BBVA's environmental footprint has decreased considerably in the past two years. In 2021, energy consumption per employee was 14% lower than in 2019, water consumption was 5% lower and paper consumption was 32% lower. Net waste per employee dropped by 52% over the same period.
BBVA has introduced an ambitious climate action strategy in the form of a Global Eco-Efficiency Plan that sets year-on-year targets for reducing direct impacts: a decrease in electricity consumption per employee by 10% and total energy consumption by 7%, a 11% reduction in water and paper consumption, and a 4% decrease in net waste are just some of the targets set out in the Plan for the period 2021-2025.
The comparative environmental impact data disclosed by BBVA in its 2021 management report—and more recently in expanded form in the TCFD report—takes 2019 as the baseline year, since the 2020 data is distorted by the effects of the pandemic.
In 2021, the bank achieved a 67.5% reduction in its direct carbon dioxide emissions worldwide compared to 2015, coming close to the 68% target set for 2025. Moreover, in 2021, 79% of energy consumption in BBVA's facilities worldwide came from renewable sources, exceeding the 70% target set in the bank’s 2025 commitment on direct environmental impacts. BBVA became carbon neutral in terms of direct emissions in 2020. In 2021, the bank offset more than 102,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Supporting the circular economy
One of the key drivers of accelerating climate change is waste generation as a result of linear consumption practices. BBVA therefore supports the transition toward circular consumption through sustainable construction standards and implementation of ISO 14001 certified environmental management systems. To minimize the volume of waste sent to landfills, at its facilities the bank provides clearly delimited areas for accurate waste sorting in aid of subsequent recycling.
BBVA has launched a range of recycling initiatives: in 2018, for instance, the bank rolled out the BBVA plastic-free initiative as part of its sustainability strategy. BBVA partnered with Sodexo, its catering supplier, to eliminate plastic used at its headquarters and offices around the world as far as possible, and to replace plastic packaging and cutlery with biodegradable materials.
Elsewhere, the bank, together with Sodexo, donates surplus food from the restaurants at its Madrid corporate headquarters to the San Juan Bautista de la Orden de Malta soup kitchen, under the umbrella of the Banco de Alimentos food bank charity.
BBVA recently received the 'Hacia Residuo Cero' certificate from AENOR for its Madrid headquarters and for its back-office processing center in Malaga. The certificate recognizes the bank's beneficial role in waste recovery and accurate waste sorting for recycling, which supports a successful circular economy.