Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Goals
“What would we do without data?” journalist Susana Roza asked at the opening session of Oracle Day, an annual event that took place in Madrid this year. More than 1,200 participants came together to talk about the future of technology. A question, if turned on its head, has an easy answer: “What can we do with data?” The possibilities are endless, as the more than 30 participating organizations — of which BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) was one — were able to confirm.
Investor appetite for sustainable products has been growing exponentially in recent years. BBVA’s Global Head of Responsible Business, Antoni Ballabriga, revealed that “This year $350 million in sustainable bonds and corporate loans will be issued around the world, 30 percent more than last year, according to data from the Institute of International Finance (IIF).” During the ‘Sustainable finance in the face of environmental challenges’ forum, organized by Spain’s National Association of Economists (Consejo General de Economistas), Ballabriga stressed that “there is still a lot to be done” and “one of the current challenges is to incorporate this trend into the SME and consumer markets.”
More than 2,600 BBVA USA employees participated in the bank’s annual Week of Service during the week of Oct. 7. Employees across the bank’s footprint participated in 227 events, including Habitat for Humanity projects, food bank initiatives, community clean up efforts, and financial education workshops for individuals and small businesses. Their efforts generated more than 8,000 volunteer hours across the bank’s footprint.
The consequences of climate change are already so obvious, it is hard to deny the extreme situation the planet is facing a climate emergency situation. The growing number of natural disasters, outbreaks of forest fires, and the extinction of hundreds of species are some of the most alarming indications of a phenomenon that threatens the survival of the planet and with it, the human species.
Angélica Valbuen lives in Cundinamarca, Colombia. She is 39 years old, works in the fields. A situation that destines them to financial exclusion if it were not for the work of institutions like the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, which helps over 150,000 women in rural areas of Latin America.
In commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the approval of the 2030 Agenda, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), BBVA is joining the #Act4SDGs to help disseminate these United Nations goals. It is doing so in collaboration with the Spanish Global Compact Network, the largest global network on sustainability and corporate responsibility, which BBVA joined in 2002.
BBVA USA today became one of the Founding Signatories of the Principles for Responsible Banking, committing to strategically align its business with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Garanti BBVA recently signed the world’s first gender loan with Turkish company Polat Energy. The $44 million loan will finance the construction of Turkey’s largest wind farm. The company’s performance will be annually assessed based on a series of gender criteria, and improvements in their performance will also enhance the terms of the loan.
Even though sustainable finance has been a fundamental issue in the social agenda for many years now, thanks to the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, the world became aware of the environmental risks and economic impact resulting from the effects of climate change. However, it is not just society that is increasingly more aware. The financial industry is also contemplating climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as relevant factors to determine their investment strategy.
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.
Sustainability is a concept that we are hearing more and more frequently because it poses a growing concern for society as a whole – for both individuals and companies. Sustainability refers to satisfying current needs without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their needs, while striking a balance between economic growth, environmental protection, and social well-being. This is a guide to explain the most common acronyms we come across when talking about sustainable finance.
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.
BBVA’s Global Head of Responsible Business, Antoni Ballabriga, has been named co-chair of UNEP-FI Global Steering Committee. UNEP FI (United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative) is a global partnership established between the United Nations and the financial sector in 1992 to promote sustainable finance.
According to the United Nations, “It is important that governments, civil society and communities work together to implement lasting solutions to reduce violence, deliver justice and ensure inclusive participation at all times.” This is the aim of Sustainable Development Goal 16: “To promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies”. BBVA contributes to this goal through its responsible banking model and commitment to human rights, to name a few.
Each year 13 million hectares (over 50,000 square miles) of forests are lost, and 22 percent of known species are in danger of extinction. As part of its commitment to preserve the environment and within the context of its Pledge 2025, BBVA endorses Sustainable Development Goal 15, which aims to promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat desertification, reverse land degradation, and halt the loss of biodiversity. This commitment is aligned with principles 7, 8, and 9 of the UN’s Global Compact.
Following a six-month public consultative process, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has this week released the final official versions of the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking and their supporting framework documents. Endorsed by more than 100 financial institutions ahead of their 22 September global launch. BBVA is one of the 30 Founding Banks for this initiative.
Over eight million tons of plastic per year. As part of its Pledge 2025, BBVA works to attain the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 by protecting marine life and financing ecology and biology research teams. The goal is the conservation of habitats and/or endangered species in Spain.
The United Nations warns about one of the most significant global issues facing humanity, as reflected in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: climate change and its impacts. “Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass 3ºC this century. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.” BBVA’s approach to business is accompanied by a firm commitment to mitigating the effects caused by climate change and integrating them into its risk management model.
In an interview with the newspaper La República de Colombia, José Manuel González-Páramo, Executive Board Member and the Head of Global Economics, Regulation and Public Affairs at BBVA, stressed the importance of digitization and its impact on people’s well-being.
In this interview, José María Roldán, Chairman of the Spanish Banking Association (AEB), emphasizes the need to make sure that “no one is left out of the digitization process and the opportunities it creates”. Just a few hours before the opening of the third edition of the EduFin Summit – which will be held at Ciudad BBVA, the bank’s corporate headquarters in Madrid, on July 11 and 12 – the AEB Chairman weighs in on the financial sector’s approach to user confidentiality matters: “It is something that is ingrained in our DNA. And this is something that is not that clear in the case of many tech operators, whose main source of income is selling data,” he says.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 entails using resources and energy efficiently, building infrastructure that doesn’t damage the environment, improving access to basic services and creating green jobs with fair pay and good labor conditions. BBVA helps to attain this SDG with sustainable action and initiatives designed to develop the economy and improve the quality of life life for everyone.
According to the United Nations, today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, a situation that will continue to escalate in the future. This has led to an increase in environmental pollution, inequality and poverty in these cities, a situation that testifies to the need to focus on advancing in UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) no. 11: To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. In this task, BBVA also has a lot to say and to do.
As part of its commitment to the societies where it has a presence and its purpose to bring the age of opportunity to everyone, BBVA contributes to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10: reduce inequality within and among countries. The 17 SDGs are a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity – an initiative that the UN has also geared toward the corporate world through public-private partnerships.
“The Sustainable Development Goals and climate change entail a transformation on the same scale as digitization, but, in this case, the stakes are much higher” This is how BBVA Global Head of Responsible Business Antoni Ballabriga described “this present moment and the opportunity and sense of urgency that we are dealing with today as societies” in the face of climate change.
Climate change is forcing countries and the private sector to gaze into the future from a different point of view, one in which technology opens new paths to contribute to the development of societies. This is the scenario based on which the UN has defined its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. BBVA has committed to – and is already – contributing to the achievement of this goal.
This Wednesday, BBVA successfully completed its second green bond issue in the wholesale debt market – the first one was in May 2018 – for the same amount, €1 billion, and with the same instrument and maturity. The transaction drew a very positive reaction from investors, with book orders exceeding €2.7 billion, a figure similar to the one reached last year. Excess demand made it possible to lower the price to mid-swap plus 103 basis points, from the initial range set at 120-125 basis points. This price entails a new zero new issue premium, just as in its first green bond issue.
Roughly half the world’s population still lives on only the equivalent of two U.S. dollars per day, whereas worldwide unemployment stands at 5.7 percent. This might seem like a low percentage, but in many parts of the world, merely having a job does not translate into being able to escape poverty. The eradication of poverty depends on all parts of society having access to stable employment and decent wages. This is the objective of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8: “Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all,” a goal BBVA works toward each day, not only internally in its relationship with its employees, but also with a business model that more broadly contributes to its fulfillment.
This week marks yet another milestone for BBVA in the European green financing arena. ESB, the leading Irish Utility, has chosen BBVA to act as green structuring bank and joint bookrunner in their inaugural EUR 500 million green bond. This is the first ever green bond issued by an Irish corporate and the net proceeds from the transaction will be destined to finance eligible green projects, mainly under the following categories: renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation and green buildings.
A commitment to sustainable development is the best guarantee for a better future. All measures aimed at improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable energy are welcome in this undertaking. This is precisely the objective of the United Nations seventh Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, an objective that BBVA is also actively supporting.
At the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) 2019 Global Conference, Garanti BBVA presented their 2018 annual consolidated report, which emphasized how important empathy is to the bank’s corporate culture and how this influences their approach to customers,clients and employees. Sinem Ozonur, BBVA Head of Consolidated Reporting at Garanti BBVA, was the first representative from a Turkish company to take the stage and address some of the more note-worthy topics.
It is a known fact that water is the source of life, and survival depends on its constant cycle. The United Nation’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) recognizes the fundamental right to water and sanitation, establishing that every human has the right to between 50 and 100 liters (13 to 26 gallons) of safe and affordable water per day at a distance of less than 1,000 meters (just over half a mile) – or a half hour – from their home. BBVA is also contributing to the fulfillment of this SDG with its ‘Pledge 2025’ specifically with activity aimed at saving water and raising awareness about the responsible use of this life-giving resource.
What if the whole world came together to eliminate poverty and hunger; ensure good health, quality education and clean water for all people and reduce inequalities? What if every country committed to work toward affordable, clean energy and responsible consumption and production? It may sound too good to be true, but through the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that’s actually happening now.
In commemoration of Earth Day, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) publicly acknowledged those companies listed on the exchange that have integrated sustainable practices into their business models, promoting sustainability with their actions, in their business dealings, and with their stakeholders. BBVA was one of the companies the American stock exchange singled out for their significant Earth-friendly efforts, like BBVA’s ‘Pledge 2025’.
An integrated and fully-entrenched capital markets union in Europe is needed to ensure an orderly transition in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. José Manuel González-Páramo, BBVA Head of Global Economics and Institutional Relations stated as much today.
As part of its commitment to the communities within its footprint, BBVA contributes to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal no. nº5: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The 17 SDGs set out by the UN are a call for action by all countries and companies to adopt specific measures to end poverty and inequality through environmental protection and the pursuit of economic development under conditions of prosperity and social justice.
More than 265 million children are not enrolled in school; 22 percent are of elementary school age. Despite global advances made across a number of fields efforts addressing education need to be redoubled to ensure that no one is left behind. United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 is summarized under the heading: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” BBVA is contributing to this SDG with important international social education programs.
Garanti Bank presented its initiatives to combat climate change at the 10th Energy Efficiency Forum and Fair. The bank has increased both its portfolio of sustainable loan options and its financing of innovative projects aimed at supporting green and renewable investments.