Chairman’s Statement
 

"2011 was a year of enormous challenges for Portugal, for Portuguese families and for business. The year was marked by events that had a strong impact on Portugal’s image in the international markets and which conditioned its access to them.

The Banco Espírito Santo Group has shown that it is well prepared to face these challenges, staying on the same course that it has travelled for more than a century and which is based on a long-term strategy, on solid and stable management and on strict financial discipline.

Our improved sustainability strategy is adapted to the new macroeconomic environment and presents new answers for the communities where we operate and which have felt the impact of the crisis. It is a reflection of the resilience of the
values and capacity of the Group’s management culture and of its teams.

In 2011, the NB Group was able to reaffirm its positioning as a Savings Bank, extending its range of savings products and improving its operations in this area under the motto “New Times Call for New Savings”. It introduced the following products/services: Programmed Saving; Micro Saving; Saving on Impulse and Family Budget.

 

NB has responded to the challenge raised in the “Survey of financial literacy of the Portuguese population 2010” performed by the Bank of Portugal, which indicated that there is evidence of gaps in the comprehension of basic financial concepts, by helping in the drive towards financial inclusion. It reinforced its financial literacy program by maintaining its commitment to the programs “On the School Bench” and the “Mathematics Olympiad” and created a new on-line tool “b-a-NB” which helps the Portuguese population to understand traditional financial terms and new terms arising from the recent economic situation.

 

In 2011, financed 2.7 million Euros of microcredits creating 245 new jobs. We have fostered innovation through the NB Innovation Awards, now in it’s seventh year, through the investments made by the Group’s risk capital management company, ES Ventures, and the network of managers focused on identifying and supporting entrepreneurs who drive the country development.

Our commitment to environmentally sensitive business and to addressing the challenges of climate change is demonstrated by our creation of new products and our investment in renewable energy projects, namely:

 

  • The creation of the 18.31 account, the first carbon neutral bank account in Portugal;
  • Re-focusing the NB Environment and Sustainable Energy Solution, line on energy efficiency and microgeneration projects;
  • The investment of 121 million Euros in renewable energy projects, representing around 60% of our total project finance portfolio;
  • Our adhesion to the Principles of Responsible Investment of the United Nations (UN PRI), a set of principles related with asset management with the objective of including environmental, social and governance topics in investment decisions with the intention of improving the long-term return.

 


Our commitment to sustainability, has seen NB included in the foremost sustainability index for the international capital markets. NB is the first Portuguese bank to be listed the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, in the restricted group of 15 banks that make up the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Europe.

Ricardo Espírito Santo Salgado
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the  Banco Espírito Santo