Gap Score: -0.9
  • In 2012, Banco Santander launched an energy-efficiency project called 20-20-15, which aimed to reduce energy consumption by 20% and CO2 emissions by 20% by the year 2015. This plan implements energy saving measures in buildings and banking offices in the top 10 countries where the project operates. Also in 2012, Santander took a big first step in reducing its global CO2 emissions by 11%. While the brand’s CO2 reductions were not as dramatic in 2013, Santander reduced its electricity use by 14.4%, while increasing its green energy use 47.3%. In total, 34% of the energy Santander consumes comes from renewables.

  • Santander reduced its paper and cardboard use by 8.5% in 2013, which is a 6.7% reduction per employee.

  • Although Santander made progress with its water consumption in 2012, which declined almost 4% from the previous year, in 2013 its water consumption rose 2.4%.

  • Santander innovated a smart card (tarjeta universitaria inteligente) designed for university students to use as a form of student ID, library card, and public transportation card as well as an ATM/debit card. Although the smart card was launched in 1995, it is now in use at more than 200 universities in 13 countries. In 2013, this program was expanded to the United States through Sovereign Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Santander.

Working Together

For more than 16 years, Banco Santander has worked with universities through a unique partnership that distinguishes it from other banks and financial institutions. The bank invested 142 million euros in universities in 2013, maintained 1,115 collaborative agreements with them in 20 countries, and has 4,460 collaborative projects with universities that are currently active. Santander also supports communities by contributing to their social and economic development through projects that promote children’s education, financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, culture, and the environment. In 2013, the bank invested 45 million euros in community development, encouraged 32% of its staff to volunteer for community causes, and participated in 3,715 partnerships with social organizations, institutions, and agencies.

The Green Advantage

Banco Santander has performed steadily in the sustainability arena in 2013, and is the only bank to make our Best Global Green Brands list. Both the Financial Times and International Finance Corporation (a World Bank Group agency) awarded Santander “The Sustainable Bank of the Year” for a second time, praising the company’s three sustainability themes: social and financial inclusion, education programs, and support for social and environmental business projects. Santander has demonstrated its commitment to communities around the globe by contributing to their social and economic development through investing in diverse initiatives to promote children’s education, financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, culture, and the environment. Some of Santander’s most relevant recent projects include investing in financing electric, hybrid, and low-carbon vehicles (its current portfolio includes 15,342 vehicles for a total of US$272 million) and launching employee awareness programs like the "Go Green" campaign in the U.K., the "Sustainability Everywhere" competition in Brazil, and the "Reforesting Mexico" initiative. The bank is also strongly committed to reducing paper waste, energy consumption, and CO2 emissions. A full 34% of the energy the bank uses comes from renewables like wind farms, hydro plants, and solar thermal installations in Brazil, Spain, the U.S., Mexico, the U.K., and Uruguay. As the world’s most sustainable bank according to our analysis, Santander will undoubtedly continue to lead as a green brand if it continues to invest in and support the communities it operates in, while managing its environmental impact.


Banco Santander named “Sustainable Global Bank of the Year”
Santander’s 2013 Sustainability Report
Santander’s university smart card introduced to the United States through Sovereign Bank