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Responsible Banking

Responsible Banking

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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.

Although the concept of sustainable development was first used officially in the Bruntland Report, published in 1987, it wasn’t until the UN General Assembly held in 2015 when countries across the globe signed the UN 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development. A pivotal part of this agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of goals and specific sets of tasks defined by the UN to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

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A large percentage of the Spanish population is not familiar with some basic financial concepts that are essential for making investment or borrowing decisions. This was one of the key takeaways shared by Pablo Hernández de Cos, Governor of the Bank of Spain, during his presentation at EduFin Summit 2019, the yearly leading global financial education summit organized by the BBVA Center for Financial Education and Capability.

Three years ago, world leaders approved Agenda 2030, a global plan of action for sustainable development. This initiative aims to end poverty, reduce inequality, and combat climate change. Agenda 2030 has defined 17 high level sustainable development goals (SDGs) with 169 integrated and indivisible targets that address the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainability. To fulfill the SDGs,  governments, the private sector, and society as a whole must unify efforts. Thus, the final SDG – number 17 – aims to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. BBVA contributes to all the SDGs. But this one, more than the others, entails a direct commitment to the communities the bank serves and the industries where it does business.