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Sustainability and Responsible Banking

Sustainability and Responsible Banking

Now that the school year is about to begin, it’s a great time to catch up on the most relevant events for entrepreneurs coming up for the remainder of the year. All these events aim to spread knowledge, catch on the latest developments in the industry, do some networking, and explore new ways to innovate and grow. These are some of the most noteworthy.

BBVA Momentum, the BBVA program that supports social entrepreneurship, is entering its second half. September kicks-off with new training sessions for the selected social enterprises from participating countries: Colombia, the United States, Mexico, and Turkey. In a short couple of months, the most ambitious round of BBVA Momentum to date – with a record-breaking 169 participating social enterprises – will draw to a close.

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Antoni Ballabriga, BBVA’s Global Head of Responsible Business, was recently appointed Co-Chair of the Global Steering Committee for the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). The UNEP FI is the global partnership established between the UN and the financial sector to promote sustainable finance, a cause that will keep Antoni Ballabriga busy well after the summer holidays. His calendar features a trip to New York on September 22 when BBVA, as one of the founding banks, will sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking.

Antoni Ballabriga received a B.A. in Business Administration and an MBA from ESADE Business School. He completed postgraduate studies at Harvard Business School where he focused on strategy and corporate social responsibility.  He chairs the European Banking Federation’s working group on sustainable finance. He has also chaired the Spanish Forum for Socially Responsible Investment (SpainSIF) and the Spanish association of executives for corporate social responsibility (DIRSE).

Ballabriga reports directly to the bank’s management board. His avowed mission is “to ensure the bank systematically positions people at the heart of its decision-making processes.”

One would think that a good financial education, in and of itself, would be enough to properly plan for retirement. However, research conducted by the Mexican Association of Pension Fund Managers (AMAFORE) and supervised by Jean Paul Madrigal, reveals something more is needed. The BBVA Center for Education and Financial Capabilities awarded this retirement planning research project one of its inaugural BBVA EduFin Research Grants.

Banks, with their array of financial service offerings and bottom-line image, may not seem like natural cheerleaders for sustainable corporate practices. Your banker, after all, doesn't make a living sourcing fair-trade chocolate for candy bars or producing renewable biomass fuel. Banks, however, play an increasingly significant role in promoting sustainable activities that support a clean environment, vulnerable populations and human rights, among other goals through their internal practices and through the enterprises they finance.

Through its renewable energy subsidiary, Enel Green Power España (EGPE), Endesa has begun construction of ‘Primoral’ wind farm, which will supply power to BBVA from the end of 2019. The plant, located in Villamayor de Gállego (Zaragoza), will be a 35 MW power plant capable of generating 108 GWh a year once it comes into operation.

Experts agree that workplace diversity translates into significant benefits for businesses. Decision making, return on investment, entry into new markets, and innovation all improve when minorities are represented in a company’s workforce.