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23 September 2021

How is sustainability incorporated in the strategy of a leading bank?

In recent years, and particularly since the beginning of the pandemic, awareness of the need to transform our economic model has grown and flourished. We are seeing more and more initiatives that seek to increase environmental resilience and respect for the environment in our production models, whether in the context of financial institutions, businesses or citizens. In this respect, the banking sector is key to channelling and mobilising resources towards these fundamental transformational initiatives to shift to a sustainable future for our society and for the planet.

This is why Banco Sabadell has integrated sustainability in its strategy and in its vision. In 2019, the bank stated its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nations and to the provisions of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as well as becoming a founding signatory of the Principles for Responsible Banking under the UN Environment Programme. Based on this global transformative agenda, the Board of Directors incorporated eight of the SDGs into the bank’s corporate strategy, some as priority goals and others as supplementary goals.

Since then, the bank has carried out a number of initiatives that are key to focusing its sustainability strategy.  One such initiative is the creation of the Strategy and Sustainability Committee within the Board of Directors, which was initiated at the shareholders’ meeting in March last year and which will be responsible for the rigorous oversight and promotion of relevant strategic initiatives and social and environmental measures; another is the rollout of the Sustainable Finance Plan, which aims to anchor the bank’s entire business model to the four main pillars.

The development of the Sustainable Finance Plan is the most recent initiative in a long history of commitment to society, which is rooted in Banco Sabadell’s founding values and which, in recent years, has underpinned actions to combat climate change and the construction of a more balanced and egalitarian social model.

Businesses: support and innovation

Business banking forms part of Banco Sabadell’s DNA and is at the heart of its new Strategic Plan 2021-23. Customers in the business banking segment are particularly influential in the sustainable transformation of the economy and are also among those most affected by the consequences of the pandemic. This is why the bank is implementing financial support actions aimed at achieving both economic recovery and disruptive innovation towards green and socially responsible business models.

In March, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Banco Sabadell once again joined forces to support the economic recovery of SMEs (businesses with up to 250 employees) and mid-caps (between 250 and 500 employees). Through this agreement, the EIF provides Banco Sabadell with a guarantee of 103 million euros, which allows the bank to channel a total of 148 million euros of venture capital funding to early stage tech companies and businesses in the renewable energies sector.

Additionally, Banco Sabadell is a pioneer in the banking sector in terms of its support for companies that wish to access assistance from the European Recovery Fund, thanks to the creation of an informative website, providing news on the various information initiatives organised (webinars, round tables, etc.) and on the design of advisory and support plans for eligible projects.

The bank also has different investment vehicles and programmes aimed at promoting startups and sustainable companies. The most recently created initiative is BStartup Green, a programme aimed at environmental sustainability projects at pre-seed and seed stage, where the investment is primarily aimed at validating the technology and the business. In the first edition of the programme, three projects will be selected from across Spain and each one will receive an investment of 100,000 euros. BStartup Green is focused on emerging companies that, through technology or digitisation, are capable of facilitating the transition to a more sustainable world through any of these four optics: energy transition, industry 4.0, smart cities and the circular economy.

As part of this initiative, Banco Sabadell teamed up with IESE and GFT to launch the first Sustainable Investment Forum to identify innovative entrepreneurial projects in the energy and automotive sectors that address environmental and sustainable mobility challenges. In the first edition, which took place in June, the winner was a startup from Bilbao, Nantek, which is dedicated to recycling plastic waste into synthetic fuels.




How is sustainability incorporated in the strategy of a leading bank?
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