Santander Bank

overall rating:



Kate Michelini
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Santander Bank is not highly focused on sustainability, however, they do have detailed sustainability initiatives. I think they can do better at pushing themselves to be more sustainable in their everyday operations. Also, they should be more transparent about the progress they have made and what they need to improve on. In my opinion, they are not making a genuine effort to promote sustainability and they are doing the bare minimum, which is why I have awarded them 0.5 planets.

What it's made of:


Santander bank is the global leader in financial services as they help transform businesses and empower communities with product services and contributions to support their clients. Santander bank is a financial tool that advises its clients with simple and secure personal banking. Santander allows its clients to open savings and checking accounts, and also allows clients to explore personal loans explaining that they provide funds fast with competitive rates, flexible terms, and no required collateral.


Santander’s business model is founded on generating sustainable values for its shareholders through a customer-oriented, global scaled, and diversified strategy. Furthermore, they specifically state their strategy as creating value for shareholders. Santander creates value for all by creating engaged and talented teams that generate customer loyalty, leading to strong financial results for shareholders and allowing them to deliver support for their communities. Their business model is based on three pillars, customer focus, scale, and diversification. In order to generate stable and resilient growth over the years, they have learned to balance geographic diversification. They are able to make use of their global experience and tailor it to their markets by providing financial services to all their customers, including, individuals, companies, institutions, corporations, private banks, and universities. 


Santander Group City is Santander’s corporate headquarters claiming that their city is respectful of the environment. The building takes up 30% of the total surrounding land area leaving the remaining 70% as green areas which were reforested and repopulated with native tree species. They share printers and photocopiers to save electricity and paper. Also, they reuse and recycle. Santander claims to produce highly efficient energy consumption, however, their explanation sounds like they are maintaining the bare minimum. Therefore, I would love to see them create a sustainability plan that is backed by research, detailed, and realistic while staying transparent by tracking their progress and sharing their unforeseen problems. 

How it's made:


Santander supports the green transition and the climate goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Santander wants to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. They have outlined their goals from 2020 to 2050 starting with becoming carbon neutral in their own operations by 2020. In 2021, they removed unnecessary single-use plastics. In 2022, they plan to set the decarbonization targets for other materials sectors, including oil & gas, transport, and mining & metals. In 2025, they want to use 100% of electricity from renewable sources and raise the mobilization in green finance. In 2030, Santander will align their power generation portfolio with the Paris Agreement, stop providing financial services to power generation clients with more than 10% of revenues dependent on thermal coal, eliminate exposure to thermal coal mining, and raise the mobilization of green finance even more. By 2050, they want to reach their goal of net zero. 


While Santander’s sustainability initiatives are not embedded into their everyday services and overall company focus, they are still improving their impact on the environment. The company does a great job of sharing its sustainability ambitions and plans. Sharing their somewhat detailed plans proves their dedication to sustainability. I would love to see them tracking the progress of their net-zero plan but they are on the right track. 

Who makes it:


Santander explains their purpose is to be helping people and businesses across the U.S. prosper. They aim to be the bank of choice in each market and enhance its position as a national leader in auto finance by acting responsibly. They want to earn the loyalty of people, customers, shareholders, and communities. Further, they want to be the best open financial services platform by acting responsibly. They claim to help people and businesses prosper in an inclusive, sustainable way. 


Santander has a section on its website dedicated to identifying the board members since they believe that a responsible bank has a sound governance model. This page contains pictures of every member of the board with links to their bios. While they have a diverse management group, it does not seem that anyone on the board has prior experience with sustainability. Thus, people are not recruited based on their knowledge of sustainability which makes me think that they do not care about enhancing their sustainability initiatives.