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When You Think of Sustainability - Think BBVA

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BBVA is an organization with a transformational purpose: to create a positive impact on the lives of people, companies and society as a whole and “to bring the age of opportunity to everyone.”


Ricardo Laiseca BBVA 400x400.jpg
Ricardo Laiseca, Head of BBVA's Global Sustainability Office

At BBVA, we have been working on sustainability for years and have positioned the bank as one of the global leaders in sustainable finance.

The results of these efforts can be seen in our presence in the main sustainability indices, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, where (as of November 23, 2020) BBVA ranked first in Europe and third in the world.

Another example of our leadership and commitment to sustainability is the bank’s Pledge 2025 initiative, which seeks to mobilize €100 billion of capital to fight climate change and drive sustainable development by 2025.

2020 - a year to build on

Looking back, 2020 has been an exceptional year for the promotion of sustainability. In fact, 2020 was a record year for issuance of green, social and sustainable bonds, reaching €430 billion – up 55% on 2019, with social bonds in particular recording strong growth.

BBVA was at the heart of this growth, underwriting 43 new issues for a total value of €25.3 billion across the asset class. In addition, BBVA was elected as a member of the International Capital Market Association’s Advisory Council of the Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles.

It has also been another year of innovation for BBVA. The bank broke ground by carrying out the first issuance of a Covid-19 social bond from a private financial institution in Europe, and it was also the first bank in the world to place a green convertible contingent bond.

BBVA also participated in various high-profile transactions in Europe, such as the inaugural Daimler and Volkswagen green bonds – the first such issues in the European automotive industry.

BBVA has been an active promoter of some of the most important international sustainable finance initiatives, such as the UN Principles for Responsible Banking.

We also led on the innovative energy transition bond from Snam, the Italian energy infrastructure operator, creating an important framework for future issuance in this market.

BBVA has also been particularly active in the sustainable lending market, where loans totaled €137.4 billion during the first nine months of 2020, a 1% increase compared to a year earlier.

Sustainability-linked loans have now become the preferred lending format, representing over 80% of the total volume of green and sustainable lending worldwide – up from less than 20% in 2017.

Interestingly, European borrowers accounted for 60% of the overall sustainable lending, led by facilities for Italian energy group Enel, Denmark’s AP Moller-Maersk, German truck maker Traton Group and Siemens Energy Global.

BBVA was again at the heart of this, as a leading underwriter of green and sustainable loans globally and across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Financing, innovation and advice

Yet we at BBVA believe that our role as a bank goes beyond simply financing. Indeed, we are focused on innovation in all of our products, from capital markets to supply chain finance. We are also scaling up our sustainable finance advisory teams to offer our clients the best solutions – anytime, anywhere.

What’s more, we believe digitizing sustainable finance could be a game changer. Mobile platforms and data analytics are already bringing sophisticated financial services to mass markets, helping to finance SMEs and promoting more sustainable habits in consumer spending. Digitization provides us with an opportunity to reshape finance – important now, more than ever, given the current global health crisis.

Here are three examples of where BBVA has used technology and digitization to help clients transition towards a more sustainable future:

  • BBVA issued the first ever blockchain-supported green bond for an insurance company. It was an entirely digital process in which the negotiation of the structure, pricing and the creation of the documentation for the bond ran under the same blockchain platform.

  • BBVA was also the world’s first bank to use data analytics to calculate corporate carbon footprint. Now our clients can track their emissions and energy costs, and we offer them practical recommendations regarding the measures that could be adopted to increase revenues and efficiency.

  • BBVA is partnering with local trade bodies to help their enterprise clients improve their energy efficiency. We recently started to work with the meat industry and agribusiness, and thanks to our data-driven advisory capabilities, clients are now reporting savings of up to 45% of their energy bill.

Despite all the work that has already been done, and the successes BBVA has already had, we understand that sustainability is a journey, not a destination.

BBVA will continue its own transformation as an organization, and help its clients in their sustainable journey. The ultimate goal for us is that when you think of sustainability, you think of BBVA.