Access Bank holds sustainability events
Access Bank hosted the Sustainability Awareness Week (SAW) on November 5-9. Like the training session organized earlier, SAW is an annual initiative, which provides awareness to all stakeholders on sustainable business practices and why they are important to society.
In 2011, Access Bank initiated and led the process that culminated in the development of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP). The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers' Committee adopted the principles in 2012. Many financial institutions in the country have since committed to the idea of economic, social and environmental sustainability as the guiding principles for their operations.
The NSBPs were adopted in recognition of the important role the banking industry plays in delivering positive development impacts to society. For this reason, the principles factor in the need for banks and other financial institutions to mitigate the negative impacts of their operations on the environment and local communities where they operate. The principles also recognise the need for human rights protection, women empowerment, financial inclusion, environment and social (E&S) risk governance, capacity building, collaborative partnerships and reporting on progress made.
The NSBP Steering Committee coordinates industry collaboration to ensure successful implementation of the principles in Nigeria. And since its launch, the NSBP has recorded significant impacts and made important progress. However, there still exists a gap in implementation of the NSBP and mainstreaming sustainability into the corporate practices of a number of financial institutions.
In order to plug this gap in implementation of the NSBPs, Access Bank recently organized a sustainability training/workshop. The event, which held at the Access Bank Head Office in Lagos on September 15, 2018, was in furtherance of the bank's industry leadership and as a sustainable business practice catalyst and promoter.
An important message delivered at the workshop was that corporate governance was crucial not just for long-term competitiveness and performance, but also for integrating social and environmental considerations, which foster sustainability. Greg Jobome, Executive Director, Risk Management at Access Bank, made the point that the achievement of sound risk management cannot be divorced from the overall quality of corporate governance within banks.
While speaking at the workshop, he also said that boards of directors in any institution have a responsibility to drive the effective implementation of risk policies. In the case of financial institutions, he said this is important for protection against volatility in financial markets.
The training session also featured a case study on “needs assessment.” This segment of the event was anchored by Bekeme Masade, CEO of CSR-in-Action. The case study involved the sustainability journey of Banco Real, a Brazilian Bank that made Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) central to its brand, and gained competitive advantage through this strategy.
Apart from the staff of Access Bank who participated at the workshop in September, Coronation Merchant Bank, WAPIC Insurance and United Securities were some of the key stakeholders in attendance. Part of the objectives of the training session was to provide more awareness, and emphasize the importance of sustainability. On hand to make a presentation on Sustainability 101, was Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head, Sustainability at Access Bank.
She detailed the evolution and benefits of sustainability, including how to effectively integrate sustainable practices in business operations and other activities to drive economic progress. Recognising these benefits make it imperative for organisations to embed sustainability principles into their corporate strategy, product/service development, funding, and other decision-making processes.
Following the successful hosting of the workshop, the bank hosted the Access Bank Sustainability Awareness Week (SAW) on November 5-9. Like the training session organized earlier, SAW is an annual initiative, which provides awareness to all stakeholders on sustainable business practices and why they are important to society. But unlike the previous event, which held only at the bank's headquarters, this year's event held across all the subsidiaries of Access Bank. The theme of the 2018 SAW was: “The Journey to A Sustainable Future.”
The SAW kicked off with a video message from the bank's Group CEO, Herbert Wigwe, in which he encouraged employees to continually abide by and incorporate sustainable practices into their daily habits. “As this year marks a decade of our sustainability journey at Access Bank, we remain committed to fostering global sustainable development," the bank's Group CEO said. "We are not only in business to maximise shareholders' value, we also consider the social and environmental impact of every aspect of our banking operations and channel our resources to achieve sustainable growth and development in Africa and the world.”
At the end of the week – which rounded off with a night of music, comedy and networking – the commitment of Access Bank's employees to sustainability was revalidated. They were also encouraged to participate more in activities that positively impact the environment and communities. The staff signed a pledge board, demonstrating their commitment to corporate volunteering.
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