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Socio-Environmental Risk

We evaluate social and environmental aspects in customer acceptance and credit concession for projects and companies which operate in sectors identified as critical.

In 2018, we extended this analysis to medium-sized companies served by Retail, totaling 1,895 companies evaluated

We doubled the number of assessments in the Wholesale segment, reaching 4,640 companies that had their socio-environmental risks analyzed in 2018

Since this work started in 2002, more than 30,000 customer analyses have been carried out under social and environmental perspective

What we do

We adopt social and environmental parameters in the risk analysis for credit concession for projects and companies, influencing our customers to adopt good corporate practices of socio-environmental management. We started this work in 2002 and since then we have expanded the assessment of socio-environmental risk in our business.

We have developed our own analysis process, formalized in our Socio-Environmental Risk Policy.

The assessment is carried out by specialized professionals in the subject and may result in conditions or restrictions for companies to operate with the bank. In the case of customers with revenues of over R$200 million, the analysis may also influence the credit rating, affecting rates, limits, terms and guarantee requirements.

Evaluated segments

The socio-environmental risk analysis is applied in the following situations:

Customer acceptance and maintenance

The Compliance area, supported by the Socio-Environmental Risk team, analyzes potential social and environmental risks in the acceptance and maintenance of corporate clients in the Wholesale segment (revenues of over R$200 million per year).

Credit to Retail and Wholesale Companies

In 2018, the socio-environmental risk analysis was extended to medium-sized companies served by our Retail area, which we internally call the Business Segment 3. Companies with revenues between R$20 million and R$200 million, which are part of 14 focused sectors (below) and represent a credit risk or limit of more than R$5 million, started having their potential impacts analyzed.

Since 2002, we have made this same assessment in Wholesale companies, for customers with credit risk/limits equal to or greater than R$5 million and who are part of the 14 sectors of care. They are:  
  1. Prospecting, exploration of oil or natural gas; distributors and gas stations.
  2. Mining.
  3. Metallurgy, steelmaking, pig iron and electroplating.
  4. Lumber, sawmill, splitting, furniture making and trade.
  5. Power generation, transmission and distribution.
  6. Industry.
  7. Agriculture and livestock.
  8. Hospitals and laboratories.
  9. Sanitation, collection and treatment of water and sewage, collection, treatment, recycling and disposal of domestic, industrial and hospital solid waste.
  10. Transportation, warehouses and terminals, except for passengers.
  11. Construction industry.
  12. Builders and incorporators.
  13. Fishing and aquaculture.
  14. Use of biological diversity, forestry and forest by-products.

The approach is inclusive: when problems are identified, the client is oriented to solve them and can count on the socio-environmental financing lines offered by the bank.

Project Finance

We are signatories of the Equator Principles and we apply the guidelines of this international socio-environmental risk framework to financial institutions in the analyzing financing process for large projects, such as the construction of hydroelectric plants and highways.

Property Guarantee

Properties served as guarantee in credit operations are subject to a socio-environmental risk analysis. Verification includes possible contamination of soil and groundwater by toxic substances. In 2018, we expanded this analysis, adding 469 checks, 22% more than the previous year.

How it works

Get to know the main steps of our socio-environmental risk assessment process:






Periodic evaluations


Specific situations

Companies within the above segments must answer the Socio-Environmental Questionnaire, which is used to gather information about our customers' environmental and occupational health and safety management practices.

Socio-environmental risk in practice

See examples of cases in which we applied, in 2018, the Equator Principles and our socio-environmental risk analysis methodology.  
  1. It was identified that a potential customer in the timber sector was using native wood in their products and was not FSC certified. Due to non-compliance with the Socio-Environmental Risk Policy, among other reasons, Santander did not start the relationship with the customer.
  1. In the project analysis of a Transmission Line (TL) near a Quilombo Remnant Community area, it was identified that the Palmares Cultural Foundation had not been consulted in the environmental licensing process. As a condition of approving the credit operation, the customer formalized a consultation with the foundation, which gave its consent to the project.
  1. In a project for a customer in the agriculture sector, a possible overlap of the area that would benefit from a Conservation Unit was identified. We only approved the operation after the presentation of a formal Forest Foundation document, showing that there is no overlap but rather that they are confronting areas.