Santander and BBVA, among the ten banks with the greatest capacity to capitalize on the sustainable business opportunity

Santander Y BBVA are the two Spanish banks included among the ten with the greatest capacity to capitalize on the sustainable business opportunity, as reflected in the report GreenPace made by Alvarez & Marsal.


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The study classifies the 25 main European and North American banks according to their sustainable business generation capabilities. The classification is based on four sustainability criteria: green products, alignment to zero emissions, customer advice and execution of transition plans.

Santander occupies the fourth position and BBVA the ninth, while CaixaBank also appears in the ranking, in twenty-fifth position. The entity chaired by Ana Botín stands out especially for its advice to clients and the execution of transition plans, ranking above banks such as BNP Paribas, UBS or ING.

The report also reveals that British banks are the ones that lead in sustainable business practices compared to entities from other countries, with NatWest, Barclays and HSBC leading the ranking. US banks fared worse, with only one entity (JP Morgan Chase & Co) in the ‘top 10’, due to their lower maturity in relation to ESG practices and commitments.

The head of Alvarez & Marsal Spain and Portugal, Fernando de la Mora, recalled that international banks have declared that the transition towards zero emissions could mean a great business opportunity.

“Banking’s sustainability strategies are evolving from mere regulatory compliance to a wide range of initiatives that can bring new revenue streams and innovative solutions to their customers. More and more financial institutions are putting the sustainability at the center of its strategic priorities and we believe our Green Pace ranking will serve as a guide to help industry leaders capitalize on ESG criteria as a business opportunity.”

Leaders for each sustainability criterion

Alvarez & Marsal estimates that the 25 entities analyzed have committed to allocate 13,000 million euros to sustainable financing until 2030, a figure that represents 37% of total bank assets. Commerzbank came out on top in this section, having set its sustainable funding target at 80% of its total assets by 2030, the highest in the industry.

Regarding the alignment to zero emissions of each bank, most banks have committed to phase out coal financing in the EU/OECD by 2030 and globally by 2040. ING leads this field thanks to its ‘Terra’ zero emissions alignment tool and the detail provided in its reports.

Regarding advice to clients, different energy transition solutions were analyzed for related clients and the execution of transition plans was conditioned to the involvement of banks in it, through investment in climate technology, innovative strategic alliances and digital platforms. While Santander is among the top five banks in these last two areas, it is Lloyds Bank and Crédit Agricole that lead each of them, respectively.

The Article Is In Spanish🡽

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