From issuing Africa’s first corporate green bond to empowering entrepreneurs in the local community, Access Bank is leading the charge for sustainability in Nigeria’s banking sector
With a population of about 7.8 billion people, the world faces increasingly severe challenges, from rising temperatures and water scarcity to inadequate healthcare and poverty. Given the scale of these issues, it is imperative that organisations find ways to offer long-term, innovative and cost-effective solutions.
Access Bank is among a growing number of companies determined to make sustainability their priority. Long before major financial institutions in Nigeria began to incorporate sustainability into their business strategies, Access Bank had an existing framework that embedded sustainability into the fabric of its business operations. World Finance spoke with Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head of Sustainability at Access Bank, about recent strides the company has made towards promoting sustainable growth.
What sustainable initiatives has Access Bank promoted in recent times?
In March 2019, Access Bank announced the issuance of an NGN 15bn ($41m) corporate green bond, the first of its kind in Africa. This green bond benefitted from the support of the Nigerian Green Bond Development Programme and is certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative. The bond was designed to help investors meet their environmentally friendly investment objectives, and should also allow the bank’s customers to realise the growth opportunities of developing a low-carbon economy.
If operations are carried out in a sustainable manner, businesses will afford themselves longevity
As well as issuing this bond, Access Bank has partnered with Nigerian social enterprise SMEFunds to create the Green Social Entrepreneurship Programme.
Through the programme, entrepreneurs provide households with clean cookstove technology to replace existing cooking equipment, which often poses risks to human health and the environment.
The new technology converts waste-based biomass into biofuel. In 2019, we estimate that 154 entrepreneurs were empowered by the programme, 510 households reached and 1,200 lives improved.