The British magazine Euromoney has named BBVA the best bank in corporate social responsibility in Western Europe in 2021. The financial publication recognized BBVA's commitment to improving social, economic and environmental conditions in the region and the bank's swift response to the Covid-19 crisis. The Group was also recognized as the best bank in Mexico.
The jury underscored the relevance to the corporate social responsibility categories of the effectiveness with which companies have addressed the challenges faced by their clients as a result of the healthcare crisis, from the initial medical emergency to long-term financial difficulties. In this regard, the magazine singled out the 'Covid-19 Social Response Plan' that the bank launched in 2020, with a total of 35.7 million euros distributed across three main lines of action: supporting health authorities, contributing to social organizations and promoting scientific research.
In this regard, Euromoney pointed out that a total of 839,773 people, 24% of those who benefited from the plan, received medical equipment and supplies provided to hospitals and an additional 11% of the funds went to help vulnerable groups. In the early stages of the emergency, BBVA procured 2,813 ventilators, 5,000 flow valve masks, 400 respirators and 400,000 masks from China. On top of this, the bank worked with various organizations to support vulnerable groups and promoted research into the disease and its consequences, the publication adds. In total, more than 3.5 million people have benefited directly from these initiatives, in addition to measures to support customers, such as moratoriums and publicly guaranteed loans.
Antoni Ballabriga, BBVA's Global Head of Responsible Business, stressed the importance of this recognition for BBVA: “This award recognizes the bank's commitment to sustainability and, especially, to inclusive growth at a time in history when the work of all social agents has been fundamental in confronting the Covid-19 health crisis.”
In addition, the jury also highlighted the global financial education plan, launched in 2008, which has since mobilized 91.4 million euros in programs that have already benefited 29.2 million people.
A solid, global and up-to-date global commitment
Euromoney also mentioned BBVA's updated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy, which has been developed in line with the Spanish National Securities Market Commission's (CNMV) new recommendations on corporate governance, the signing of the responsible banking principles and the growing expectations regarding the role of companies in society. BBVA incorporates its general principles, the provisions for their implementation and the governance and supervisory model.
According to this policy, BBVA ensures compliance with corporate social responsibility at all times, managing its activities according to the impact they have on its employees, customers, society in general and the environment.
The BBVA Board of Directors approved the General Sustainability Policy, which defines and establishes the general principles, main objectives and guidelines for the Group's management and control in matters of sustainable development, with the aim of achieving a balance between economic development, social development and environmental protection.
In addition to European initiatives, BBVA develops a wide range of programs related to financial inclusion, microcredit and the promotion of education to drive progress and a more sustainable and inclusive society in Latin America, recalls the British publication. The Group has also pioneered the launch of a wide range of sustainable and green products in its countries of operation, helping companies and their private customers to move towards a low-carbon economy.
At the same time, in 2020, BBVA ranked first among European banks in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), which measures the economic, environmental and social performance of the largest companies in terms of market capitalization. In addition, BBVA was included in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for the fourth consecutive year, improving its score from 72.32% to 77.29%. The award recognizes the bank's commitment to creating trusting work environments that ensure professional development and equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of gender.
Euromoney also awarded BBVA for its subsidiary in Mexico, where it highlighted the enormous competitive advantage that comes from being at the forefront of the digitalization of financial services. The publication notes that BBVA has become an even more competitive force, with a successful rollout of its digital platforms and more than 1.7 billion transactions in 2020, equivalent to 45 percent of all banking operations.