Access Bank talks sustainable finance growth during 8th WACEE exhibition & conference

12 Oct 2020, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria

Summary

The bank discussed its innovative solutions and commitment to transforming society through sustainable finance.

Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head, Sustainability, Access Bank Plc.

Access Bank Plc was recently invited to participate in the 8th edition of the West African Clean Energy and Environment Trade Fair and Conference (WACEE). During a fireside chat at the event, the bank showcased its diversified portfolio of value-added offerings designed to provide solutions to the bank's customers and enable them to achieve their individual and corporate goals, whilst delivering sustainable economic growth.

The latest edition of WACEE was the first-ever virtual (eWACEE) exhibition and conference organised by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria (AHK Nigeria). The 30-day event held from September 1 – 30, 2020. eWACEE'20 provided a platform for exhibitors in the clean energy, water, and circular economy sectors to showcase their latest innovations and new products to over 5,000 visitors.

The conference part of the event comprised of presentations, keynote sessions and panel discussions among relevant stakeholders and decision-makers. The fireside chat, which featured Access Bank, took place on September 4 and the discussion was on financing a greener tomorrow. The bank was represented by its Head of Sustainability, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, and Head of German Desk at Access Bank, Sebastian Barroso da Fonseca.

In a statement sent to Financial Nigeria by the bank, the chat provided a platform for the bank to discuss its innovative solutions and commitment to transforming society through sustainable finance and delivering sustainable shareholder value. In light of the global development agenda and the urgent need to scale up investment in climate action and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the bank acknowledged the growing number of large institutional investors that are incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into their investment decisions.

Also known as sustainable investing, ESG investing approach involves the evaluation of a company’s environmental footprints as well as social impact and governance rating alongside its financial metrics. According to a report by Deloitte Insights, the percentage of global retail and institutional investors that apply ESG principles to at least a quarter of their portfolios rose from 48 per cent in 2017 to 75 per cent in 2019. In the aftermath of COVID-19, analysts and investors have said the pandemic could prove to be a major turning point for ESG investing.

JPMorgan said in a recent note to clients, “We see the Covid-19 crisis accelerating the trend to ESG investment.” A Moody's Investors Services report in March said, "ESG investing is the next growth frontier for asset managers."

According to Morningstar, an American financial services firm, global sustainability-focused funds attracted a record amount of capital in the first quarter of this year. While the overall global fund universe was down 18 per cent, ESG investing was down by only 12 per cent to $841 billion at the end of March. Inflows to global sustainable funds were $45.6 billion, compared to outflows of $384.7 billion in the overall fund universe, according to the firm.

“The world is changing very rapidly. More and more organisations are becoming increasingly aware of sustainability,” Victor-Laniyan said during the fireside chat at eWACEE'20. “With only 10 years to go for the achievement of the SDGs, companies are now actively engaging with the goals and trying to align their businesses accordingly. These creates new business opportunities, new sectors, new financing needs, and new processes, amongst others.”

The bank said in its statement that it has integrated ESG considerations in its business operations and decision-making for the long-term benefit of its clients and the society at large. Access Bank said it continues to strengthen its collaboration with regulators and other players in the financial sector to entrench sustainable business practices, including sound corporate governance practices and excellent risk management.


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