One of the greatest global challenges facing present and future generations is our transition to a low-carbon environment with requisite environmental elements for the sustenance of human life. The transition is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars in investment over the coming decades.
In recent times, the human race has been bedeviled by disasters such as flooding, landslides and extreme heat events with a number of fatalities. Apart from compromising outdoor human activities that we used to enjoy in the past, today, lengthy exposure to high temperatures can lead to heat cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and possibly death (Smith et al. 2014).
To effectively and efficiently steer the world away from this situation, financial institutions across the globe are adopting ‘Green Financing’ as a strategy to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Green Financing is described as the financing of investments that provide environmental benefits in the broader context of environmentally sustainable development. These environmental benefits include reductions in air, water and land pollution, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, improved energy efficiency while utilizing existing natural resources, as well as the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change and their co-benefits. For the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Green Finance is finance for “achieving economic growth while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing waste and improving efficiency in the use of natural resources.
The organizational approach to green finance is rooted in an understanding that the financial system both serves and relies on the economy- an element that is embedded and thrives on the environment. What this means is that when taking business decisions, organizations should consider not just the financial implications of the decision, but also the implications for the wider economy, society and the environment. This mind-set can influence every area of the business; from operations, staff recruitment and development, and investment strategy, to product design and pricing, risk management, marketing and financial management.
Green Finance has become a necessary feature within the global banking space because of the relationship between finance and the natural environment – finance impacts the natural environment directly and indirectly. The environment also directly and indirectly impacts finance and the performance of investments.
It is with this understanding and commitment to ensuring sustainable environment that Stanbic Bank Ghana has partnered the Ghana Garden and Flower Movement to organize the Ghana Garden and Flower Show. This year’s Ghana Garden and Flower Show focused on creating awareness on environmental conservation and sanitation under the theme “Enriching Ghana, a Garden at a Time”. Stanbic Bank’s involvement in the GGF Show is part of a long standing commitment to moving Ghana and Africa forward sustainably. Earlier this year, Stanbic Bank made a huge stride in the renewable energy revolution in the country with the installation of solar power systems at three of the bank’s branches in Accra and Tema.
There is evidence that gives credibility to the fact that ignoring issues that affect the environment will eventually have dire consequences on global financing and economic growth. Our actions and inactions could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars.
Stanbic Bank is well known for its involvement in sustainable environment and development projects in Ghana. The flower show is an event by the Ghana Garden and Flower Movement. The first edition was held in August 2013. The movement seeks to create awareness among Ghanaians about the commercial, aesthetic and psychological benefits of horticulture and floriculture.
The writer is the Communications Manager, Stanbic Bank Ghana