By offsetting all emissions generated by its own operations, Banco Santander has announced it will commit to becoming carbon neutral in 2020.
Heeding global dialogue on the topic, the bank has already cut its emissions by 27% in the 2011-2018 period. In 2018, 43% of electricity purchased by the Group came from renewable sources and Santander has also pledged to source all electricity (where possible) from renewable sources by 2025.
Ana Botín, group executive chairman, Banco Santander, says: “Santander is one of the leading providers of renewable energy finance in the world and we are committed to playing our part in tackling climate change.
"The commitment we have announced today is an important step. We can address the challenge of climate change only by working together and by increasing our ambition and pace.”
Every building of the 200,000 employee-strong bank around the globe satisfies the ISO 14001 certification, which is the standard used by organisations to implement effective environmental management.
Alongside this ambitious objective, the bank expects to cut its total emission by a further 46% from 2019-2025. The Spanish bank’s commitment to transitioning to the green economy can also be seen with the launch of its first green bond during October, and the vow to raise and mobilise €120 billion in green finance from 2019 to 2025 and €220 billion to 2030.
This announcement follows the launch of the EBA’s Action Plan on sustainable finance this week, which will support the green strategies banks already have in place before assessing any necessary adjustment.
Jose Manuel Campa, EBA chairperson, says: “The urgent need to act explains why we have also set out early expectations for interim measures, including the identification of simple metrics that can foster market discipline and allow banks to set clear green strategies.”
The Action Plan will act as a bellweather for the financial industry, signifying the EBA's policy direction and expectation that ESG factors will affect the business model of institutions, presenting both risks and opportunities.
The ability to measure ESG risk is a key priority for 97% of institutions when determining how to weight their investment portfolio, a recent report by State Street found. The report notes that investors need the right data to make the right ESG decisions and yet the current state of ESG data is a substantial hindering factor to adoption.
Santander has signed the Collective Commitment on Climate as promoted by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) which requires signatories to set and publish sector-specific, scenario-based targets to align lending portfolios to the Paris Agreement on climate change.