Popular’s social commitment is one of its broadest work endeavors. For example, it includes initiatives to benefit our customers, communities, and employees. Popular’s efforts range from donations to educational and technological projects to the volunteer work done by its employees and efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.
These and much more are included in Popular’s sustainability practices within the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics. The latest 2022 Corporate Sustainability Report contains these efforts, available now.
“In addition to having economic performance, companies with a sustainability program focus on being responsible corporate citizens mindful of their impact on customers, communities, and employees. ESG goes beyond how companies approach doing business, it is how they do it responsibly and make sure to protect the environment. It also considers the social component and how diversity and inclusion are promoted, among other aspects”, said Susan Cardona, Popular’s ESG manager.
“We are the first financial institution in Puerto Rico that, when evaluating a commercial credit case, evaluates the impact of that loan on the environment. Does this loan carry a risk of destroying a habitat or negatively impacting the environment?” Cardona added. In the environmental area, Popular is working with the following initiatives:
- A year ago, we established a program of corporate donations for organizations dedicated to supporting the transition to renewable energy, reforestation, responsible consumption, and biodiversity protection. Grants to entities amount to more than $500,000. As an example, Cardona mentioned Popular’s support of a project to install solar panels in several houses in Culebra, to make the municipality an example of an island powered by renewable sources, as well as a grant for the new coral planting project in Culebra.
- Popular has 60 branches using photovoltaic systems.
- Popular buildings in El Señorial and Cupey have Combined Heat and Power systems that use heat and natural gas to generate electricity, which helps reduce their carbon footprint.
“Our social framework is very broad and one that we feel very proud of because we have advanced many initiatives that range from supporting our communities to the efforts for our employees,” Cardona pointed out. Here are some initiatives:
- For the second consecutive year, Popular was included in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index. This was based on Popular having policies against harassment in the workplace, increasing women’s representation in leadership roles, and what is being done to reduce the gender pay gap.
- Last year, the Popular Impact Fund was created with an initial allocation of $15 million to be invested in companies that (1) develop strategic technologies for the Financial Services sector; or (2) generate a positive social impact in the communities we serve. Companies that received funding include Skootel (dedicated to reducing traffic congestion and emissions) and Carbonwave (converts sargassum into raw material for product manufacturing).
- We launched three new Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), one for multicultural matters, one for women, and another for functional diversity. These are in addition to the existing ERG for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.
- We launched Two-Step Verification in Mi Banco to reinforce our customers’ cybernetic security.
The purpose of the Corporate Sustainability Report is to make visible all Popular’s initiatives at fostering development and resilience in the communities we operate. “We carry out these initiatives because they are part of our values and our commitment to our customers, employees, communities and shareholders,” Cardona affirmed.