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Is Santander ethical?

Santander has been assessed in The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Banks & Building Societies Ratings Table and receives a low score.

Although our ethical requirements have not been met by this company, we hope that in the future, it will make the necessary adjustments to operate as a more ethical business.

More information on the ethical issues faced by the sector, may be found in The Good Shopping Guide’s article on Ethical Banking. You can also use our Ethical Banks & Building Societies Ratings Table to compare Santander to its competitors.

What does Santander do?

Santander, also known as Banco Santander, is a multinational bank based in Santander and Madrid. The company was initially founded in 1857 and now operates across Europe, Asia, North America and South America, with approximately 11% of its market revenue being in the United Kingdom.

For which criteria does Santander score poorly? 

Santander receives a bottom rating in several of our research categories. This includes the Environmental Destruction and Irresponsible Lending criteria.

Santander’s bottom rating for Environmental Destruction is due to the fact the company has been called out for allegedly funding projects that are harmful to the environment, such as the Santo Antonio Dam in Brazil, which sparked controversy for the harm caused to the region’s ecosystem as a consequence of its operation.

The company’s funding of unethical industries and activities, including fossil fuels, armaments and deforestation, has resulted in its low score for Irresponsible Lending.

In what areas does Santander score well for its ethics?

Unfortunately, as Santander is a low-scoring brand, it does not meet our requirements for a top rating in the majority of our research categories.

However, Santander has achieved a top rating for Environmental Report, as it has set out targets in its Responsible Banking Report for how it aims to improve its environmental record in the future.

How can Santander improve its ethical rating?

The ethical rating of a Finance brand is divided into three categories by The Good Shopping Guide: the Environment, People and Other. Find out more about how we rate.

In order to attain a higher GSG score, Santander should cease funding and supporting harmful environmental projects and unethical industries.

If you’re interested in learning more about achieving Ethical Accreditation for your brand, please contact us or complete a Free Initial Assessment form.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Environmental Destruction


  • Carbon Disclosure & Reduction Targets



  • Irresponsible Lending


  • Political Donations


  • Irresponsible Lending+



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Responsible Investment Policy


  • Mutual Status


  • Other Criticisms


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating