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Issues of climate change as again come to the fore as experts advocate that Nigeria needs green bond issuance to fund climate change activities.
The recent Cyclone Idai and Kenneth that hit Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are direct consequences from devastation of the environment and as such issue of climate change should be overemphasised at this point in time, the experts say.
This was the sum up at the maiden edition of the Access Bank Sustainability Summit (TABSS) held in Lagos, recently.
“Climate change has the potential to create physical, social and economic destruction on an unprecedented extent. Therefore, it is important that we are able to mobilise low carbon finance,” A’isha Usman Mahmood, special adviser to the CBN governor on Sustainable Banking, said.
“Green bond issuance is one of the pathways we need to follow to ensure that we have the ability to generate a model for financing our climate change activities,” Mahmood said.
She stated that the country had initially issued a $10.69 billion bonds and would be issuing another $15 billion bond at the later part of the year by Access Bank.
The CBN will continue to work with Access Bank and other financial institutions to move sustainability agenda and ensure that the country reduce its greenhouse gas emission, she said.
In his keynote address, Herbert Wigwe, group managing director/CEO of Access Bank, said the summit was timely as industry leaders were now recognising the impact of sustainability as a key driver to accelerating development
Wigwe, who was represented by Amaechi Michael Okobi, head of communications of the bank, said the overarching aim of the summit was to provide a platform for consultation on the UNEP-FI Global Responsible Banking Principles in an African context, as well as to discuss the role and responsibility of financial institutions and their impact on the achievement of the SDGs.
“Growing debt issuance across Africa opens the door to introducing ‘use of proceeds’ features, such as green bonds and associated certification and oversight processes, as a means of attracting new sources of finance,” he said.
Kenneth Amaeshi, the chair in business and sustainable development and director of the sustainable business initiative, University of Edinburg, advised the country to domesticate its sustainability focused on environmental and social needs in such a way to project the current reality.
“We have a weak manufacturing base and our contribution to climate change is very minimal. The opportunity for us is to pursue manufacturing in a way that is sustainable and we have a clean slate not to make the mistake of the west,” Amaeshi said.
In her speech, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, head, sustainability at Access Bank, said as the achievement of the SDGs progresses, the importance of finance and the role of financial organisations have become increasingly crucial.
“This places significant responsibility on banks to influence corporate environmental discipline through financial policies and guidelines that are beneficial to environmental issues, sustainable development and resources,” Victor-Laniyan said.
She said Access Bank has been at the forefront of the campaign for sustainability, hence the need for the summit where stakeholders are expected to discuss the importance, and hopefully integrate sustainability into their financial regulations.
According to her, the five awards won by Access Bank at the 2018 CBN Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards, SERAs has shown how important Access Bank sees sustainability development, and that the bank is well positioned to ensure the African perspective was well reflected.