19 November 2019. Banco Santander has become the first financial institution in Spain to obtain AENOR's 'Zero Waste' certification.
'Zero Waste' recognises that the waste generated in the Financial City, Santander's corporate headquarters, is reintroduced into the value chain, guaranteeing that at least 90% of the waste is recycled. A process whose nerve centre is located at a recycling facility of over 1,000 square metres, equipped with innovative equipment for separating, compacting or pressing 30 different types of waste items.
This doesn't imply that waste is no longer generated in its facilities, but it does mean that the company is committed to establishing plans and programmes for its gradual reduction. Since January 2019, more than 1.8 million kilos of waste have been treated.
Obtaining this certification demonstrates Santander's firm commitment to sustainability, respect for the environment and collaboration with the circular economy as a responsible bank; a commitment based on four fundamental pillars: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. Thus, the circle of product life cycles is closed and the hierarchical pyramid of current management based on "use and throw" is reversed; every waste item from one process can be a raw material for another.
For Belén Sánchez Miguel, Director of General Services and Internal Insurance, "this is the result of the great work of the Waste Management team over the last few years, together with the commitment and involvement of all employees. We are very proud of the social and environmental contribution that it represents, which encourages us to continue keep striving every day with enthusiasm to continue accomplishing further achievements."
José Magro, AENOR's Sustainability and CSR Manager noted that "this certificate is in line with the circular economy guidelines and it assists compliance with the regulatory developments that will be published shortly, ensuring that organisations minimise and assess the different waste fractions that they generate on a continuous basis. That is, they are designated to be reused, recycled or recovered with energy recovery and are not destined to landfill. In addition, it can improve waste management costs." Magro also stressed that this AENOR certification contributes to the transformation of society, creating trust between people and organisations.
All the measures adopted represent a significant energy saving and a reduction in greenhouse gases, thanks to the efforts made by the supervisory teams in the Financial City, the implementation of a new model for management, equipment, personnel training, information and awareness of the more than 4,500 inhabitants of the City and of controlling and monitoring the results.
From now on, Banco Santander will continue to strive towards enhancing its AENOR certified management system and the integration of the 'Zero Waste' certification into the day-to-day operations of the Financial City with the aim of increasing the robustness of the management system introduced, reducing the generation of packaging waste by 12% in 2021 and the promotion of measures such as the elimination of paper tablecloths in the City's different dining rooms, the use of recycled paper napkins, biodegradable cups or the implementation of sustainable vending machine items in buildings.
Santander is a founding signatory of the initiative the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking. (UNEP FI). The bank is also included in other indices that analyse and assess the efforts of listed companies in the field of sustainability such as the FTSE4Good or the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.