By Rosemary Iwuala
Access Bank Plc has received commendation from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its commitment to sustainable banking principles in Nigeria’s financial sector.
Aisha Mahmood, special adviser to the CBN governor on sustainable banking, gave the commendation at a roundtable jointly hosted with the European Organisation for Sustainable Development in Abuja.
The discussion which also featured Mustafa Haruna, CBN director, Banking Supervision Department, and Chizoba Okoli, Access Bank deputy managing director, among others, sought to stimulate a world-class sustainable banking and financing through embracing holistic sustainability standards for senior executives of commercial banks.
Mahmood said three Nigeria financial institutions, namely, Access Bank, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) and Bank of Industry (BoI), had shown tremendous commitment in the implementation of sustainable principles in the financial sector.
According to her, Access Bank remained the first African commercial bank to be sustainability certified by the EOSD in 2020 while DBN became the first development financial institution and the second in Africa to be sustainability certified.
“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 the society,” Mahmood said.
“Since the adoption of the Nigerian sustainable banking principles, the Nigerian financial institutions have been integrating economic and social framework to manage risks and opportunities in their business processes and activities. So, the adoption of these iconic certification standards will go a long way in helping us in shaping that process,” she said.
She pointed out that the apex bank is currently reviewing the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principle, which has been implemented for over a decade to align the framework with global best practices.
On her part, Okoli of Access bank said the programme was extremely timely and offered an opportunity to discuss sustainability in line with global best practices and that the event provided a platform to further reflect on how the Nigerian financial sector has embedded sustainability and the subsequent actions required for a good performance.
“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,” Okoli said.
She said in achieving the overall development agenda, getting financing right and sustainable banking was very critical and that without it, the global community would 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,” she said.