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Climate change 21 May 2018

Francisco González: "We need to reimagine the role of banking"

BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman is convinced that, to tackle the enormous environmental, social and technological challenges that climate change poses, the social role of banks needs to completely change. “We need to reimagine the role of banking,” said Francisco González a few days ago, during the BBVA Sustainable Finance Forum event.

We live at a time riddled with enormous environmental and social challenges. Increasing temperatures, atmospheric CO2 concentration, climate-related catastrophes, malnutrition, poverty. Technology holds the key to taking on many of these challenges. “Technology empowers and connects people and allows us to share knowledge. In other words, technology democratizes progress and well-being,” said BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman.

That is why “we have the opportunity to rethink the world, tackling these great environmental and social challenges in new ways and adopting an exponential, instead of sequential, change model”, explained Francisco González in an event held at BBVA’s Madrid headquarters, which gathered investors, business leaders, public and private institutions and the media, to promote sustainable development and fight against climate change.

“We have the opportunity to rethink the world, tackling these great environmental and social challenges in new ways and adopting an exponential, instead of sequential, change model”

In this context, BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman considers that “banks need to redefine their purpose. A purpose that is as transformational as massive, aimed at having a positive impact on people’s lives.” In the case of BBVA, its redefined purpose is to bring the age of opportunity to everyone.

Francisco González also stressed that “we need to build balanced long-term relationships with our customers and other stakeholders, based on extreme transparency and avoiding conflicts of interest.”

In his address he also explained that “banks need to harness the possibilities enabled by new technologies to offer universal access to financial services, help people make the best financial decisions and promote their financial health.”

And finally, he believes that “banks need to help customers drive sustainable development and transition towards a low-carbon economy.”

BBVA wants to be a catalyst of this change and is taking part in the initiative promoted by the United Nations to define a set of Responsible Banking or Sustainable Banking Principles, together with 24 banks from the five continents, in line with the Responsible Investment Principles or the Sustainable Insurance Principles for insurance companies set out five years ago.

According to BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman, “these Responsible Banking Principles, which we expect to be able to announce by year end, will define the standards and the accountability model of this new banking sector.”

In his opinion, “we all, public institutions and the private sector, need to come together to take on this major challenge we are facing.” For Francisco González “we all strive to ensure that the organizations we lead connect with the real needs of people and society as a whole. This is our responsibility to future generations,” he emphasized, by way of conclusion.

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