Banco Santander: the co-founder and signatory of United Nations Responsible Banking Principles

Banco Santander, recognized as the most sustainable bank in the world according to Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2019, has become a signatory and a founder member of UNEP FI Responsible Banking Principles. On Sunday, September 22, the final version of the principles was officially announced in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Upon signing the Principles, Santander made a commitment and joined the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

Responsible banking is deeply ingrained in the strategy of the entire Santander Group. We understand it as responsibility towards all our stakeholders with whom our bank interacts: our customers, employees, shareholders and communities in which we operate. We know how much trust they put in us and we are well aware how easily we can lose that trust. It is our ambition to become a leader and create trends and set the standards of responsible banking worldwide and in Poland. Therefore both the Santander Group and Santander Bank Polska are eager to engage in initiatives the goal of which is to raise the standards of governance, relationships with customers and transparency in disclosing the results of our actions. One example of such efforts is our membership in the Core Group of Founding Banks of the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking. I am positive that the initiative will greatly benefit the whole finance industry on the way to becoming more sustainable and responsible.

Michał Gajewski,

CEO of Santander Bank Polska

Banco Santander was among the 30 core financial institutions which participated in the development of the UNEP FI Responsible Banking Principles. The document provides the framework for a sustainable banking system and helps the industry to demonstrate how it makes a positive contribution to society.

The UNEP FI Responsible Banking Principles are consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.

Additionally, all the activities undertaken in connection with the Principles have to meet the requirements of the local legal regulations. By signing the document, the financial institutions have committed to align their business strategies  with the needs and goals of the societies in which they operate, to carry out an audit of their operations and disclose their positive and negative impact on the environment. Based on the audit findings they will set new goals and regularly report on the progress in their achievement.

Santander Bank Polska as the first financial institution in Poland, has implemented the Responsible Banking Principles in the entire process of the organization management. In Santander Bank Polska, Responsible Banking is not only an element of the business strategy but also  the way of thinking about our daily actions. We demonstrate our responsibility through a range of activities undertaken in such areas as customer relationships, responsible selling, prevention of misselling, initiatives targeting local communities and the implementation of projects and services supporting the environment.

More than 100 financial sector institutions have already committed to adhere to UNEP FI Responsible Banking Principles.

Principles for Responsible Banking

Alignment – We will align our business strategy to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals, as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks. We will focus our efforts where we have the most significant impact.

Impact – We will continuously increase our positive impacts while reducing the negative impacts on, and managing the risks to, people and environment resulting from our activities, products and services.

Clients and Customers – We will work responsibly with our clients and our customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.

Stakeholders – We will proactively and responsibly consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve society’s goals.

Governance & Target Setting – We will implement our commitment to these Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking, demonstrating ambition and accountability by setting public targets relating to our most significant impacts

Transparency & Accountability – We will periodically review our individual and collective implementation of these Principles and be transparent about and accountable for our positive and negative impacts and our contribution to society’s goals.