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Latin America’s best bank for sustainable finance 2021: Santander

ESG has surged in importance as a financing theme in Latin America over the past 12 months. Financial institutions of all sizes and types have been scrambling to emphasize how the components of ESG are now core to business strategy. It’s often hard to see through the messaging, but that’s not the case with Santander. The bank is truly a leader in embedding sustainable finance in the business. Its group executive chairman Ana Botín has championed the bank’s net-zero carbon ambitions, but it’s under the leadership of Santander’s group chief executive, Jose Antonio Álvarez, that the bank has become a sustainability leader in Latin America.

Many of the sustainable initiatives are global but have particular resonance in this region. For example, the bank’s expansion in micro-finance, which has a particular focus on supporting female entrepreneurs, has had a strong impact. In Mexico, Santander corporate and investment banking (SCIB) was also joint lead manager and bookrunner for the country’s first ever gender bond, financing a portfolio of new and existing loans targeting women as beneficiaries in financial inclusion, employment and entrepreneurship.

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