In 2015, faced with one of humanity’s greatest challenges – climate change, all of the United Nations Member States agreed to create the foundations to ensure a future for everyone. This ultimately resulted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which lays down the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Planet, People, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships.
A roadmap to achieve a common social objective: sustainable global and human development, reinforced by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the European Green Deal to progress towards a carbon neutral economy.
At Banco Sabadell, we are firm in our commitment to support and accelerate these important economic and social changes. We have decided to align our business objectives with the SDGs, incorporating environmental, social and governance commitments into our strategy. To that end, we have established four key courses of action on which work is already underway: progressing as a Sustainable Institution, supporting customers in the transition towards a sustainable economy, offering investment opportunities that contribute to sustainability, and working together for a sustainable and cohesive society. Read more in Commitment to Sustainability.
The journey towards sustainability
140 years ago, the founders of Banco Sabadell set themselves the goal of creating a bank that would promote business development in a responsible, open and transparent way, ensuring companies’ sustained and long-lasting growth.
The customer relationship would go beyond simply offering solutions and financial assistance, it would also entail being there for customers in the long-run and helping them with major challenges along the way: firstly internationalisation, later the incorporation of technology and now digitisation and the transition to sustainability.
A journey towards sustainability with actions such as investment and financing in renewable energy projects and the creation of the Banco Sabadell Foundation in the 1990s, which over time has included significant milestones such as the signature of the United Nations Global Compact in 2005, the adoption of the Equator Principles in 2011 and adherence to the Principles of Responsible Banking or the Collective Climate Action Commitment in 2019, or more recently, support for the Task Force on Climated-related Discloures (TFCD) in 2020 and membership of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) in 2021. A pathway embodied by the Commitment to Sustainability in 2022.
ESG strategy and our Commitment to Sustainability
Here at Banco Sabadell we align our strategy with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, in order to support and accelerate the important economic and social transformations that contribute to sustainable development and the fight against climate change.
We continue to make progress in defining our Commitment to Sustainability, a framework for action that incorporates a forward-looking vision of environmental, social and governance commitments into our strategy. To do this, we have brought on board all of the Institution’s corporate bodies and we have established four strategic pillars, which we are already working on.
In line with our commitment and the main targets in relation to ESG:
It is important for the Institution to be neutral in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, make progress in the area of diversity, ensure talent and continue incorporating ESG criteria into our governance arrangements.
It is vital to establish decarbonisation pathways with our customers, to support them during this transition, and to set sectoral standards that limit controversial activities.
Increase investment opportunities that contribute to sustainability, by offering a wide range of social, ethical, green and sustainability bonds and funds, both our own and those of third parties.
And, lastly, in our commitment to society we believe that it is essential to take an active role to improve financial education, drive forward inclusion, and ensure secure transactions and exchanges of information.
Integration of the SDGs into the strategy
In keeping with its vision, Banco Sabadell continues to steer its activity, organisation and processes in order to make a firm contribution to sustainability and the fight against climate change. To this end, it aligns its sustainability strategy and business model with frameworks of reference, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)1, which it revisits periodically so as to bring itself closer in line with, and expedite its achievement of, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.
Although the ability to directly or indirectly influence the contribution of all SDGs is thought to be an important element of the Bank’s corporate purpose, given the nature of its business and its potential to make an impact, the Bank believes that its priority should be to focus on acting in pursuit of the following SDGs:
For more details about our contribution to all SDGs, see Annex 5 "SDG Alignment" of the Non-Financial
(1) In 2019, Banco Sabadell adopted the framework of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and identified those that were relevant to the Institution, setting these as priority SDGs, in turn integrating them into its sustainability strategy.
Framework for the issuance of bonds linked to the SDGs
In July 2020, Banco Sabadell launched its framework for the issuance of bonds linked to the SDGs. It identifies sustainable goals that Banco Sabadell is currently promoting, as well as those that it aims to promote in the future.
In line with the voluntary guidelines of the ICMA’s Green Bond Principles (GBP), Social Bond Principles (SBP) and Sustainability Bond Guidelines (SBG), this framework defines the priority areas of action and identifies the criteria on the basis of which Banco Sabadell will promote its issuance of green, social and sustainability bonds.
Green bonds will target projects with environmental benefits, such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, pollution prevention and climate change adaptation. The categories in this area prioritise renewable energy, pollution control and prevention, sustainable water management, clean transportation, energy efficiency and green buildings.
Social bonds focus on generating benefits that provide access to essential services, facilitate social inclusion and promote the generation and maintenance of employment.
Sustainability bonds finance a combination of green and social activities.
The Bank has adapted its governance model and organisational structure to focus on sustainability.
In March 2021, the General Shareholders’ Meeting approved the creation of the Strategy and Sustainability Committee, a new Delegated Board Committee with the aim of:
Monitoring the execution of the sustainability strategy.
Reporting regularly to the Board on matters related to the sustainability strategy.
Reviewing the sustainability and environmental policies.
On the other hand, the organisational structure based on a system of three lines of defence has been adapted in order to include new responsibilities in relation to ESG matters, strengthening the business, macroeconomic, financial, risk and control areas, among others. It is also worth highlighting that the Sustainability Division reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Furthermore, in order to enhance the disclosure and communication of Sustainability topics to stakeholders, the Rating and Sustainability Disclosure Division was created in 2021.