On September 22, 2019, Nigeria’s sustainability champion, Access Bank Plc., launched the Global Principles for Responsible Banking as one of the Founding Signatories alongside other global banks. This is a further commitment to strategically align its business with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
By signing the Principles, Access Bank is demonstrating its commitment towards using its products and services to support and accelerate positive changes in both local and international economies as well as promote lifestyles necessary to achieve shared prosperity for both current and future generations.
Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc., stressed the need for continued collaboration and long-term approach to sustainability, recognising the benefits of sustainable banking and the positive effect it has on the Bank and society.
L-R: Yemi Odusanya, Executive Director, Keystone Bank Limited; Ademola Adebise, Managing Director/CEO, Wema Bank Plc; Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank Plc; and Adetokunbo Abiru, Group Managing Director/CEO, Polaris Bank Limited, at the signing of the Principles for Responsible Banking held at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“There is a greater need now, more than ever, to promote sustainability in the global financial sector. This is therefore the right time to launch the Global Principles for Responsible Banking. At Access Bank, we are committed to setting standards and engendering innovative solutions that address social, economic and environmental challenges. We believe that the Sustainable Development Goals will be better achieved if we can work together, using these Principles as a guide,” he said.
As expressed in the Global Principles for Responsible Banking, Access Bank is convinced that humans and businesses can only thrive in an inclusive society founded on human dignity, equality and the sustainable use of natural resources.
The official launch of the principles which marked the beginning of the most significant partnership to date between the global banking industry and the UN held at the start of the United Nations General Assembly.
“The UN Principles for Responsible Banking are a guide for the global banking industry to respond to, drive and benefit from a sustainable development economy. The Principles create the accountability that can realize responsibility, and the ambition that can drive action,” said UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
With increasing concerns about climate change leading to a shift in the perception of climate risk among financial institutions and investors, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) urged financial institutions to adopt adequate risk management planning, saying:
“A banking industry that plans for the risks associated with climate change and other environmental challenges can not only drive the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, it can benefit from it. When the financial system shifts its capital away from resource-hungry, brown investments to those that back nature as solution, everybody wins in the long-term.”
The Principles for Responsible Banking will provide Access Bank with an effective framework to systematically identify and seize new business opportunities created by the emerging sustainable development economy, while at the same time enabling the Bank to effectively identify and address related risks.
L-R: Martin Ejidike, Senior Human Rights Adviser, United Nations; Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head Sustainability, Access Bank Plc; Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO, Access Bank Plc; Joanne McNally, COO Mark Eddo Media; Edward Kallon, UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator; and Mark Eddo, CEO Mark Eddo Media at the Humanitarian High Level Meeting held during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.