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Material Matters

As always, our aim is to provide a coherent story of our activities. The basis of this story is the materiality analysis which enables us to identify the most relevant and important topics for Garanti BBVA and its stakeholders, the material topics. Material topics are mainly determined based on dialogue with all internal and external stakeholders and are then plotted in the materiality matrix.

We performed our first materiality analysis in 2013. As we want to make sure that we are always in line with the needs of our stakeholders and that the identified material issues are still the most important, we perform an update of our materiality analysis approximately once in every two years. The revision in the first quarter of 2017 formed the basis for our 2017 and 2018 reports, whereas the revision in 2019 made the basis of our 2019 report. The last revision was finalized in 2020. As we brought our new analysis to completion, we once again listened to our internal and external stakeholders, and reviewed the connection between our corporate strategy and global trends which impact the banking sector.

In 2019, with the aim of ‘bringing the age of opportunity to everyone’, Garanti BBVA reviewed and revised its strategic priorities in alignment with the BBVA Group and in the light of the main trends reshaping the world and the financial services sector. With the new strategic priorities set, revisions were made to the materiality analysis to ensure that the stakeholders as well as Garanti BBVA maintain an optimum focus. These revisions paved the way for a review of material topics based on data gathered from a variety of sources both globally and locally while also providing a database that is auditable and objective, which, together, put the analysis on a more solid basis as compared with the previous years and in greater alignment with the current trends.

In our 2020 analysis where we, as Garanti BBVA, gathered the existing and potential expectations, risks and opportunities from the perspective of all internal and external stakeholders and group strategy, we studied the sectoral reports, global reports, and advice by international professional organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and took into consideration the Group-wide evaluation of a total of 59 international reports that shed light on current trends. On another front, we identified the material topics taking into account the outputs from the analyses finalized at the BBVA Group for global scale investors and NGOs. Then, we conducted a comprehensive stakeholder analysis by reaching all key stakeholder groups via questionnaires, meetings and phone calls to gather their opinions. We tackled the governing and optional regulatory framework, conducted analyses on all printed and printed media platforms, and reviewed the relevant publications by similar establishments. In addition, we analyzed our mainstream and sustainability-sensitive investors, national and international NGOs with which we belong on a global scale, and we studied the current trends in the external trend analysis.

We finalized our 2020 materiality analysis considering the alignment of all topics also with our integrated business strategy. According to the analysis, the following issues were assigned greater priority as compared to the others within the 13 material topics: Solvency and Financial Performance, Climate Change, Responsible Use of Data, Cybersecurity and COVID-19. All our material topics including the highlighted ones above were clustered under six main headings in our report: (1) Financial Health, (2) Sustainability, (3) Reaching More Customers, (4) Operational Excellence, (5) The Best and Most Engaged Team, and (6) Data and Technology. In addition to these six main headings, Corporate Governance and Strong Management of All Risks, and COVID-19 that plagued the entire 2020 are addressed in detail in individual sections in an integrated manner with all performance sections.

We have established that all our key stakeholders, internal and external alike, regarded Climate Change as the most material topic in 2020. We know for a fact that solid and sustainable solvency and financial performance were assigned higher ranks in previous years. This year, it was evident that both our internal and external stakeholders take greater heed of the fact that we are running out of time for attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and for taking the actions that will minimize Climate Change Impact, and all our stakeholders treat every step we will be taking together to this end as the most material topic. Differing from previous years, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic that infiltrated our lives was among the material topics that gained the foreground among others as the pandemic that broke out in the first quarter of the year occupied the top ranks in the agenda of all our stakeholders. As was the case in earlier years, our analysis in 2020 once again revealed that the solid and sustainable solvency and financial performance topic must be addressed in conjunction with the businesses’ approach to managing climate change and the fight against the pandemic and with the steps they take based on this approach. Notwithstanding, we see that digital risks, which incorporate aspects such as the importance of data privacy and handling cyber risks, took place among priority expectations also in the 2020 analysis.