How Standard Bank is Driving Sustainability through Finance.
In a recent discussion where we were discussing how to achieve sustainability in regards to climate change, the big question we were juggling with was about financing. The goals have been set, the road map drawn but the resources to make things are still little.
Sustainability cuts across disciplines. It touches on areas of food security which means zero hunger for people. It also means access to affordable quality healthcare, and adequate income for all translated to mean zero poverty. It also means access to water and clean cooking options, access to quality education, decent work for all, gender equality and social equity as well as a political voice.
Of greater concern though is the aspect of climate change which is responsible for all current inadequacies attached to most of the areas touched in the preceding paragraph and many more others. For instance, climate change is responsible for changing weather patterns, rising temperatures, rising ocean levels resulting in replacements, and many other impacts.
The agreement has been that enough finance needs to be set aside to fund efforts aiming at combating climate change. Unfortunately, Africa lags in terms of access to private sector climate finance. The fact is that Africa attracts only 3% of private sector climate finance.
Despite this sad reality, it remains a must that Africa needs to adopt renewable energy and other pathways aimed at environmental conservation and combatting the effects of climate change. Of the 3% of global private sector financing that gets to Africa, only a minute fraction gets to reach Kenya for instance.
And that is where the need for local and individual efforts comes into play. It necessitates that we become the solution finders for our challenges. A fete Standard Bank seems to understand very well. Standard Bank has doubled its efforts in supporting the continent’s transition into a lower carbon economy.
The bank assists businesses to transition and reduces their high-impact operations which contribute to the effects of climate change. They provide financing for fast-tracking the efforts being made to put in place infrastructures that make it possible for more people to have access to reliable and sustainable energy resources, especially renewable sources which are very important for redefining the livelihoods of the continent’s masses.
In setting the pace, the business is in the race to ensure they achieve net-zero carbon emissions from their operations by the year 2040 and their financed emissions by 2050. This means that they are not in the space of financing to simply lend out money and provide business financing.
Standard Bank goes a notch higher to look into what its financing is going to do and its net impact on the environment in a bid to monitor how its financing contributes to the effects of global warming and climate change. A scrutiny of the whole value chain promises to ensure that they also influence how the money they lend out can be utilized in such a way to reduce the effects of climate change.
Some weeks ago, Standard Bank’s CEO of CIB Kenny Fihla asserted that they understand the need to make Africans perceive the carbon-based growth efforts are fair and in favor of providing them with avenues of better and prosperous growth.
He also noted that Africa’s growing urban population will need a reliable and sustainable energy supply to power their diverse operations – as well as the rest of the population – for sustained development growth.
Standard Bank, in a bid to ensure holistic sustained growth, undertakes a lot of its actions to ensure financial inclusion is achieved. They also strive to create jobs and promote enterprise growth whilst ensuring inter-country trade is optimized with minimal logistical challenges.
They also undertake efforts of upgrading sustainable infrastructural developments to support economic development and improve the well-being of the people. Besides that, their efforts to ensure access to quality education are attained for all African children and that the masses, as well as the bank’s workers’ health, are well catered for.
Finance is a great resource to bring change and Standard Bank seems to have a clear understanding of this. The efforts of Standard Bank towards achieving sustainability through finance cannot go unnoticed and unappreciated. For that, we applaud them.