Access Bank recently organized a 2-day sustainability summit themed “Financing Sustainable Development” focused on providing a unique opportunity for sustainability practitioners to learn how to promote sustainable financing at the Access Bank Head Office, Victoria Island, Lagos on April 29 & 30, 2019. The event convened key sustainability stakeholders from across the continent and included keynote addresses, leaders’ dialogues and break-out sessions on best practices and strategies for the attainment of global sustainability goals.
During the summit, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPFI) Regional Consultative Forum was geared towards providing feedback on the Global Principles for Responsible Banking (GPRB) from an African perspective as it relates to various stakeholder groups, as well as an opportunity for the financial sector to commit to adopting the Principles. It also hosted leaders of the banking industry in West Africa, with discussions centred around engendering implementation of the Principles for Responsible Banking.
Giving her welcome address, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, the Head of Sustainability at Access Bank stressed that the country was at a critical threshold on sustainability-driven activities in Nigeria, with intensifying expectations on sustainability efforts and results from different sectors and institutions. “Although Access Bank is renowned for its commitment to sustainability, leading several initiatives that have contributed to the global discourse including the development of the Global Responsible Banking Principles, the urgent need to scale up investments and access to finance for sustainability-focused projects, foster strategic collaboration to drive collective action and leverage on all available platforms to champion sustainability cannot be overstated,” she said.
The event also revolved around discussions on trending sustainability topics as well as how to address existing gaps between Africa’s current position on the sustainability front compared to where it needs to be. As African Lead in the development of the Principles, Access Bank organized this event to set the pace for Africa’s contribution to the Principles. In 2018, the Bank alongside 27 other global banks under the flagship of the UNEPFI, developed the GBRP in 2018. The draft Principles were launched in November 2018, and this opened up a six-month consultation period for stakeholder feedback.
Guests and panelists at the summit included Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on SDGs; Professor Kenneth Amaeshi, Director, Sustainable Business Initiative, University of Edinburgh Business School; Bekeme Masade-Olowola, CEO, CSR-in-Action; Olumide Orojimi, Corporate Communications Manager, Oando; Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, Group Chief, Sustainability and Governance, Dangote Industries Limited; Mercy Machiya, acting CEO, African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth) and other prominent industry leaders.