In 2019, the Business 20 (B20) – considered to be the private sector’s voice of the G20 – is seeking to showcase innovative projects that contribute to the fulfillment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, business members of this advisory body to the G20 have submitted proposals for projects that make a significant social impact. BBVA is the only Spanish bank whose five project submissions are among those selected.
This year, Japan is tasked with organizing the 2019 G20 summit. Accordingly, it holds the presidency of and will host the Business 20 (B20). As in previous years, the B20 private business forum will deliver a recommendation document to the G20 during the summit, which is scheduled to take place in Tokyo on March 13 and 15. The document will cover the following topics: 1) digital transformation; 2) trade and investment; 3) energy and the environment; 4) quality infrastructure; 5) the future of employment; 6) health; (7) integrity.
As a new element to the event, this year the B20 will present world leaders with an appendix to their recommendations: a selection of projects that contribute to the fulfillment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) currently in implementation by business forum members.
BBVA is the only large-scale Spanish bank with nominated projects, and it is responsible for five of the six projects that have been submitted by Spanish companies. Iberdrola submitted the sixth project that was selected.
What are BBVA's five projects that are contributing to the SDGs?
1. Microfinance Foundation. A staunch proponent of financial inclusion. This initiative makes a significant contribution to SDG number 1: No poverty, although it also makes a positive impact on seven other goals. The BBVA Microfinance Foundation believes that financial inclusion plays an important role in reducing poverty, because it encourages individuals in the most vulnerable segments of the population to take initiative, fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. The BBVA Microfinance Foundation, which is an independent entity, invests in the creation and ongoing support of microfinance institutions in Latin America. Its mission is to promote economic and social development, creating opportunities for individuals in at-risk conditions and facilitating responsible access to financial services. The Microfinance Foundation estimates that by 2030 it will have awarded more than $25 billion in beneficial loans to reduce poverty and promote development.
BBVA created the ‘My Retirement’ program in order to increase societal awareness about pension plans and retirement savings
2. Pledge 2025. Committed to fighting climate change. Pledge 2025 contributes to SDG 13: Climate Action. Banks play a key role in the fight against climate change. BBVA contributes to this goal thanks to a ground-breaking commitment, which it announced in 2018: to mobilize €100 billion for sustainability between 2018 and 2025. Furthermore, BBVA has defined goals with direct environmental impacts and has set itself a 2025 deadline to achieve them. It has also committed to advocating for sustainable development within the financial industry. Pledge 2025, which will align the bank's business activities to the goal of keeping global warming below 2ºC and striking a balance between sustainable energy and fossil fuel investments, is based on three lines of attack: financing, management,and engagement.
3. BBVA Open Talent. Betting on innovative ideas. This initiative contributes to the goal number 8: Decent work and economic growth. BBVA Open Talent is the largest fintech competition in the world. Each year, it welcomes startups from more than 90 countries. During the more than ten years the competition has been running, it has sought out the most innovative solutions to transform the financial sector. The BBVA Open Talent program makes it possible for participating companies – many of them still in the very beginning of the life cycles – to interact with a leading international bank. This partnership helps them overcome different challenges and make the most of the experience with the bank and the resources it offers.
4. ‘Learning Together’ and 'My retirement'. The importance of education and financial education This initiative contributes to goal 4 of the UN's SDGs. Quality Education. With its ‘Learning Together’ project, BBVA is promoting education as an opportunity to improve lives. Furthermore, BBVA created the ‘My Retirement’ program in order to increase societal awareness about pension plans and retirement savings, so that people can make informed decisions about planning for their future retirement. These are two examples of the steps BBVA has taken to promote the importance of education in general – and the knowledge and skills related to financial education specifically – as relevant themes that directly impact people's lives.
5. Transformation and new technology. This project contributes to the goal number 9: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure. BBVA is putting technology like blockchain and big data to use in order to make it easier for its customers to manage their finances. For example, big data has been used to develop applications and functionality like BBVA Valora, a tool that calculates the different costs associated with buying or renting a home and provides advice about which of the two options is most advantageous for each consumer. BBVA Valora can be used either on the smartphone with BBVA's mobile banking app or on BBVA’s web page. In the case of blockchain, the bank has used this technology to close corporate loans, specifically during the complicated process associated with arranging syndicated loans.