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Communication 11 Dec 2017

BBVA confirms its commitment to the struggle against climate change

ShareAction, one of the most important observers of responsible investing, has published a study on the 15 biggest European banks, analyzing how we manage the risks and opportunities related to climate change. This study follows the guide for investors on discussing climate change with their bank that was published a few months ago.

BBVA received the report with interest, as it shows the actions leading banks are taking in this area and identifies opportunities for improvement. The study gives each bank a score based on their performance on the previously mentioned topics.

BBVA ranks in the intermediate category of “learners”, although it aspires to join the “challengers” very soon, as the bank’s climate change strategy will be published at the end of January. This strategy is perfectly aligned with the recommendations the authors of the ShareAction study make to investors in their dialogue with BBVA.

Investors are encouraged to request the current percentage of BBVA assets tied to high and low carbon sectors, out of the bank’s total assets, as well as other related goals. The new strategy includes these indicators and will be immediately available to investors.

Another recommendation to investors is that they encourage BBVA to adopt and publish policies on carbon mining and thermal plants, oil and natural gas, as well as on deforestation and pipeline operations. In the context of the new strategy, BBVA will publish sector rules on mining, energy, infrastructure and agriculture that will cover the abovementioned topics.

The report also suggests that investors demand that BBVA publish a comprehensive, Group-wide climate change policy that is aligned with the Paris Agreement. It should include information on assessing climate risks and managing low carbon products and services, engaging with the regulator and collaborating with other actors, as well as ensuring the governance and implementation of the strategy.

BBVA’s new climate change strategy will address this proposal, present a firm commitment to the Paris Agreement and will also be aligned with the International Energy Agency’s 450 Scenario to keep the global increase in temperature to 2ºC by 2040. In addition to managing environmental and social risks to minimize potential negative impacts, both direct and indirect, this strategy will include specific public commitments for 2025 to help mobilize the capital needed to stop climate change and accomplish these goals.

BBVA is working to follow the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). It will publish its progress and engage in a dialogue with investors so that the advances are aligned with their interests.

BBVA is fully aware of the concern among investors and is firmly committed to the fight against global warming and to contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This is a task that requires the involvement, not just of the private sector, but also regulator, governments, consumers and civil society. For this reason, BBVA relies on all stakeholder groups to take up this enormous challenge of promoting the financial sector’s contribution to sustainable development.