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CBN Lauds Access Bank Over Sustainable Banking Principles

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…As Access Bank Reaffirms Commitment To Sustainability

Access Bank MD, Roosevelt Ogbonna

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has commended Access Bank Plc. over its commitment to the Sustainable Banking Principles as embodied in its Sustainability Standards Certification Initiative (SSCI).

This commendation was given at a round table in Abuja which was jointly hosted by the CBN and the European Organisation for Sustainable Development, recently.

The event was aimed at creating world-class sustainable banking and finance through embracing holistic sustainability standards for senior executives of commercial banks in Nigeria.

Speaking at the event, the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Sustainable Banking, Dr. Aisha Mahmood said that three Nigeria financial institutions namely Access Bank Plc, Development Bank of Nigeria, and Bank of Industry have shown appreciable effort in driving the implementation of sustainable principles in the financial sector.

According to her, Access Bank is the first African commercial bank to be sustainability certified by the EOSD in 2020 while the Development Bank of Nigeria became the first Development Financial institution and the second in Africa to be sustainability certified.

She said, ‘I am positive that this workshop will motivate other financial institutions to adopt the SSCI to build resilient economies that work for the environment, businesses, and society.

“Since the adoption of the Nigerian sustainability banking principles, the Nigerian financial institutions have been integrating economic and social frameworks to manage risks and opportunities in their business processes and activities.

She noted that the CBN has been reviewing the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principle which has been implemented for over a decade to align with global best practices and also align it with global sustainability imperatives and Nigeria’s national development priorities.

Also speaking, the Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Chizoba Okoli said that the programme is extremely timely and presents an opportunity to discuss sustainability in line with global best practices.

She said the event provides a platform to further reflect on how the Nigerian financial sector has embedded sustainability and the subsequent actions required for a good performance.

She stated, “There have been conscious efforts to embrace partnership, develop initiatives, policies, and regulations to address issues such as climate change, inequality, human rights to mention a few.

“In achieving the overall development agenda, getting financing right and sustainable banking is very critical. In fact, without this, the global community will not be able to meet the development goals by 2030.

“For us at Access Bank, our commitment to sustainability has yielded great benefits, we have made significant progress in embedding sustainability and a core of our business decisions, operations, and practices thereby impacting lives positively now and in the future.”

Okoli told participants at the event that the Access Bank sustainable development initiative cuts across a wide range of sectors, from the health and educational sectors to strengthening the vocational skills that are bound in Nigeria.

“Creating a society where sustainable development lies at its core has become a priority for us at Access Bank. We initiated and led the development of Nigerian society Banking principles, a set of nine principles approved by the CBN to guide the Nigerian Banking industry to embed sustainability in their business operations and practices.

“We also work with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance institute and other leading banks as the only west African bank to develop the principles for responsible banking. The principle serves as the global standard of benchmark for banking decisions to form responsive financial institutions.”

Serving as Africa’s consultative leader, she said the bank has also galvanized five Nigerian banks and their CEOs to become signatories to the principles.

Omobolanle Victor Laniyan, Head of Sustainability Standards, Access Bank, said all the 28,000 workers of the bank are regarded as its sustainability ambassadors.

“Each staff has a Sustainability programme that allows for a shift in mindset and creates new goals that boost productivity. Implementing SSCI is not as easy as it appears on paper, but we trudge on”, she noted.

Present at the roundtable were the Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Chizoba Okoli; the CBN Director in charge of Banking Supervision, Mustafa Haruna; the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Sustainable Banking, Dr. Aisha Mahmood and the Head of Sustainability at Access Bank Plc Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan.

Also present at the event were the Director for Bank Supervision at Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Phillip Madamombe; the Chairman International Council of Sustainability Standards, and Chief Executive Officer of European Organisation for Sustainable Development Arshad Rab among others.

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