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How Access Bank Takes the Charge in Driving Sustainability in Nigeria's Financial Sector

How Access Bank Takes the Charge in Driving Sustainability in Nigeria’s Financial Sector

With an eye set on the future, Access Bank has continued to champion sustainable practices locally and internationally as it takes actionable steps for over two decades towards sustainability in a rapidly changing business world.

Although the increasing recognition by businesses of the long-term importance of embracing sustainable business practices prompted Nigerian banks to focus on sustainability, Access bank has been categorised as one of the top banks leading the way in sustainability in the world.

It has been reported that globally, customers are now moving to corporate bodies that embrace sustainability. More than ever, it has become imperative for organisations to understand the impact of their activities and sustainability efforts on the future of their businesses.

While mainstreaming environmentally friendly policies into our business practices, Access bank aims to catalyse opportunities to deliver financing for sustainable development.

Approaches such as blended finance and green investment, which offer unique opportunities for investors to gain a foothold in emerging markets in Africa, are actively embraced and promoted by the bank.

With sustainability at the central core of Access Bank’s operations, the bank has embarked on numerous initiatives targeted at different areas of society to contribute its quota to the improvement of the Nigerian economy and aid Africa’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,

To reinforce its commitment, the bank sustainability policy seen by Business Remarks disclosed that “At Access Bank, we annually dedicate 1% of the profit before tax (PBT) to Sustainability. In the event that the Bank does not make a profit in a particular year, the Board will take a decision on the specific amount that the Bank will dedicate to its Sustainability performance in that particular year.”

The bank also published a sustainability report every year to shed light on progress. It is also the first West African bank to join other top-tier International banks on the core group for the development of Principles for Responsible Banking embedded with business sustainability in line with Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

As the first financial institution in Nigeria to deploy a customised Sustainable Finance Toolkit to assist in screening projects to identify potential environmental and social (E&S) risks, Acces la Bank contribute largely to the development and adoption of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principle (NSBPs).

Another sustainability feat recorded by the bank was in the issuance of green bonds, which was the first corporate Green Bond in Africa. This helps to support investment and drive the move towards renewable energy as well as promote development in Nigeria’s economy. Thus, earning applause at home and abroad, green bonds create opportunities for Africa to generate more finance for renewable energy projects.

Access Bank has additional funding for its green financing framework and project finance plans, following a green notes issue. The Bank further raised USD 50 million to finance new and current projects and meet its green financing targets. It is the bank’s second green bond issuance and first in United States dollars.

The money was raised in the form of a green notes issue, issued on 3 May and due in 2027 through a private placement in the bank’s USD 1.5 billion global medium-term note programme on the international capital markets, and on the London Stock Exchange.

The $36 million green bond issued in 2019, Access Bank financed environmental resilience, clean energy and sustainable land projects including the construction of flood defence to protect Eko Atlantic City. With a five-year tenor, it took the form of the first certified climate bond in Africa. Certified by the Climate Bond Initiative, it was supported y the Nigerian Green Bond Development Programme.

Access Bank’s Head of Sustainability, Omobolanle Victor -Laniyan was once quoted to have said “Everything lies on our determined effort to offer more than banking, we will continue to set the standard for responsible business practices and demonstrate corporate brand commitment to addressing social, economic and environmental issues”.

The good thing is that brands like Access Bank are showing the way, what others only need to do is follow, an expert once said.

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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