Africa’s leading retail bank, Access Bank Plc, marked two years since the international banking institute signed the Principles for Responsible Banking, promoted by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the financial industry’s alliance with United Nations.
Established on September 22, 2019, the Principles for Responsible Banking serve as a guide for banks committed to using their activity to create a positive impact on the lives of people and societies. Since then, the Principles have been signed by 247 banks in 63 countries, with Access Bank, amongst others, recognised as founding signatory banks in Nigeria.
Over the years, the Bank has consistently focused on adhering to the six Principles of Responsible Banking, which include aligning strategies to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, and other relevant societal references. The Bank is committed to mobilising sustainable financing, as well as developing innovative financial and non-financial solutions.
Speaking on the Bank’s commendable feat thus far, the CEO, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, emphasised the bank’s dedication to sustainable banking, stating that the “Bank’s sustainability approach is driven by a desire to impact lives positively now and in the future.
He said, “As a bank, we are committed to ensuring community wellbeing and prosperity while fostering sustainable economies across Africa. We strongly believe that our clients, users, and businesses can only thrive better in an inclusive society based on human dignity, equality, and the sustainable use of natural resources. That is why we are committed to adhering to the Principles for Responsible Banking as a practical guide for a responsible and sustainable banking model. We encourage other financial institutions to follow suit.”
“With these principles, we are confident we will achieve the fundamental changes needed in our economies and lifestyles such that current and future generations can achieve shared prosperity,” he added.
The Head, Sustainability, Access Bank, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, elaborated on the Bank’s strong focus on retail banking, intentionality in driving financial inclusion and sustainability, adding that “Access Bank is immersed in propelling the world towards a more sustainable path whilst unlocking new market opportunities for customers and communities, to ensure the economic viability of the nation. We still have a long way to go, but with the Principles for Responsible Banking, the groundwork has been laid for a responsible banking system geared toward society’s objectives.”
Over the past two years, Access Bank has forged ahead, with the successful issuance of its Green Bond which has enjoyed many firsts. It is the first-ever climate bonds standard certified corporate green bond in Africa; as well as the first cross-listing of a green bond born out of the partnership between Nigerian Stock Exchange and Luxembourg Green Exchange. Additionally, the Bank committed N50 billion in support of Nigerians who were negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the October 2020 protests, through interest-free loans and grants to support communities, the youths, and micro, small and medium-sized businesses.
As part of its continued growth strategy, the Bank has continued to focus on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations, striving to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant.