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Finance stakeholders pledge commitment to sustainable banking

CBN’s new FX rules to shore-up dollar supply, stabilise naira

At a forum jointly hosted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the European Organisation for Sustainable Development, stakeholders in the financial services industry expressed their commitment to sustainable banking practices (EOSD).

The event, which took place on August 31, 2022 in Abuja, was part of the pre-launch roundtable for the newly ratified EOSD Sustainability Standards and Certification Initiative (SSCI) 2.0 in West Africa.

In his keynote address, Arshad Rab, chief executive officer of EOSD and chairman of the International Council for Sustainability Standards, stated that EOSD’s Sustainability Standards Certification Initiative (SSCI) was created to make sustainability the business of financial institutions, enhancing their profitability and long-term success, while mainstreaming social responsibility and environmental and biodiversity protection.

“It entails improving people’s lives, encouraging entrepreneurship, enabling inclusive prosperity, and preserving and promoting culture,” Rab said, adding that “this is critical for creating a 21st-century economy, which entails boosting the real economy, creating an innovation economy, and building economic resilience.”

Read also: How CBN is supporting economic diversification

Furthermore, Mustafa Bala, CBN’s director of banking supervision, stated that the country’s central bank is fully committed to sustainable banking. “The apex bank has joined major global initiatives to make banks more responsive to global and local challenges, including climate change, while encouraging risk management,” Bala said.

In addition, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, head of sustainability at Access Bank PLC, also spoke at the event and shared Access Bank’s experience as a Sustainability Certified Financial Institution. “Despite the bank’s decade of implementing sustainability strategy prior to signing up to SSCI, the Sustainability Standards has proven to be a game-changer for the bank, helping to mainstream sustainability holistically, and the certification has enhanced the bank’s reputation and ability to attract impact funding,” she said.

Participants who contributed during the discussion session were unanimous in their belief that widespread adoption of Sustainability Standards will improve current practices in the banking industry during the discussion session. According to practitioners, this is even more important now that the CBN is reviewing the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles.