By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A Nigerian lender, Fidelity Bank Plc, has agreed to adopt the single framework for a sustainable banking industry developed through collaboration between banks worldwide and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).
Called the UN Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB), the initiative is a structure for ensuring that banks’ strategy and practices align with the vision society has set out for its future in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.
Banks which have signed the principles commit to being ambitious in their sustainability strategies, working to mainstream and embed sustainability into the heart of their business while allowing them to remain at the cutting edge of sustainable finance.
Under the deal, signatory banks identify and measure the environmental and social impact resulting from their business activities, set and implement targets where they have the most significant impact, and regularly report publicly on their progress.
It provides a framework for banks to systematically understand the risks and seize the opportunities arising from the transition to more sustainable economies.
Commenting on the development, the chief executive of Fidelity Bank, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said, “As a long-time signatory to UNEPFI, signing onto the PRB is the next step to show our commitment to sustainability.
“Sustainability is central to our corporate strategy as a bank and joining the Principles further affirms our determination to increase our positive impacts in all aspects of sustainability.
“The PRB aligns with our sustainability principles and the bank is delighted to join the global community of signatories championing sustainable development around the world.”
Signatories to the principles take on a leadership role, demonstrating how banking products, services and relationships can support and accelerate the changes necessary to achieve shared prosperity for both current and future generations, building a positive future for both people and the planet.
These banks also join the world’s largest global banking community focused on sustainable finance, sharing best practices, and working together on practical guidance and pioneering tools of benefit to the entire industry.
This is a journey of unprecedented scale and scope at a time when such ambition is urgently needed to address the major planetary crises of climate change, nature loss, pollution and social issues. Together, these collective efforts will ensure that profitability goes hand in hand with a sense of purpose.