BBVA to provide employee-wide sustainability training


BBVA has launched a new sustainability training program for the Group's more than 125,000 employees around the world. It is the first major bank in the world to give mandatory sustainability training to all employees. The new training modules will be available from September 28, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The training, which will extend across the entire organization, will include content specifically covering climate change and the direct and indirect impacts stemming out of the environmental risks BBVA's business activity could represent. The training program will also provide all bank employees a strategic perspective of the relationship between sustainable development and the finance industry.


A joint methodology to help align credit portfolios with the goals of the Paris Agreement

Today, international banks BBVA, BNP Paribas, ING, Société Générale and Standard Chartered (also known as ‘the Katowice Banks’) published a report on the application of the PACTA methodology, designed to steer their credit portfolios towards the objective of the Paris Climate Agreement. This report aims at helping banking peers to quickly understand and apply this methodology and thus publish comparable results.

“Sustainability is one of BBVA's six strategic priorities. We understand sustainability to be a differential element in our customer value proposition as we support and guide them through the transition toward a sustainable economy. This implies needed changes to habits and business models. We have commited to this training approach because it is more closely integrated with the day-to-day activity of the people who make up BBVA. It is a first step in a training program that we will continue to evolve,” Carlos Casas, global head of BBVA Talent and Culture, explained.

“We have put particular emphasis on adapting what the concept of sustainability means to the different business areas. For example, sustainability training for employees in the Marketing area will have a slightly different slant than the module designed for an employee in the Risk area of the group,” he stated.

The main objective of the training plan is to provide all Group employees a clear context about the global challenges facing society, in-depth knowledge about the consequences of climate change, which we are already experiencing, and an approach for tackling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, employees will gain a detailed understanding of the bank's strategic environmental plan and how they can contribute to fulfilling these goals.

Details are provided in the BBVA Campus platform. The BBVA training model allows the bank's professionals to access the open, flexible and decentralized training catalog where they can find numerous instructional opportunities. The resources that are available include specialized external platforms (MOOCs), videos, virtual seminars, podcasts, resource libraries, and simulators, all of which adapt to the different ways people learn.


BBVA employee online training, augmented during shelter in place

Essential remote working has forced a change to on-site employee training plans. BBVA had already espoused a culture of online learning before the pandemic, offering its staff a comprehensive digital training catalog via the Campus BBVA platform. The platform has been refreshed to adapt to employee needs during the weeks of confinement. Employee response has been positive: traffic to the training portal shot up 96 percent with more than two million sessions during the first month of lockdown. A review of the most consumed topics reveals employees’ growing interest in developing new competencies (data, design, sustainability), which are priority for BBVA and and even more apropos given the new reality that awaits.

During the first phase of the training program, BBVA employees can access the different internal and external training materials. During successive phases, the resources will continue to be developed and adapted for different sustainability knowledge needs: covering a greater level of detail, as appropriate, for different roles, functions, and/or geographical areas. In addition, the bank’s training program will benefit from first-rate training alliances with partners that will contribute advanced subject expertise. The program has been designed by the Group’s Responsible Business team and Global Sustainability Office, with coordination from the Talent and Culture training team.

BBVA’s training model puts its employees in the driver’s seat, giving them autonomy over their own learning path and development. Thus, employees no longer have to wait to be invited to a training event; on the contrary, they have the means to plot out their own educational roadmap to grow professionally.

The BBVA Campus catalog of training resources is constantly updated with content related to the new skills that are needed in the organization. In 2019, there were more than 62,000 logged instances of participation in courses on topics such as Agile Methodologies, Behavioral Economics, Data, and Design Thinking; whereas training in values and legal requirements continued to stand out as a fundamental component to the Group’s training initiative.

Online training continues to make up the lion’s share of training delivery, representing 66 percent of all training activity. Weeks of lockdown have served to bolster the bank’s culture of online learning, with a 450 percent increase of training delivered over.this channel. During the first 48 days of Spain’s confinement, online training activity shot up by 1,200,000 hours compared to the same period a year before.

Sustainability, a strategic priority for BBVA

This training offering is another milestone in the bank's commitment to sustainability. Over the past year, the bank has firmly established sustainable development and the fight against climate change as one of its strategic priorities. BBVA has successfully raised €40 billion in sustainable financing (40 percent of its 2025 target), in addition to factoring social and environmental risks into its business activity and engaging its stakeholders in this collective effort.

With regard to goals related to measuring its impact, the bank has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to aligning its business to the Paris Agreement and has created a Global Sustainability Office in order to propel the transformation.

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