Encouraging Sustainable Environment with Community Investment

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Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan

As a way of re-enforcing its commitment to sustainability principles and in commemoration of its 10th year of encouraging sustainable environment with community investment, Mary Nnah writes that Access Bank Plc Nigeria, dedicated November 5 to 9 as it’s Sustainability Awareness Week

For a whole week, Access Bank performed a series of activities to mark its 10 years of commitment to sustainability principal. The event tagged, “Sustainability Awareness Week”, which kicked off on Monday, November 5 and will be rounding up today, November 9, is geared towards deepening the sustainability culture among its employees and reminding them of the crucial role they must play in creating a sustainable future.

In an interview with THISDAY, the Head of Sustainability, Access Bank Plc Nigeria, Mrs. Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan said the weeklong event, which has the theme, “The Journey to a Sustainable Future”, particularly aims at encouraging employees to engage in activities that will positively impact the environment as well as touch lives, leaving indelible positive memories on people.

She said: “As a leading African financial institution, Access Bank has the influence to support responsible business practices throughout its organisation, within the industry and for its client. The bank believes that customers, employees, the wider community and the world we live in deserve to be treated responsibly and actively supported. ”

Victor-Laniyan explained that through the bank’s employee volunteering scheme, “we encourage our employees to add value to their communities”, noting that the Bank measures employees’ progress against agreed objectives and targets and can incentivise, recognise, and reward the right types of behaviour and outcomes.

Consequently, the Access Bank Sustainability Awareness Week 2018 which held in all the subsidiaries of Access Bank, was packed with series of events, one of which is the Employee Volunteering Awareness Day that recognised the contributions of employees who have championed various innovative initiatives to better the lives of people in various communities.

During the week, the bank also rewarded sustainable actions of employees and groups across the bank. In addition, various impactful training sessions and workshops were held to educate people on the importance of embedding responsible practices in business operations and everyday life while highlighting the effect on the bank’s triple bottom line- Planet, People and Profit.

The first training session for employees whose topic was ‘Leading Sustainably’ held on Tuesday, the second training session was for Access Bank suppliers and was tagged ‘Sustainable Supply Chain’. The third training session holds today, Friday, November 9 for employees and the topic is ‘Community Investment’ this will be conducted by HACEY Health Initiative.

As part of its plan for encouraging and promoting healthy living among staff and external stakeholders, the bank during the week-long activities started a Biggest Loser weight loss competition. This competition is aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles amongst the bank’s employees.

Victor-Laniyan who spoke further on why the bank is so passionate about sustainability noted that the bank believes that protecting the environment is the duty of every human being and business; and as such helps in guaranteeing the future.

She stressed therefore that the bank is not only in business to maximise shareholders’ value but considers the social and environmental impact of every aspect of its banking operations and channel its resources to achieve sustainable growth and development in Africa.

She said therefore that this was the obvious reason why the company in carrying out its business, puts the community at the centre of everything it does, adding that it will continue to live true to the company’s promise in its mission to set standards for sustainable practices that unleash the talents of their employees, deliver superior value to their customers and provide innovative solutions for the markets and communities they serve.

She stressed that for Access Bank, sustainability means more than finding new customers, or making profit, adding that its view on sustainability encompasses wider social and environmental systems.

Speaking on what effect the substantiality awareness week will have in the nation’s economy generally, Victor-Laniyan said, “By commemorating the sustainability awareness week encouraging staff to live a more sustainable life Access Bank is contributing their quota by putting their business at the centre of spreading the word on sustainability, as they strive to provide value to the markets.

“Access Bank is advocating building economic foundations, the right conditions and institutional frameworks upon which to encourage investment, innovation and economic development. The sustainability awareness week will ensure a strong awareness of the need for development efforts to focus on sustainable long-term economic development if poverty is to be reduced.

“As a strong dynamic growing economy will strive to increase revenue generation and create employment, resulting in higher personal and household income which can be of benefit to the most impoverished. Living a sustainable life will help generate the needed financial resources to invest in the well-being of people.”

Mindful of the fact that the cost of action and inaction can be grave, the bank has demonstrated a constant focus on making real change through social outcomes and creating a sustainable future for itself and its customers. Over the years, it has been able to consistently identify and create a roadmap that increasingly values long-term sustainable development in investment, financial transactions and environmental stewardship.

Victor-Laniyan explained further that as a global financial institution, its environmental impact stems from the operations in the office buildings, bank branches, and data centres. Access Bank is consciously working on reducing the environmental impact of its operations through consistent reductions in its environmental footprints.

“Our resource conservation programmes, in water usage, energy consumption, and waste recycling, are helping to cut down CO2 emission. Also, through our lending and investment activities, coupled with our procurement practices, we have indirect environmental impacts. With the understanding that climate change will have a social and economic impact on our customers, we ensure that we properly manage risk while capturing new markets.

“We imagine the endless possibilities that the future holds. Hence, with creativity, innovation, and speed, we are making vital contributions in creating a sustainable future” she added. “We have established a proactive approach to the sustainability agenda, by working with our employees, our customers and our suppliers to ensure that sustainability sits at the heart of all actions. We are also committed to building a lasting and profitable financial institution that operates in a manner that will not compromise the ability of future generations to live in a healthy environment and prosperous communities. We have, therefore, integrated this principle into our operational decisions and business strategy.”

“From the outset, we challenged ourselves to operate to the highest global standards. We understand that the long-term security of the communities where we operate, the well-being of our employees, the strength of the global economy, and the enduring success of our business as a bank depend on our commitment to sustainability. Long-term profit and growth can only be achieved with sustainable environmental, economic and social policies.

“We are leaders and will sustain our leadership areas by being a flagbearer for responsible business. We are setting new standards for the industry. We take responsible business very seriously because we know that the impact, we can have on people’s lives is enormous”, she added.

Access Bank, which has become a leading African bank with sustainability as the cornerstone of its business philosophy, believes that by delivering social, economic and environmental value today, we can create shareholder’s value tomorrow.”