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Santander, Goldman ‘World’s Greenest Banks’

Banco Santander has been declared the world’s greenest bank in rankings by Bloomberg Markets magazine.

Eight of the top ten banks are based in Europe, which Bloomberg says reflects the European Union’s emissions-reduction policies. The EU carbon market is the world’s biggest.

New York-based Goldman Sachs Group ranked second overall, and ranked first for green investing. Italy’s UniCredit SpA came in third, and Credit Suisse Group AG came in fourth. The U.S.-based Citigroup ranked fifth.

Bloomberg Markets compared banks’ efforts at emissions and waste reduction and their investments in clean energy. It only examined banks with capitalizations of more than $10 billion that are members of major national benchmark indices, such as Standard & Poor’s 500, the FTSE 350 and the Nikkei 225.

Bloomberg said the Madrid-based Santander rose to the top for its in-house conservation and environmentally friendly investments, including the arrangement of a $324 million loan for a wind farm developed last year by BP and Sempra Energy. Of the bank’s 40 deals closed so far this year, 90 percent involved renewable energy, Bloomberg said.

Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse collaborated on the management of a $3 billion initial public offering (IPO) for Enel Green Power, an Italian renewable power operator. Goldman also co-led the IPO for California-based Tesla Motors, the company behind the all-electric Roadster sports car.

UniCredit arranged $1.4 billion of loans for wind farms, solar facilities and waste-to-energy plants last year, Bloomberg said.

The top ten:

  1. Banco Santander (Spain)
  2. Goldman Sachs (U.S.)
  3. UniCredit (Italy)
  4. Credit Suisse (Switzerland)
  5. Citigroup (U.S.)
  6. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (Spain)
  7. Royal Bank of Scotland (U.K.)
  8. Societe Generale (France)
  9. HSBC Holdings (U.K.)
  10. BNP Paribas (France)
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3 thoughts on “Santander, Goldman ‘World’s Greenest Banks’

  1. While Santander and the other awardees are certainly to be lauded for their accomplishments, it is a bit disappointing not to see US banks featuring more prominently on this list. In some cases, perhaps more US banks deserve to be on this list; Bank of America, for instance, has made a fairly significant $20 billion commitment to financing climate change solutions and is rated by ClimateCounts as the leader in US climate action. In general, however, it is clear that European institutions are at the forefront of the green lending paradigm.

    The banking industry, along with insurance and other financial services, is in an exciting position to facilitate a more sustainable future through underwriting and lending decisions. US banks stand to gain by studying these practices at their global peers and better capitalizing on green lending opportunities.

  2. I applaud Bloomberg Markets for developing and publishing a green bank ranking. Banks that commit to and invest in reducing their environmental impacts and providing capital towards climate change mitigation should be recognized. Bloomberg should consider brodening the criteria for ranking banks, i.e. in terms of operational footprint, they should consider sustainable supply chain and procurement. We are advising some US-based banks and hope, that as a group, they will have a better showing in the 2012 rankings.

  3. I see the Royal Bank of Scotland is on the list. How did this happen as this “‘oyal Bank of Scotland” is the UK’s biggest lender to companies operating the energy intensive Canadian tar sands extraction projects, lending $7.5 billion over 3yrs from 2007-2009?

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