialogue among financial institutions on economic performance, environmental protection and sustainable development.
  • UNEP Finance Initiative – Principles for Sustainable Insurance – programme for the insurance industry, with the aim of addressing the risks and opportunities related to environmental, social and governance issues. 
  • Equator Principles – Guidelines for social and environmental risk assessment and management in projects, based on criteria recommended by the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank organisation.
  • CDP – Independent non-profit organisation which provides companies and countries with a global system of information on climate change. 
  • Forum for Sustainable Finance – Multi-stakeholder association with the objective of spreading the culture and supporting the development of sustainable finance. It is the Italian representative of the EuroSIF (European Sustainable Investment Forum).

Retention, enhancement, diversity and inclusion of employees:

  • Compared with the total population, the breakdown by category and gender remains constant.
  • Representing 28.6% of all female employees in the Group, the number of female managers (executives and middle managers) as a proportion of all managers, rose slightly compared with last year to 40%.
  • At Group level, the female/male salary ratio in 2020 remained in line with that of 2019.

Education and spread of financial culture

  • For adult audiences the MDR Web TV was launched, a programme of live and on-demand digital events that reached a total of about 41,001 people between April and December.
  • MDR PLAY LAB: the video tutorial series for parents and teachers to perform distance-learning educational workshops on savings and sustainability.
  • New educational format called “Legonomia” to learn the basics of financial education through LEGO.
  • Online participation at the TIME4CHILD festival.
  • AES Quiz: edu-quiz series on the history of money, which involved about 300 middle school pupils competing through the Kahoot application.
  • Digital live show “Scelte Insostenibili” (Unsustainable choices).
  • Digital Festival “Il mio posto nel mondo” (My place in the world) with Lavazza and the Next Level Association.

 Sustainable investments

  • In 2020, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group continued to strengthen its leadership in sustainable investments, with an overall market share of 22.8%.
  • With 18 new products, the Group reached a total of 57 open-ended sustainable and responsible funds (72 if we also consider the Pramerica products, 10 of which were launched in 2020) with assets of 18.4 billion euro (24.6 billion with UBI Banca) and net inflows of 8.3 billion euro (over 9 billion with UBI Banca).
  • Fideuram Asset Management SGR has subscribed to the Italian Stewardship Principles for the exercise of management and voting rights in listed companies” promoted by Assogestioni.

Management of potential risks and impacts related to climate change:

  • Climate change risks are divided into “physical risks”, associated with the physical impact of climate events, and “transition risks” arising from the process of adjustment to an economy based on low carbon emissions, associated with the changes in public policies, technology and consumer choices.
  • In October 2018, Intesa Sanpaolo decided to support the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and make a voluntary commitment to publishing a transparent report on the risks and opportunities linked to climate change.
  • To support the Steering Committee in its task of identifying and prioritising ESG initiatives on the basis of strategic relevance, in 2020, an ESG Control Room, overseen by the Chief Financial Officer and the Head of the Strategic Support Head Office Department, was set up with the aim of helping the Committee in its strategic proposal of ESG issues and coordinating the implementation of the initiatives.
  • Intesa Sanpaolo actively participates in a series of international initiatives, including the Global Compact, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), the Equator Principles and, since 2019, the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB).


  • The Bank is able to act as a driver of inclusive and sustainable growth for families, businesses and society thanks to its ability to maintain the resilience of its profitability over time, its growing levels of efficiency, and its capital strength, which is among the highest in the European banking sector.
  • The Group’s anti-corruption management system is certified according to UNI ISO 37001 international standards.
  • The ISP Group confirmed itself as a leader in sustainable investments in Italy with an overall market share of 22.8% (30.4% including UBI Banca) versus 27.3% in 2019.
  • The most high-profile operations included the 120 million euro donated to strengthen the national health system.
  • There was an increase in the number of green and circular loans granted thanks in particular to the launch of Green – Mutuo Domus.


Social Outreach:

  • Scale-up the “Cibo e Riparo per le persone in difficoltà” (Food and Shelter for disadvantaged people) initiative by allocating funds for 10,000 meals a day, 6,000 dormitory beds a month and 3,000 medicines and clothes a month within 2021.
  • Intesa Sanpaolo Fund for Impact which will enable the disbursement of loans totalling 1.25 billion euro over the 2018-2021 period to sections of society who find it hard to access credit despite their potential.
  • 1 billion euro of investments in training and learning for employees, with the provision of around 46 million hours of training in the 2018-2021 period.
  • Talent enhancement International Talent Program will involve 500 resources by 2021.

Renewable Energy/Climate Action:

  • An increase in the use of renewable energy sources, from 76% at the end of 2012 to 81% by the end of 2022.
  • The Climate Change Action Plan, Intesa Sanpaolo’s Multi-Year Environmental Sustainability Plan, envisages a reduction of 37% in CO2 emissions in the 2012-2022 period


Social Outreach

  • New, high social impact loans increased tenfold to € 37.2 billion
  • The leading lender to the social economy: more than € 470 million to the non-profit sector

Sustainable Investment/Technology

  • Market leader in sustainable investments: SRI market share in Italy of ~23% (30.4% with UBI) in terms of assets under management.
  • Leader in terms of its digital offering: ranked among the leaders in Europe in terms of mobile app functionality, 10.3 million multichannel customers, 60% of assets digitised, sales of over 2 million products using digital channels.
  • Acceleration of the environmental transition: over € 2.5 billion in financing for the Green and Circular Economy; significant reduction of 13.1% in the Group’s CO2 emissions compared to 2019 – down approximately 60% since 2008.
  • Doubled the monetary contribution for health, social and culture to the community to € 184 million compared to € 86 million in 2019.
  • In January 2020, Intesa Sanpaolo undertook to make available a programme for the disbursement of € 50 billion euro in Italy to the European Green Deal over the next few years.


UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

SDG 1: No Poverty 

  • Approximately € 470 million euro was granted to support social enterprises and the third sector.
  • Approximately € 16 million euro to support over 750 projects carried out by non-profit organisations.
  • Approximately € 85 million euro was granted for microcredit or anti-usury projects, in Italy and abroad.
  • Intesa Sanpaolo Programme for disadvantaged people, which has been allowed between 2018-2020, has provided 16.1 million meals, more than 994,000 beds, around 228,000 medicines and 178,000 items of clothing to be offered. 

SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing 

  • 100 million euro donated to strengthen the National Health Service via the Civil Protection Department.
  • 350,000 euro to the National Association of Alpine Regiments to accelerate the construction of a field hospital in Bergamo.
  • As part of the Generation project, 102,409 doctors and nursing staff participated in the training programmes on management of emergencies connected with COVID-19.
  • 1 million euro allocated by the Charity Fund to support scientific research on COVID-19.
  • Free extension of ISP health insurance to cover COVID-19.
  • Voluntary flu and pneumococcal vaccine campaign for Group employees (17,493 flu vaccines and 7,575 pneumococcal vaccines administered).
  • Launch of specific initiatives for the well-being of Group employees, such as Consultation and Support, a service that provides free psychological support, and Carelab, an integrated system of content and tools focused on diets, exercise, energy and emotional well-being.
  • Health and safety training: 159,677 hours provided to 33,279 workers in 2020. 

SDG 4: Quality Education

  • Approximately 12 million hours of training were provided to their people.
  • With “per Merito”, the first unsecured credit line dedicated to all university students residing in Italy who study in Italian and foreign universities: in 2020, 6,446 students received funding and approximately 51,5 million euro was granted. 
  • Giovani e Lavoro programme, created in collaboration with Generation Italy, a job orientation project involving over 1,400 companies and training 1,500 young people.

SDG 5: Gender Equality 

  • Mamma@work: new subsidised loan to support working mothers financially following maternity.
  • Creation of a specific Diversity & Inclusion Operating Committee to align, discuss and share D&I initiatives with all structures.
  • Extended to more than 1,200 managers, the Diversity & Inclusion objective into the assessment system, that accounts for 10% of the total evaluation.
  • Support for female entrepreneurship with Business Gemma.

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy 

  • Disbursement of approximately 1.985 million euro to the green economy.
  • The proceeds of the 500 million Green Bond issued in 2017, 60.5% of which being allocated to photovoltaic power, 13.3% to wind power, 9.3% to hydroelectric power, 15.1% to bioenergy and 1.8% to energy efficiency, financed 76 projects with an annual saving of more than 460,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
  • Zero-emission electricity amounted to 84.3% of total consumption.

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth 

  • Approximately 87 billion euro in new medium/long-term loans was disbursed.
  • Agreements were signed with the Trade Unions for the pay-out of the Variable Result Bonus (VRB).
  • Development of internal talents through the International Talent Program (310 Talent in 2020).
  • The Renaissance Programme consists of grants and impact loans to help micro businesses and start-ups in specific communities get back on their feet and develop their business models following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Flexible work extended to more than 65,500 people

 SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure 

  • About 85% of products are available on multi-channel platforms.
  • Supporting production and innovation, Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center has developed start-up enhancement programs (1,400 start-ups analyzed, activated 8 acceleration programs out of 155 of these, presented to potential investors). Through Nova+ funding, 28 innovation projects for more than 30 million euros have been financed.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

  • The projects to encourage the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and people diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorder, continued.
  • The commitment to the issue of dyslexia continued: in December 2018 Intesa Sanpaolo was the first bank in Italy to be certified Dyslexia Friendly.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities 

  • Support to households affected by natural disasters and emergencies through payment suspension programmes for mortgages on affected properties totalling 0.5 billion euro and subsidised loans amounting to over 163 million euro. 
  • Promotion of culture for social cohesion: the project for the fourth Gallerie d’Italia venue was presented in Turin in January, the Bank accelerated the production of online content on the Gallerie d’Italia website and social channels.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

  • Circular Economy development: have allocated a credit fund of up to 5 billion euros for the period 2018-2021 (subsequently increased to 6 billion euro following the acquisition of the UBI Group), aimed at companies that adopt the circular model in innovative ways, giving them the best conditions of access to credit. The criteria for investing in Circular Economy were defined together with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. At the end of 2020, the platform provided € 1.5 billion euro.
  • Launched in collaboration with Fondazione Cariplo, the Circular Economy Lab with the goal of supporting and assisting the transformation of the Italian economic system, accelerating the transition to the Circular Economy.
  • In December 2020, Intesa Sanpaolo published the first report on the use of the proceeds from the 750 million euro Green Bond issued in 2019 and focused on the Circular Economy, fully allocated during the first year, with annual savings of over 255,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, corresponding to 341 tonnes per million euro.

SDG 13: Climate Action

  • Environment and Climate Change: all the actions carried out in 2020, in line with the Environmental Plan, confirm the Group’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint. In 2019, Scope1 + Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 13.1% thanks also to the reduction in the use of the company’s business premises
  • Following the integration of UBI in the Group, the Climate Change Action Plan was updated in 2020 with the revision of the 2012 baseline. In addition, with regard to renewable energy, a new goal of purchasing 89% of electricity from renewable sources by 2022 was established.
  • In 2020 electricity consumption from renewable sources already amounted to 88%.

SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions 

  • In May 2019, Intesa Sanpaolo was among the first banks in Europe to receive the certificate of compliance of its anti-bribery management system with UNI ISO 37001 international standards.
  • In 2020, training to prevent corruption and money laundering involved 74,511 employees for a total of approximately 361,000 hours provided.


Intesa Sanpaolo has an impressive history and has set out clearly defined and achievable short-term goals for the future. Some longer-term goals would have given the bank more points.

They strongly commit to the UN SDGs and outline their practices explicitly on their website. They have a number of certifications to reinforce their work as well as relevant awards and listings.

Moreover, the group is invested in community projects, and is supportive of its employee inclusion and wellbeing. 

Despite its clear commitment to sustainability, Intesa Sanpaolo has invested $13.708 B in the fossil fuel industry since 2016. Although Intesa Sanpaolo decreased its investments from 2018 to 2019, it increased investment in 2020.

For these reasons, the bank has been awarded a C on the Impakter Index.

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

Although the work is highly impressive, Intesa Sanpaolo does not explicitly highlight their loans to companies dealing in things such as the oil, water, or gas industries. 

Key Points

  • Intesa Sanpaolo continues to be an accelerator for the growth of Italy’s real economy.
  • The Bank is a leading lender to the social economy: more than € 470 million to the non-profit sector – € 522 million with UBI – (€ 205 million in 2019).
  • Included in the DJSI World and DJSI Europe, based on an annual assessment carried out by SAM with a best-in-class criterion among companies with the largest market capitalisation.
  • In January 2020, Intesa Sanpaolo was included in the SDG2000, a list that identifies the 2,000 companies belonging to 7 key sectors which, worldwide, have the potential to influence the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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