Social and Environmental Responsibility in the Banking Industry: A Focus on Commercial Business

  • Beatriz Fernández-Olit
  • Marta de la Cuesta-González
  • Francisco Pablo Holgado
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Sustainable Business In Association with Future Earth book series (PSSBAFE)


The purpose of this chapter is to measure social and environmental responsibility in the commercial activities of banks (external CSR performance)—in contrast to other models based on internal stakeholders—and define to what extent it is influenced by a bank’s size, banking model or business specialization. The banking sector is composed of diverse entities, which is not usually considered when social and environmental responsibility is defined and measured. Business risks and impacts of small- and medium-sized entities oriented to the commercial retail market are different from those of universal banks—which are highly diversified—both in financial and sustainable terms. Thus, the way CSR is being addressed by the banking industry should be reviewed to determine if there are diverse intra-sectorial approaches. An empirical analysis of European banks suggests that the current homogenization of the banking industry is unfavorable in terms of sustainability and responsibility.



ASSET4 ESG database


Analysis of variance


Corporate social responsibility


Environment, social and governance


European Union


Return on equity


Small and medium enterprises


United Kingdom


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beatriz Fernández-Olit
    • 1
  • Marta de la Cuesta-González
    • 1
  • Francisco Pablo Holgado
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)MadridSpain

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