Our Sustainable Development Goals and Contributions

At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UN) held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, a series of goals were set up to tackle environmental, political and economic challenges around the world. Three years later, world leaders adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which constituted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. This was an international call to prevent poverty, fight climate change, and ensure that all humanity can live in peace and prosperity around the world.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consist of 17 main interconnected objectives on issues such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice. This interconnectedness means that working toward one goal has the potential to create value in other fields. For example, our efforts to combat climate change can affect how we manage our natural resources. Ensuring gender equality plays an important role in poverty prevention, while peace and justice contribute to social welfare.

An Overview of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

No Poverty, the first of the Sustainable Development Goals, aims to eliminate all forms of poverty everywhere. The second goal, Zero Hunger, focuses on ending hunger, ensuring food safety, ensuring better nutrition security and supporting sustainable agriculture. The goal of Good Health and Well-being focuses on securing healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages, while Quality Education focuses on ensuring high-quality, inclusive and egalitarian education and supporting lifelong learning for all.

The aim of Gender Equality is to ensure gender equality and to empower all women and girls, while the 6th goal, Clean Water and Sanitation, supports accessibility and sustainable management of water and sanitary conditions for all. Today, as demand for energy is increasing, ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy falls under the Affordable and Clean Energy goal.

The Decent Work and Economic Growth goal promotes uninterrupted, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. The Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure objective focuses on building robust infrastructures, supporting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and strengthening innovation. The goal of Reduced Inequality is to reduce inequalities within and between countries, while Sustainable Cities and Communities aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, durable and sustainable.

Responsible Consumption and Production aims to secure sustainable consumption and production patterns by increasing awareness of the fact that an increased scarcity of resources and the effects of climate change have led to a decrease in natural resources. The 13th objective, Climate Action, urges governments, institutions and organizations to take immediate action to combat climate change and its effects. In an era when the loss of biodiversity is over a thousand times the natural rate, the Life Below Water goal covers the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. On the other hand, the Life On Land goal emphasizes the importance of protecting, developing and supporting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainable management of forests, combating desertification, stopping and reversing terrestrial degradation and preventing the loss of biodiversity.

The objective of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions is to support peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, to ensure access to justice for all, and to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Finally, Partnerships for the Goals aims to strengthen implementation tools and revitalize global partnerships for sustainable development.

Garanti BBVA and Its Sustainable Development Goals

We integrate sustainability issues into our decision-making and business processes to create long-term value for our stakeholders. Within the framework of our Sustainability Principles created for this purpose, we are focusing on issues that are strategically important both for our bank and for our stakeholders, and we carry out activities that create value. We aim to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through efforts in six key areas: Customer Focus,
Financial Performance, Corporate Governance and Risk Management, Digital Transformation, Investment in Human Capital, and Responsible and Sustainable Development.

Our Areas of Focus

Customer Focus

Financial Performance

Corporate Governance and Risk Management

Digital Transformation

Investment in Human Capital

Responsible and Sustainable Development


Customer Focus: Through our projects developed with a focus on customer experience we are supporting Sustainable Development Goals 5, 8, 9 and 10: Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, and Reduced Inequalities.

Our responsible banking approach is at the heart of our customer experience strategy. We adopt a “transparent”, “understandable” and “responsible” approach to customers, and offer products and services tailored to their needs.

With the products and services we offer and a blend of technological and human elements, we aim to make customers' lives easier, protect their financial wellbeing, support them in making sound financial decisions and help grow their businesses in a sustainable way. We serve over 16 million customers and regularly develop the experience we offer, providing solutions tailored to their needs. We also focus on specific groups of customers.

  • In order to protect our customers' financial wellbeing, we provide access to financial resources through all channels and facilitate their full control over their financial situation.
  • We help SMEs and both male and female entrepreneurs to grow and to improve their environmental and social performance. With the Garanti BBVA Partners Enterprise Acceleration Program for entrepreneurs, we support early-stage initiatives, SMEs and growing initiatives of all sizes and in all sectors.
  • We make finance easy to access for female entrepreneurs, provide free education and cooperation to business associations such as the Female Entrepreneurial Leadership School to ensure sustainability, and we encourage empowerment through Turkey's Female Entrepreneur Competition.

Financial performance: Through our financial performance activities, we contribute to Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8).

Financial performance is at the heart of our value creation process. In 2018, we increased our total consolidated assets by 13% to TRY 399 billion, while maintaining a high ratio of interest-earning assets. In terms of market value, we are Turkey’s most valuable bank. By the end of 2018 our market value reached TRY 33.4 billion (USD 6.3 billion). With the importance we attach to stakeholder satisfaction, we succeeded in increasing our revenue generation capacity and expense efficiency by implementing a new service model in branches in 2018.

Corporate Management and Risk Management: Our advanced corporate governance model strengthens our core values, and helps us contribute to Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (Goal 16).

At the heart of our corporate governance model are the principles of trust, integrity, accountability and transparency toward all our stakeholders. Through continuous improvement processes, we are working toward an effective organizational structure in order to achieve our sustainability goals. In addition to this, we manage and transparently report financial and non-financial risks and compliance issues to world-class standards and in an integrated manner. In 2018, we published our Integrated Annual Report, and our CDP Climate Change, CDP Water and Corporate Governance Compliance reports.

Digital Transformation: We actively contribute to Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (Goal 9) through our development of digital banking and digitalization.

Within digital transformation, our investment in digital channels feeds into our sustainable growth model. We have been at the forefront of digital transformation for the last 20 years with our investment in digital platforms, our experience, ease of operation and solution offering.

  • In fact, one fifth of digital transactions in Turkey are carried out by Garanti BBVA.
  • The share of digital sales in terms of total sales has increased from 53.3% to 63.2%,
  • while our share of digital channels in financial transactions excluding cash is 96%.

As a result of our investment in digital channels, we can provide information security and prevent data leakage. We also support our customers with the ease of our transactions. We offer an unparalleled customer experience with services such as allowing customers to complete transactions using a QR code and other features developed for internet banking and the Garanti BBVA mobile application.  

In terms of transaction efficiency, thanks to increased digital integration, our branches are able to focus more on building relationships with customers, offering consultancy, pushing sales and gaining new customers.

Investment in Human Capital: An employee-centered approach forms the basis of our human resources policies, and with our investment in human resources, we contribute to Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8), Quality Education (Goal 4) and Gender Equality (Goal 5).

In order to recruit the right person for the right task, we aim to manage human resources in the most effective manner by employing a range of objective, position-specific tools and methods for measurement and evaluation which are based on competency. To this end, we have established a working environment that invests in employees, encourages them to use all their skills, offers a wide range of opportunities, and recognizes and rewards their success. At the same time, we have developed practices focusing on happiness and employee welfare in order to establish a good work-life balance. We have worked hard to establish the systems necessary to recruit, train and develop a competent workforce.

We regularly carry out projects on training and human resources management. In 2018, we provided an average of 47 hours of training per employee. Our activities here include:

  • Creating the "Faculty Model" to meet the needs of our employees and to provide them with personal and professional development, and establishing the "Digital" faculty in 2018 to keep up with recent trends.
  • We use a variety of digital tools to enrich and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of in-class training. In 2018, we conducted 25,000 hours of live broadcasts and Virtual Classroom training.
  • We continue to develop our training and mentoring activities in order to support female employees in becoming effective leaders. With 40% of middle and upper managers being female, and a variety of initiatives that promote the advancement of their careers, we are the only Turkish company to enter the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index. Moreover, while 58% of our employees are female, the ratio of the average wage of female employees to male employees is 0.97. In addition to this, we were one of the pilot companies involved in the Gender Equality Analysis Tool prepared by the United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles (UN WEPs), where we shared our good practices.
  • Data Transcendence training aims to contribute to the identification of data-based strategies.

In addition to the training, we position employees within the bank. In other words, we implement two-way channels of communication to spur on innovative ideas, ensuring that the employees are active in decision-making mechanisms. We attach great importance to the social rights of our employees, and do extensive work on equal opportunity and diversity, fair and transparent remuneration, maternity leave, retirement, occupational health and safety, occupational accidents and workday losses. While creating employment for 18,338 people as a result of our Human Resources policies, our efforts to ensure equal opportunities and professional development contribute to high employee engagement and low employee turnover.

Responsible and Sustainable Development: In order to support responsible and sustainable development, we develop strategic partnerships, manage customers' environmental, social and governance risks, take action on climate change and energy, pioneer the development of sustainable banking, and design community investment programs.

These different areas of activity support Affordable and Clean Energy (Goal 7), Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8), Partnerships for the Goals (Goal 17), Quality Education (Goal 4), Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 11), Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal 12), Climate Action (Goal 13), Life Below Water (Goal 14) and Life On Land (Goal 15).

For Responsible and Sustainable Development, we contribute to four key areas: strategic partnerships and financing the transition to a low-carbon economy, including the management of our customers’ ESM (Environmental, Social and Governance) risks, impact investment and community investment programs.

  1. Strategic partnerships

We are the only Turkish bank that is a founding member of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative's (UNEP FI) Principles of Responsible Banking Core Group. We participate or preside over UNEP FI Responsible Banking Principles Working Group meetings, as well as Global Compact Turkey, Business World and Sustainable Development Association (SKD Turkey), the Banks Association of Turkey (TBB) Sustainable Role of Financial Sector Growth Working Group, and Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) Working Group meetings. In 2018, our Corporate and Investment Banking Executive Vice President, Ebru Dildar Edin, was elected president of the Business and Sustainable Development Association.

  1. Transitioning to a low-carbon economy

We created a green credit structure to encourage our customers to adopt sustainable business models. In our USD 10 million loan to Zorlu Energy, we realized Turkey's first Green Credit agreement, where we indexed the interest on the loan amount to the company's sustainability performance. In addition, we signed Turkey's first Green Project Financing Loan with Akfen Renewable Energy, and four domestic and two foreign banks.

In the context of transitioning to a low carbon economy, in our 2018 financing activities, the total emissions prevented by solar, wind and hydroelectric power plants according to the current average grid emission factor for Turkey was 5.4 million t of CO2. The rate of adding environmental and social principles to loans and loan agreements was 100%. Cumulative financing for renewable energy investments exceeded USD 5.1 billion.

Garanti BBVA also offered the Green Vehicle Loan to consumers in order to finance purchases of hybrid and electric cars which are more efficient and environmentally friendly. A total of TRY 4.8 million in loans had been issued by the end of 2018.

In 2017, the bank signed an agreement with the IFC (International Finance Corporation), a member of the World Bank group, for a total of USD 540 million, with a 5-year maturity of USD 150 million under the Mortgage Covered Securities Issue (İTMK) program. This program was BBVA's first issue of a green bond. It was also the IFC's first issue of Mortgage Covered Securities in Turkey. In the same year, a 5-year EUR 75 million (approximately TRY 313 million) contract was signed with the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). Green buildings were financed with the funding provided.

  1. Impact investment

In order to create common value through an impact-oriented investment approach, we are financing the transition to a low-carbon economy, supporting female entrepreneurs, increasing employment by supporting SMEs and entrepreneurship, and partnering with financial institutions. Within the scope of SME Banking, the total amount of loans extended to female customers in the private customer class reached TRY 5.5 billion as of the end of 2018.

In addition to this, in 2018, a USD 75 million social bond (Gender Bond) was issued in collaboration with the IFC to support female entrepreneurs. This product was also the first social bond issued by a private bank in the Emerging Markets.

Furthermore, our impact-oriented cumulative loans reached TRY 35.2 billion.

  1. Community investment programs

Within the scope of community investment programs, activities in the fields of quality education, entrepreneurship, cultural and environmental awareness were carried out, and total investment reached TRY 20.2 million.

                               Acquiring new competencies: The 5 Stone-Social and Financial Leadership Project, launched by the Teachers Academy Foundation (ÖRAV), aims to provide future generations with financial literacy and awareness. In addition to this, in our technological workshops for children aged 8–10, we provide the necessary competencies and skills needed in the modern economy, such as problem solving, analytical thinking and teamwork. These workshops are carried out in collaboration with Bahçeşehir University in order to prepare children more fully for the digital age.

                               Environmental awareness: For 26 years, we have been the lead sponsor of WWF-Turkey (World Wildlife Foundation). We have announced our support for the Clean Production in the Textile Sector project being carried out in the Büyük Menderes Basin, in partnership with the WWF and South Aegean Development Agency. We are the lead supporter of the Turkey office of the CDP, which is recognized by the Harvard Business Review as the most powerful green NGO.

                               Promotion of cultural activities: Having been the festival sponsor of the Istanbul Jazz Festival for 22 years, we support Istanbul’s leading music venues and bring together music-oriented feature films with the “Films Through Jazz” series.

Established to integrate culture and art with society both spatially, and through content and digital media, SALT continues to operate as a non-profit autonomous institution at its three separate locations: SALT Beyoğlu, SALT Galata and SALT Ankara.

                               Support for sports and physical education: We have been supporting the Turkish Men’s National Basketball Team since 2001 and the Turkish Women’s National Basketball Team since 2005, and since 2013, we have been supporting the Turkish Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team and the Turkish Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team. Inspired by the Men’s National Team, the 12 Giant Men School Basketball project aims to promote basketball and its culture among school children.

                               Developing a culture of entrepreneurship: We are a lead sponsor of the Turkish Entrepreneurship Foundation (Girvak), which allows young people to take inspiration and learn from role models, and take part in a variety of entrepreneurial activities and develop networks. We also run training and skill development programs such as the Female Entrepreneur Executive School and the Female Entrepreneur Meetings to support customers in the SME segment. In addition to this, we launched the Garanti BBVA Partners program to fulfil needs in a range of areas.

Furthermore, the Tohum Autism Foundation Continuous Education Unit, which operates with our support, provides theoretical and practical training on autism for educators of parents of children with autism, specialists and university students.





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