BBVA allocated €106.3 million to social programs and initiatives that benefited 44.2 million people in 2021. This figure accounts for 20% of total planned expenditure, as announced in the Bank's Community Commitment for the period 2021-2025 (€500 million). In the first year of the period, 45% of the goal of reaching 100 million people has almost been achieved.
The number of people benefiting from one or more BBVA initiatives supporting inclusive growth in 2021 increased by 59% year-on-year. 2021 was the year in which the groundwork was laid for this commitment to the community, which the BBVA chief executive officer, Onur Genç, described in his presentation as "our most ambitious social program to date."
In this 2021, 45,7 % of the investment has been allocated to Mexico, 27,7 % to BBVA Foundation and BBVA Microfinance Foundation , 19,8 % to Spain and corporate areas, 4,8% to Turkey and 2,1 % to South America.
The plan is to allocate €550 million to community investment aimed at fostering inclusive growth in the countries where BBVA operates, reaching 100 million people.
Structured around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the plan is based on three focuses for action: reducing inequality and promoting entrepreneurship; creating opportunities for everyone through education; and supporting research and culture.
Focus for action 1: Reduce inequality and promote entrepreneurship
BBVA allocated €15.5 million (15% of the 2021 community investment) to initiatives aimed at reducing inequality and promoting entrepreneurship, which impacted SDG 8 (Target 8.3) and SDG 10 (Targets 10.2 and 10.3) and benefited 13.7 million people. Specifically, 709,644 people were trained in financial education and almost 3 million entrepreneurs were supported. These initiatives focused on the following lines of action:
- Access to basic goods and services that ensure the social well-being of people, especially vulnerable groups; financial education training to empower society by improving their financial resilience and digital skills for financial inclusion, employability and digital security.
- Financial and non-financial solutions for vulnerable entrepreneurs, including advice and training for their businesses provided by BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF). Specifically, BBVAMF helped more than 2.79 million vulnerable entrepreneurs by providing solutions to grow their business (loans and other products) and disbursed a total of €1.11 billion in micro-loans.
- Support programs for other entrepreneurs and SMEs to help them establish and/or grow their business, and develop skills for innovation, digital transformation and sustainable management of their businesses.
Focus for action 2: Create opportunities for everyone through education
The pandemic widened existing educational inequality and placed the spotlight on urgent challenges: digitalization and adaptation of school systems, and access to quality education.
To meet these challenges, BBVA invested €58.4 million in education initiatives (55% of its total 2021 community investment), reaching 22.3 million people in 2021. Of that number, 409,064 people engaged in educational programs with a direct impact on SDG 4, specifically Targets 4.1 and 4.c.. These initiatives are focused in the following lines of action:
- Close the digital gap on education and school adaptation to ensure educational continuity.
- Support access to quality education with scholarships, programs to develop values and skills, partnerships with public education systems and support programs for higher education and occupational training.
- Offer quality, accessible and useful open education for everyone.
Focus for action 3: Support research and culture
BBVA has a long track record promoting research and culture through the BBVA Foundation (BBVAF). In 2021, the bank allocated €27.1 million (25% of total community investment) to projects and activities related to these areas, impacting SDG 9 (Target 9.5) and SDG 11 (Target 11.4), reaching 8.2 million people. Specifically, the lines of work on this focus for action are:
- Support researchers and creators in the field of science, the arts or the economy with scholarships, awards and financial aid through the FBBVA and the BBVA Center for Financial Literacy and Skills.
- Support research and knowledge generation through events and other actions to make cutting-edge insights available to everyone, thus serving society.
- Support arts and culture through partnerships with leading organizations to promote cultural activities and make them accessible to everyone.
The remaining 5% of the 2021 community investment was allocated to other social programs, not aligned to these three focuses for action.
A girl participates in the program Leer es estar adelante of BBVA in Peru.
One of the cornerstones of the approaches taken for BBVA's Community Commitment is volunteering. In 2021, more than 9,000 employees engaged in volunteer initiatives promoted by Group units, dedicating more than 26,000 hours (69% during working hours and 31% outside working hours). In addition, BBVA promotes cooperation and collaboration through commitments and alliances for sustainable and inclusive development, contributing to SDG 17.
In 2022, BBVA will continue to move forward with its Community Commitment, which is aligned with the Bank's purpose: to bring the age of opportunity to everyone.
BBVA follows the widely recognized standard Business for Societal Impact (formerly London Benchmarking Group) to measure its contribution to society. This methodology provides quantitative indicators that aggregate scores and benchmark across those metrics participating companies. It is an international standard recognized by the world reference index in terms of sustainability, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), where BBVA holds the first position in its category, and is also recognized by reporting standards, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).