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Responsible banking 21 Aug 2019

Since 2016 BBVA has allocated €43 million in support of social enterprises, volunteering, and the promotion of corporate responsibility

In 2018 BBVA invested €12.4 million in initiatives supporting social enterprises, encouraging volunteer activities, and promoting corporate responsibility. This amount totals €43 million for the 2016-2018 time period.

These numbers contribute to the 2016-2018 Community Investment Plan, for which BBVA announced that in 2018 it had earmarked €104.5 million to social programs benefiting up to 8 million people. The principal global areas of activity as delineated in the plan are financial education, entrepreneurship, and knowledge, education, and culture.

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Supporting social enterprises

Through its social enterprise support initiatives, BBVA contributes to solving major social and environmental challenges of the countries across its footprint. In 2018, the bank allocated €6 million to finance social and community development projects promoted by non-governmental organizations, non-profit associations and social enterprises.

Thus, in Spain, BBVA promotes initiatives such as Territorios Solidarios (Supportive Territories), a program through which the bank offers financial support to social enterprises proposed and selected by BBVA employees. Since its first edition – and thanks to the 14,000 employees who, on average, collaborate every year – BBVA has devoted a total of €9.75 million euros to support 1,111 projects across Spain, creating opportunities for 5,950,631 people.

Also, BBVA has also promoted a series of initiatives through which it seeks to foster employee involvement in tackling social issues, such as Euro Solidario in Spain, through which the bank contributes to funding Fundación Entreculturas’ social education projects, which seek to foster societal transformation. Employees enrolled in the Euro Solidario initiative commit to donate one euro of their monthly payroll to Entreculturas. For its part, for every euro employees donate, BBVA donates another euro, thus doubling the initial amount pledged by its workforce.

In Latin America, the entity also develops programs in collaboration with various social enterprises. Specifically, in Colombia, the bank has launched a series of initiatives aimed at supporting indigenous communities, benefitting, among others, the U’wa people, who live in the Arauca, Boyacá and Northern Santander departments. BBVA Venezuela supports 24 foundations and social organizations through its donation program. In Mexico, in response to the earthquake that struck the country in 2017, BBVA Foundation has forged alliances with non-profit organizations to rebuild affected schools.

As for the United States, the bank sponsors the ‘Opportunity Fellows Program’, a program intended to train CDFI managers. CDFI stands for Community Development Financial Institutions, a private sector financial institution that focuses on personal lending and business development efforts in local low-income communities.

Organization of volunteer activities

Volunteer activities represent an opportunity for both employees and communities. Through them, BBVA contributes to the social improvement of the countries where it is present. In addition, corporate volunteering contributes to drive personal fulfillment levels among employees, thus improving company engagement and workplace performance.

These kind of initiatives are quite popular among employees and draw a high level of participation: In 2018, over 15,000 employees volunteered in the different initiatives promoted by the company. Furthermore, during Global Volunteer Week held in September 2018, over 7,000 employees participated in the 325 solidarity activities that the company carried out in 15 countries.

In short, across the globe, BBVA employees have the opportunity to increase their awareness and work for a better world by taking part in different projects aimed at promoting education, protecting the environment, driving social inclusion, and building fair and equitable societies.

Promoting corporate responsibility

One of the bank’s priorities is to address the corporate responsibility dimension of its activity. Consequently, BBVA has become an active member of some of the world’s leading international sustainable development initiatives, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the United Nations Global Compact.

In addition, BBVA has been one of the 28 banks worldwide that have contributed to drawing up the Principles for Responsible Banking of the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative‎ (UNEP FI).

Likewise, the entity is playing a key role in promoting responsible banking committed to sustainable finance in leading international forums: BBVA Global Head of Responsible Business Antoni Ballabriga was recently appointed to co-chair the UNEP FI’s Global Steering Committee and BBVA leads the European Banking Federation’s Sustainable Finance Working Group.

Finally, in 2018 BBVA held the first edition of the BBVA Sustainable Finance Forum, an annual event aimed to foster debate on the role of the financial industry in promoting sustainable development and the fight against climate change.

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