Green buildings to avoid leaving a mark
The so-called “green buildings” have an essential role in the preservation and care of the environment. That’s why it became one of the main goals of institutions and companies to fight against concerning issues such as climate change.
We have all heard of the environmental footprint, especially during the last years as the concern about the environment has increased. This concept, which is easy to understand, is used to refer to the impact that our daily activities, such as taking a shower or cooking, have on the planet.
Despite possibly seeming complex, reducing our environmental footprint is as simple as carrying out small actions such as using public transport, switching off the lights, recycling our garbage or consuming unpacked fresh products. Actions that most of us already carry out in our daily life.
However, if we want to take a step forward, we could carry out these kinds of actions at work, and also take responsible action with the environment in this context.
Natural resources, the key to teaming up with the environment
In order to have a positive impact on the environment, companies are aware that they have to take a step further to lead by example. We refer to projects of companies which bet on green buildings, i.e. those using natural resources to make everything work. In fact, according to Spain Green Building Council® (SPAINGBC®), buildings are responsible for 39% of CO2emissions, 40% of the power consumption, 13% of the water consumption and 15% of the annual GDP in Spain.
Apart from bodies and institutions, companies are key in this fight
That’s why many companies have already got to work to reduce the environmental footprint of their activities. In order to be qualified as “green”, a building must fulfill the next requirements:
- It must be adapted to the environment, being respectful at every moment to the environment and considering, for example, the transit, the noise, and the solar light, depending on whether it is an urban or rural zone.
- It cannot use toxic or contaminating materials, such as volatile organic compounds.
- It must be built to use the minimum needs of air conditioning and light possible, and that minimum of energy must come from renewable sources such as the sun, winter or water.
- Thinking of the inhabitants of the building, a green building must focus on their well-being, not only from the point of view of comfort, but of health.
Companies as a model of sustainable management
Those who can make the most of diminishing the consequences of climate change and preserving the environment have the power and capability of positively influencing and educating the population. Therefore, institutions have a main role, and they are increasingly aware of it.
Apart from bodies and institutions, companies are key in this fight. According to Banco Santander Execuitve Chairman, Ana Botín, “people expect that companies contribute to sustainable growth and facilitate a responsible transition towards a low level of carbon economy”.
In this way, Banco Santander, aware of the importance of its commitment to society, has established 10 responsible banking goals, highlighting those measures to protect the environment and to reduce its environmental footprint:
- By 2025, having 100% of the electricity used in all the branches come from renewable sources, as long as the source of power of the zone can be certified.
- Investing in the next six years 120,0000 million euros in green financing and 220,000 million euros up to 2030.
The commitment of the entity presided over by Ana Botín to the environment is not new.
Banco Santander has been measuring its environmental footprint since 2001 and launching different plans of efficiency, thanks to which it has considerably reduced its power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, according to the ranking “The World’s Greenest Banks” elaborated by the magazine Bloomberg Markets, Banco Santander has been awarded as the “greenest bank in the world” and recognized as the only Spanish trademark among the 50 most ecologist brands”, according to “The Best Global Green Brands”.
During the last year, the company met the goal of having all its offices and branches in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom use 100% of green power. Meanwhile, the new buildings were certified according to the international rules LEED and ISO 14001. The people responsible for the entity consider that the implementation of an environmental management system in buildings “guarantees a responsible performance with the environment and allow an ongoing improvement of the use of energy”. Likewise, this support is included in the commitment of Banco Santander to rank among the 10 best companies to workin at least six of the main geographies where it operates, as a way of responsible action with its employees.
Meanwhile, Santander Corporate & Investment Banking was designated bank of project financing of the year by the Project Finance International for investing in initiatives related to natural resources and power efficiency. In 2018, it issued green sustainable bonuses amounting to 730 million euros. It financed several projects related to the creation of electric and hybrid vehicles and sustainable agriculture and livestock.