Banco Santander



Financial Services



Santander Group City
Av. de Cantabria s/n
28660 Boadilla del Monte MADRID-SPAIN
Tel: +34 912890000



  • Dow Jones Sustainability Index: most sustainable bank in the world
  • FTSE4Good
  • 2020 Bloomberg Gender – Equality Index
  • “The best bank” Newsweek Green Ranking (2017)
  • Banco Santander leads the Bloomberg Gender-Equality For the third consecutive year, Santander has achieved the highest score out of 322 companies.
  • The Santander Group has been named as a Leader in Diversity 2020 by the Financial Times in a new index, which lists the 700 leading companies across Europe with outstanding diversity and inclusion policies




Elisa Moscolin


  • “One of the companies that are changing the world” – Fortune Magazine
  • “One of the 10 companies that stand out for their corporate practices focused on the LGBTQI+” – Great Place to Work
  • “The most socially responsible bank in Mexico” – International Finance Banking Awards
  • Santander Brasil was one of the winners of the 2017 Latam Green Finance Awards in the category of eco-efficiency Practices



Report created by Sagarika Deshmukh

Banco Santander

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Banco Santander SA is a banking services company, which engages in the provision of banking services to individuals, companies, and institutions.

As one of the biggest banks in the world by market capital, Santander is present in ten core markets across Europe and the Americas, with 144 million customers, 220,000 employees and 4 million shareholders. Most of its 14 million customers are individuals but it also serves growing numbers of small, medium and large UK companies.

Most of what Banco Santander does can be described as lending money to borrowers, taking deposits from savers, providing bank accounts and payment services.

It also offers a wide range of investment and insurance products to households and other more specialized services and products to companies.

Santander’s purpose is to help people and businesses prosper. Its aim is to be the best open financial services platform by acting responsibly and earning the lasting loyalty of its people, customers, shareholders and communities. It will do this by being simple, personal and fair in everything they do.

Santander believes that the way they behave is an essential part of their culture, which is based on believing that everything they do is: 

  • Simple: a bank with products and services that are accessible and easy to understand. With simpler, more approachable, and clearer processes. 
  • Personal: a more approachable bank that adapts to each individual’s needs, making every customer and their people feel recognized, unique and valued. 
  • Fair: a bank that treats their customers and their people equally and transparently, creating benefits that affect and integrate clients, shareholders, employees and society.

Company Sustainability Activity

As one of the world’s largest banks, Santander sets out to increase the loyalty of their customers and transform their bank into a more responsible and sustainable company. T

his commitment has led them to become the global leader in sustainable project financing, having mobilized some EUR 50 billion between 2015 and 2018.

In addition, in 2018 they provided financial education to more than 360,000 people around the world and supported over 270,000 micro-entrepreneurs in Latin America. And they are the company that invests the most in education in the world, according to the Varkey Foundation, having spent EUR 121 million on university scholarships and agreements in 2018.



  • Over 99.8% of waste is ethically recycled or diverted from landfill in 2018
  • Ranked as joint first lender to renewables.
  • Ranking second of UK banks for emissions reduction.
  • £3.2 million raised in three years for their charity partners Age UK and Barnardo’s.


    • 50% of energy used in Santander buildings and branches is renewable, reaching 100% green energy in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. The United States, Brazil, Chile and Portugal also acquire green energy for some of their facilities’ consumption.
    • All direct environmental impacts caused by the Group’s activities are duly measured and managed through Environmental Management Systems implemented in most of the Group’s buildings, which are externally audited under the ISO 14001 standard.



  • Santander made a commitment to raise over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025
  • Banco Santander has committed to become carbon neutral in 2020 by offsetting all the emissions generated by its own operations.
  • They want to achieve 100% of electricity used from renewable energy sources by 2025
  • Santander aims to reduce all of their (100%) unnecessary single use plastic in corporate buildings and branches by 2021.


  • The company committed to financially empower more than 10 million people over the same period through the expansion of the bank’s micro-finance, financial education programs and other tools to provide access to financial services.
  • Santander aims to have 60% of women on their Group Board by 2025.
  • They aim to reduce their gender pay gap to 0 by 2025
  • The company set a target to help 4 million people through their community programs by 2021.
  • In 2019 Santander set the target to be one of the top 10 companies to work for in at least 6 of geographies where they operate by 2021
  • Santander aims to fund 200,000 scholarships, internships and entrepreneurs programs between 2019 and 2021.



  • Reduced carbon emissions by 11.5% year on year, focusing on remote working and meetings.
  • Electricity usage fell by 4.9% in 2018. 
  • In 2019, they helped finance greenfield renewable energy projects with a total installed capacity of 8,036 MW.
  • Their total portfolio of renewable energy project finance at households in one year. the end of last year totaled €10.03 billion, approximately half of the bank’s total project finance portfolio
  • The bank, which has 200,000 employees worldwide in 10 core market in Europe and the Americas, has already cut its emissions by 27% between 2011 and 2018, while electricity fell by 15% in the same period. 
  • The company signed the Collective Commitment to Climate Action, which sets out concrete and time-bound actions that banks will take to scale up their contribution to and align their lending with the Paris Climate Agreement. 
  • They launched Santander Sustainable & Green Bonds Frameworks and issued a €1 billion green bond, starting their global sustainable debt plan. 
  • Santander launched a new Green Bond investment fund that completes Santander Asset Management sustainable range, exceeding EUR 1,500 million of assets under management. 
  • They joined the United Nations’ CEO Alliance on Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) to help scale up long-term investment in sustainability development. 
  • They joined the International Wildlife Trade Financial Task Force as a part of the Group’s commitment to the prevention and deterrence of wildlife trafficking.
  • In 2019 Santander raised €19 billion in green financing.
  • In 2019, Santander achieved 50% electricity used from renewable energy sources 
  • Santander reduced 75% of unnecessary single use plastic in corporate buildings and branches in 2019


  • Santander Invested in small businesses with £20.7 million of growth capital funding and £100.7 million of senior debt.
  • They supported 7,900 startups and small businesses with investment, training, internships and international exposure.
  • In Spain, Santander has the Santander Natura program, which covers all their initiatives, services and products that aim to protect the environment and fight climate change. In 2019 more than 450 volunteers, including employees and pensioners, along with their families and the bank’s customers, collected more than a ton of waste, garbage, and plastic from different beaches in Spain. 
  • In 2019, Santander funded 69000 scholarships, internships and entrepreneurs program.
  • In 2019, Santander helped 1.6 million people through their community program.
  • The company Approved global parental leave minimum standards, which includes a minimum period of 14 weeks paid for primary maternity/paternity leave and 4 weeks in a row or divided into periods of 15 days for secondary maternity/paternity leave. 
  • Santander signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles
  • They signed ‘The Valuable 500’ Commitment to put inclusion of people with disabilities on their boardroom agenda. 
  • In 2019, Santander achieved 40% of women on their Group BoardoGreen.
  • The company became TOP 10 companies to work for in 5 geographies: Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Spain and Uruguay
  • In 2019, the calculated gap gender pay gap for Santander was 2%, a 33% improvement over the reported figure at 3% in 2018.


  • LEED GOLD Germany, Brazil, Spain, and Poland
  • ISO 14001 (2015 certification for the data Processing Centre of Santander Spain)
  • AENOR event sustainability management system certificate of its Investor Day in London in 2019

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance


  • The Prospera microfinance program in Brazil, chosen as good practice by the Brazilian Global Compact Network to achieve the SDGs in 2030.
  • Commitment to financially empower 10 million people by 2025. They have empowered 2M people in 2019.
  • Support to the community: 46 million in social investment and 1.6 million people helped through their social program.
  • Commitment of 4 million people helped through community program by 2022.


  • Banco Santander supports the health and well-being of their employees and the communities in which they are present.
  • BeHealthy Program: access for employees to information and training to improve and renew healthy living habits. Access to more than 40,000 affiliated health and welfare centers around the world.
  • Support to the community: +1 million people helped through programs designed to address social exclusion and boost the well-being of people.


  • Santander invests more in support for education than any other private company in the world promotes the largest private scholarship program in the world.
  • They have 1,333 agreements with different universities.
  • They have invested 119 million euros to support higher education through their program.
  • More than 500,000 children helped through program to support childhood education.
  • Banco Santander is the largest company investing in education in the world.
  • More than 68,671 scholarships and grants awarded to students in 2019.
  • The largest private scholarship program in the world.
  • Commitment of 200k scholarships between 2019 y 2021.
  • Santander X, their international university entrepreneurship project, chosen as good practice by the Spanish Network of the Global Compact to achieve the SDGs in 2030.


  • Santander promotes a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects society and allows them to face future challenges.
  • New general principles on diversity and inclusion that provide global guidelines and minimum standards.
  • 55% of women in the workforce in 2019, 20.5% of women in management positions.
  • Commitments: Women on board 40-60% by 2021. 30% women in senior leadership positions by 2025. Eliminate gender pay gap by 2025.
  • In Brazil and Mexico, 7 out of 10 individual entrepreneurs helped through their microfinance program are women.
  • In 2019, the calculated gap was 2% and they have committed to reduce it to almost 0 by 2025. They have signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.
  • For the second consecutive year, Santander has obtained the highest score among the 230 companies that are part of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.


  • In 2019, Santander was the global leader in renewable energy financing in terms of both the number of transactions and their amounts.
  • In 2019, they helped finance greenfield renewable energy projects with a total installed capacity of 8,036 MW equivalent to the consumption of 6.5 million households in one year.

 SDG 8

  • Santander has a prepared and committed team that allows them to respond and meet the needs of customers, help entrepreneurs to create businesses and employment, and strengthen local economies.
  • 94.6% of employees with a fixed contract
  • 8.6% of the staff promoted
  • Flexi Working: incorporates multiple conciliation initiatives.
  • In 2019, they received the Top Employers Europe 2019 certification and they have also been included for the first time in the Great Place to Work list of the 25 best companies to work for in the World as well as being distinguished as one of the best Places to Work 2019 in Latin America.
  • Commitment “top 10 companies to work for” in 6 of their main geographies by 2022. They achieved 5 countries in 2019.

SDG 10

  • Santander develops products and services for the most vulnerable in society, giving them access to financial services and teaching them how to use these in an appropriate way to manage their finances in the best possible way.
  • 519,996 million euros in loans granted to households in 2019.
  • More than 500 million euros to 800,000 micro-entrepreneurs in 2019
  • More than 1 million people helped through community investment to improve the lives of people at risk of exclusion, poverty or vulnerability.
  • 436 scholarships awarded to students with disabilities through Fundación Universia. And 166 people with disabilities incorporated in companies.
  • The Prospera microfinance program in Brazil, chosen as good practice by the Brazilian Global Compact Network to achieve the SDGs in 2030.

SDG 11 

  • Santander finances SMEs and self-employed professionals who boost local economies, generate wealth and create employment opportunities.
  • 332,881 millions euros of credit to housing in 2019.
  • Their branches and ATMs in remote locations are also an integral part of their strategy to foster access to basic financial
  • More than 1 million people benefited from art and cultural initiatives in 2019.
  • 117,420 million euros in loans to SMEs and the self-employed in 2018.
  • Agreements with multilateral entities such as the EIB and the CAF to boost financing to SMEs.
  • Global digital solutions that promote connectivity between companies, help export and offer more innovative and simple platforms to operate.
  • They invest in fintech that promote financial technology and facilitate access to and use of financial services.

SDG 12

  • Santander promotes sustainable consumption both in their own operations as well as with their clients.
  • Environmental footprint: 2.1% reduction in paper and cardboard waste, 3.5% reduction in internal electricity consumption, and 15.5% reduction of total CO2 emissions in 2019. 50% of the energy consumed by Santander was renewable energy.
  • Commitments: 60% of electricity used from renewable energy sources by 2022 and 100% by 2025. Becoming carbon neutral in own operations 0% by 2020.
  • Commitment: Unnecessary single use plastic free in corporate buildings and branches to 0 tons by 2022.
  • Environmental and social risks analysis: 46 projects financed under Equator Principles criteria.
  • Responsible procurement: New principles of responsible behavior of suppliers; 93.2% local Group suppliers.
  • Analyzed part of their portfolio’s alignment to climate scenarios, as a step towards addressing the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
  • Founder member of UN Responsible Banking Principles

SDG 13

  • Santander supports the fight against climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy. And they commit themselves to actively contribute to the protection of the environment
  • 6,689 MW of renewable energy finance, equivalent to the consumption of 5.7 million households in 2018
  • 1 bn euros first green bond emission in 2019
  • In 2019, they have been the global leader in renewable energy financing, in terms of both the number of transactions and amounts.
  • Agreements with multilaterals for the financing and development of energy efficiency projects.
  • Financing of vehicles with low CO2, electric and hybrid emissions.
  • Commitment: Green finance raised and facilitated (euros) 120Bn by 2025. In 2019, they achieved 19Bn euros.

SDG 17

  • Santander participates actively and they are part of the main initiatives and working groups at local and international level as an important way to support SDG 17 on partnerships for the goals.
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Their president, Ana Botín, is a member of the executive committee. And they participate in the WBCSD Future of Work initiative, by looking into how to adapt their own business and human resource strategy to evolve with the digital age.
  • Banking Environment Initiative (BEI). They participate in two climate related work streams, the Soft Commodities Compact and the new initiative Bank 2030 which aims to build a roadmap for the banking industry to 2030 seeking to increase the financing to low carbon activities.
  • UNEP Finance initiative. Together with 27 other banks, they promote the principles for responsible banking of the United Nations. They also participated along with other 15 banks in 2018 in the UNEP FI pilot project on implementing the TCFD recommendations for banks.
  • United Nations Global Compact. They are committed to the development of their business activity with the ten principles of the Global Compact and they extend them to their value chain, demanding their suppliers to assume and also comply with them.
  • CEO Partnership for Financial Inclusion. They, along with other 9 companies are part of a private sector alliance for financial inclusion, an initiative promoted by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Special Representative of the United Nations to promote Inclusive Financing for development.
  • Principles of Ecuador. They analyze the environmental and social risks of all their financing operations of projects that are under the scope of the principles of Ecuador and participate actively in the evolution of the criteria.
  • Principles of Responsible Investment. They manage their pension funds of employees in Spain and Brazil applying criteria of responsible investment.
  • Others include: Wolfsberg Group; Round table on responsible soy; Sustainable livestock working group; CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project); Climate Leadership Council.

Banco Santander is often cited as one of the most sustainable banks in the world.

It holds some sustainability certificates, is part of many sustainability listings, and has established clear goals. These goals for 2025 are supported by clear KPIs on the progress achieved.

The bank is transparent throughout their annual report, and they seem very committed to environmental efforts.

However, they have financed fossil fuels with $25.736 B since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2016, their financing increased by 75% between 2018 and 2019, from $5,123 B to $8,977 B.

They also have financed deforestation and 384M for coal mining companies and.

They therefore cannot achieve a high rating. They are given the rate C.

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

Even with all the listings and goals they have achieved the company needs to prove their commitment to sustainability by cutting their ties with fossil fuels, deforestation and coal mining. These activities are against their claims on their reports and this is why the analyst outlook is neutral.

Key Points

  • Santander has financed fossil fuels with $25.736 B since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2016
  • The company made a commitment to raise over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025
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