September 13, 2011
September 13, 2011
Lagos/The Hague/Geneva, 9 September 2011 – The Nigerian banking sector has recorded a major feat in its bid to incorporate responsible business practice and sustainability considerations into the sector’s operations as the Governor of the country’s Central Bank and Chief Executives Officers of leading banks have shown commitment to integrating Sustainability in their business operations while also influencing public policy and developing an industry standard as a guide for responsible lending activities in Nigeria.
This decision was made at the CEO Roundtable on Sustainable Finance, convened by Africa’s Sustainability banking champion, Access Bank Plc, in partnership with the Netherlands Development Bank (FMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).
According to the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, “the need for Nigerian banks to integrate Sustainability into their business processes cannot be overemphasized. Nigerian banks should not be using the savings of Nigerians to finance foreign companies whose operations damage Nigeria”.
“The development of an industry standard is a welcome initiative and we will support the banks to ensure that we contribute effectively to the Sustainability of not just the financial institutions but of the society as a whole,” he concluded.
In order to drive the process, a Sustainability Working Group was constituted to immediately commence the work on the agreed initiatives. Members of the working group are Access Bank, Diamond Bank, GTBank, Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank and Zenith Bank. The working group will work in conjunction with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Dutch Development Bank (FMO).
The Sustainability Working Group will function on the platform of the Banker’s Committee’s Economic Development sub-committee led by Access Bank’s Group Managing Director/CEO, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. This, the CEOs acknowledged, will be a boost to the emerging Nigerian sustainable finance sector and deepen industry knowledge about Sustainability.
Speaking on the development, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, GMD/CEO, Access Bank said “the focus of Nigeria’s banking sector on environmental and social sustainability issues has to date been limited, pointing to the insufficiency of internal capacity or management guidelines in the sector.”