What is BBVA doing to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies?
According to the United Nations, “It is important that governments, civil society and communities work together to implement lasting solutions to reduce violence, deliver justice and ensure inclusive participation at all times.” This is the aim of Sustainable Development Goal 16: “To promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies”. BBVA contributes to this goal through its responsible banking model and commitment to human rights, to name a few.
To face these challenges, societies should establish more effective and transparent regulations, as well as comprehensive and realistic government budgets. But, what should be done to achieve this? The United Nations points to freedom as the linchpin. Being able to express opinions - both in public and in private - and make independent decisions is imperative. To do so, the laws and policies must be applied without any form of discrimination and possible controversies resolved through political and justice systems that actually work. Also, national and local institutions must be accountable to society while providing basic services to families and different communities in an equitable and just manner.
Violence, in all of its forms, and insecurity are destructive to a country’s development and affect all aspects of society - the health, development and wellbeing of children, as well as their ability to thrive. Similarly, the lack of access to access means that conflicts go unaddressed and people cannot obtain protection.
BBVA, for a just, peaceful and inclusive society
The bank is a strong advocate of sustainable development, which among other premises means promoting more pacific and inclusive societies that facilitate access to justice for all and building effective, responsible and inclusive institutions at all levels. As one of the leading banks in the global financial industry, BBVA understands that these concepts must be integrated in companies’ overall business model. In order to help attain Sustainable Development Goal 16, BBVA has launched a variety of initiatives, such as its responsible banking model, prevention of the financing of controversial weapons, commitment to human rights and implementation of corporate volunteering policies.
- Developing a responsible banking model. This is reflected in the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy and Responsible Banking Policy - a policy whose mission is to manage the responsibility of the bank’s impact on people and society, which is key to fulfilling BBVA’s purpose. All of the Group’s business and support areas are integrated in this policy and its operational models. The Responsible Business Department coordinates its implementation, mainly to help define standards and provide second-line support. The responsible banking model is supervised by the Board of Directors and its different committees, as well as by the bank’s senior management.
- Avoid financing controversial weapons. To do so, BBVA updated its Defense Rules, which entered into force this year.
- Commitment to human rights. BBVA is aware that human rights, as universal norms, provide an important moral foundation to fulfill our purpose to “bring the age of opportunity to everyone”. Respect for the dignity of all human beings and their inherent rights constitute an essential requirement that the BBVA Group ties to its commitment to promote and preserve the wellbeing of the different social environments where it conducts its business. BBVA has a Commitment to Human Rights that aims to guarantee respect for the dignity of all human beings and their inherent rights. From this perspective, the bank has decided to identify the social and labor risks resulting from its activity in different areas and countries where it does business. After identifying these risks, the Group manages their possible impact through processes specifically designed for this purpose (for example, the due diligence process for project finance under the Equator Principles) or through processes that currently exist to integrate a human rights perspective (like the supplier approval process or diversity policy). In addition, the methodology to identify, evaluate and manage BBVA’s reputational risk is an essential component of this management, as the assessment of reputational risks underscores that human rights have the potential to affect the bank’s reputation.
- Corporate volunteering policy. The bank commits to facilitate employees doing volunteer work that has a social impact. Activities designed to reinforce BBVA initiatives or initiatives coordinated by BBVA related to education, primarily financial education. In 2018, BBVA held its first Global Volunteer Week, in which employees from around the world could do their part, participating in a variety of different activities like reforestation or rehabilitation of the Chapultepec forest, which is close to the BBVA Tower in Mexico, or financial education programs for children in Uruguay. In fact, in Spain alone, over 1,200 employees participated in 90 different activities, including clothing and food drives, cleaning up natural spaces or collaborating with the protection of animals.
BBVA and the SDGs
Pledge 2025 is part of BBVA’s efforts to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Spearheaded by the United Nations, the SDGs are a universal call to adopt measure to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. These 17 goals include new fields such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. Thanks to its broad range of businesses - including the BBVA Microfinance Foundation and its global footprint - the BBVA Group contributes to all these goals.
With its Pledge 2025, BBVA is contributing to the fight against climate change and committing to sustainable development. With this initiative, the bank intends to mobilize €100 billion by 2025 to fight against climate change and foment sustainable infrastructure, as well as mitigate its environmental footprint and involve the entire industry in promoting sustainable development.