BBVA and its foundations will devote a total of €550 million during the 2021-2025 period to fund social initiatives aimed at fostering inclusive growth in the countries where they are present. “This is the most ambitious social plan that we have implemented to date,” said BBVA CEO Onur Genç.
“Sustainability is a strategic priority for BBVA. We want to contribute to the fight against climate change and to promote inclusive growth,” explained Onur Genç, referring to the plan’s three lines of action. “First, reducing inequality and promoting entrepreneurship; second, creating opportunities for all through education; and third, supporting research and culture.”
BBVA will promote a number of initiatives to support five million entrepreneurs, offer quality education to over three million people, and provide financial education to one million people. In addition, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation will originate over €7 billion in micro-loans. In total, 100 million people will benefit from these programs during the defined time frame.
The 2021-2025 plan aims to address some of the most pressing social challenges across each region. BBVA's community outreach strategy complements its pledge to mobilize €200 billion in sustainable financing between 2018 and 2025, a goal that was recently revised upwards, doubling the original pledge of €100 billion.
Three lines of action
In the wake of the pandemic, the situation of vulnerability affecting large segments of the population has laid bare the pressing need for initiatives that promote inclusive and sustainable growth. A space where financial institutions, in general, and BBVA in particular, should play a key role. BBVA has defined the following three main lines of action and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) around which it will structure its community programs.
1.- Reduce inequality and promote entrepreneurship - SDG 8.
- Support to entrepreneurs through the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (FMBBVA). The Foundation will originate €7 billion in micro-loans to support 4.5 million vulnerable entrepreneurs. FMBBVA is Latin America’s leading and the world’s second largest private philanthropic organization in contribution to development according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is also the world’s largest contributor to development for gender equality, according to the same body.
- Fight against social and economic inequality. BBVA will devote about €115 million to support organizations focusing on providing social assistance (providing access to food, clothing, housing), and the development of financial education programs, such as Mi Jubilación (My Retirement) in Spain and online workshops in Mexico, as well as digital empowerment initiatives, which will directly benefit more than three million people.
- Likewise, a number of non-financial support programs will be carried out - including BBVA Momentum, Women Entrepreneur in Turkey or My First Company in Argentina - to support social, environmental and vulnerable entrepreneurs. Around €40 million will be allocated to fund these initiatives.
Financial Education Program at BBVA Colombia.
2.- Create opportunities for all through education - SDG 4.
BBVA will invest more than €215 million in educational programs during this period, directly benefiting more than three million people. In addition, more than 50 million people will have access to free and open educational content and materials.
- Programs offering access to quality education through the scholarship programs that BBVA has been carrying out in certain geographies since 2006, such as 'Chavos que Inspiran’ (Kids that inspire) in Mexico, the provision of educational resources or school supplies in Colombia or Venezuela or the support programs for teachers, such as 'Teachers Academy' in Turkey.
- Bridging the digital gap in education, with programs aimed at promoting connectivity and access to devices and, especially, training initiatives in digital skills in the education segment, such as the Educación Conectada (Connected Education) program in Spain.
- Open education. Initiatives that provide free access to quality educational content such as Aprendemos Juntos (We Learn Together) or blogs on financial education.
3.- Support research and culture - SDG 9.
BBVA has a long history promoting research and the dissemination of knowledge and culture, mainly through the BBVA Foundation, but also through its local foundations and units. This includes support programs for researchers and creators in the field of economics, science and culture, such as the Frontiers of Knowledge awards. Specifically, within this line of action, BBVA will allocate some €180 million facilitating access to knowledge, research and culture to 25 million people.
In addition, BBVA will resort to volunteering initiatives, which has been identified in the 2030 Agenda as a "vehicle for sustainable development," and in accordance with BBVA's purpose and values, to deliver on the goals set for each one of these lines of work.
BBVA's Community Commitment 2021-2025 focuses on communities or groups that are in a situation of vulnerability or inequality or which lack protection.
The plan’s ultimate purpose is to allocate the resources, efforts and tools to improve the lives of these people and thus foster inclusive growth, ensuring that the benefits of economic growth ripple across all spheres of society, creating opportunities for everyone and leaving no one behind.
According to the 2030 Agenda, despite the progress made in recent years in the fight against poverty, inequality remains one of the greatest challenges of our day and represents an obstacle to development, peace and the respect for human rights across the world.
BBVA develops its social programs within the framework of multi-year community outreach plans in all the countries in which the Group operates. The latest plan, developed between 2016 and 2019, benefited more than 35 million people. In 2020, besides undertaking its social programs, BBVA contributed to alleviating the impact of COVID-19 with its Social Response plan. A total of 12.2 million benefited directly from this program that same year.
This new Community Commitment is aligned with the bank’s purpose: To bring the age of opportunity to everyone; and with BBVA's current strategic priorities, namely with sustainability and financial health.