The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F) has chosen the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, along with three more Spanish institutions, as a case study in the guide it is preparing on the role of enterprise in achieving these goals.
The SDG-F is the first mechanism of cooperation for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and has begun its task by analyzing how it can work with companies. To this end it has created an international consulting group featuring four Spanish companies: the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, Ebro Foods, Ferrovial and Fundación Seres. The testimony of these companies and their work are providing a key input for compiling the guide and its future application.
Drivers of change
This initiative seeks to highlight companies’ potential for contributing to economic, social and environmental development with their activities. Companies can generate positive impacts through their operations and through the creation of value chains, philanthropy, awareness-raising and by investing in social programs. “In addition to their projects and donations, companies must contribute creativity in their processes, and transfer their know-how so it can be of use”, explains Lidia del Pozo, BBVA’s director of Social Programs and Sponsorship. “What can a bank provide? The management of risks that contribute added value for NGOs”.
On this point, BBVA has its own programs that focus on almost all the goals, “both from the business point of view and from Corporate Responsibility”, says del Pozo. Specifically, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation targets the goals of eradicating poverty, supporting decent work and economic growth, and gender equality. This institution has been singled out by the UN in the report entitled Working Together Towards Sustainable Development Goals: A Framework for Action”, as a noteworthy example of activity in favor of these SDG.
The FMBBVA seeks to generate social impact through its model of productive financing, for which the bank brings to bear its over 150 years of experience in the sector. The Foundation serves 1,700,000 people and has contributed to the development of microfinance by offering financial services at the base of the pyramid in Latin America. Today it works on several different fronts, including strengthening microfinance institutions, developing products that are better tailored to their needs, and seeking out new operational models.
The results of its work can be seen in initiatives such as its development of models for measuring impact and business models, and improvements in microfinance institutions’ management capacity, among others. The figures speak for themselves. According to Javier Flores, managing director of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation: “83% of our customers are economically or socially vulnerable; furthermore, 61% are women, who comprise a particularly sensitive group –particularly women who are the sole heads of households”.