On February 28, BBVA unveiled its climate change and sustainable development strategy ‘Pledge 2025’. A cornerstone of this pledge is the sector norms which enable the bank to address specific matters of sustainability with particular environmental and social impact (mining, energy, infrastructure and agribusiness) and provide clear guidance on the procedures to follow in the management of clients and transactions in these sectors. These rules embody the Commitment to Human Rights that BBVA took on board in 2008 and which has recently been updated.
BBVA complies with its functions rigorously and before making any financial decisions, it assesses the potential social and environmental impact of the projects in which it takes part. As a global enterprise with operations in dozens of countries, we are signees of the United Nations’ Principles on Business and Human Rights, and Sustainable Development Goals and, since 2004, an adoptee of the Equator Principles. The bank is also involved in a number of sector initiatives, such as the Thun Group on Human Rights, of which we are a member.
Moreover, in February, we assumed an even greater public commitment with the publication of sector norms for mining, energy, infrastructure and agribusiness, considered industry best practice.
To define its strategy, BBVA consulted multiple stakeholder groups, including ShareAction, a sector leading non-profit group that promotes responsible investment practices in environmental, social and corporate governance issues, which warmly welcomed BBVA’s new commitments.
The norms place BBVA within the top 10 best practices in the world of 42 banks analyzed specifically on tar sands policies by Banktrack, the leading non-profit activist in environmental and human rights issues in the financial sector. Indeed, BBVA is not on the list of 36 of the world’s biggest banks with exposure to extreme fossil fuels (coal, tar sands, Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil exploration, liquefied natural gas).
BBVA’s energy sector norms include, among others, project finance for tar sand exploration and production (page 17 of the sector norms). BBVA has no exposure at present in financing tar sand exploration, production and even transport projects. In addition, we have no projects of this type under study.
The sector norms are reviewed periodically and updated each year.