Santander has been working to develop and implement a bespoke model to understand and account for the social and economic impact of the Bank in the communities where it operates. This includes impact generated through “business as usual” banking activities, and also though specific community investment.
The Santander methodology takes account of international frameworks, methodologies and standards for non-financial information and reporting. Guidance from the London Benchmarking Group (LBG) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) were considered in particular in the construction of the Santander framework.The methodology also aims to map the Bank’s impacts according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as they serve as a useful aid in framing the work for internal decision making and external reporting purposes. Santander views reporting in-line with the SDGs as a priority concern, as reporting SDG progress demonstrates the extent of company commitment to the goals, and the way in which the Bank contributes to society.
From the very outset, the process of drawing up the Santander impact measurement methodology was subject to recommendations by the auditor of the Sustainability Report, as data generated were to be made public and verified by an external auditor. The overall message from this audit has been that the methodology developed is solid and yields highly robust results.
Not only are the results of the Santander program communicated externally, they are also used internally to determine the variable remuneration of senior management. The achievement of 4.5 million people helped (in the 2016-2018 timeframe) is incorporated as part of a 5% weighting in the calculation of the variable components of executive directors’ remuneration. Integrating societal impact into remuneration in this manner helps to secure top management support and to embed the concept of “value to society” throughout the organization.
Going forwards, the data and outcomes from these methodologies will be incorporated into the design of new initiatives seeking to maximize impact and alignment with Santander’s purpose; to help people and business prosper.