The Development Bank Ghana has signed onto the United Nations Global Compact, thus committing to responsible business practices in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and corruption.
The United Nations Global Compact is a United Nations pact that enjoins its signatories – mostly businesses and firms worldwide – to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation. The compact has ten principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
DBG is the first Ghanaian financial institution to achieve this feat, with the aim of transforming business through changing mindsets to aid the Bank effectively access, implement and measure sustainability strategies.
In his address, Chief Executive Officer-DBG, Kwamina Duker, noted that DBG has a mission to finance economic growth, create jobs and partnerships; thus, the UN Global Compact provides the universal language for corporate responsibility and a framework for guidance.
He said DBG supports public accountability and transparency, and is committed to reporting on progress of the UN Global Compact in its annual Communication on Progress as demanded of signatories to the compact.
“DBG is pleased to join the many organisations all over the world who are signatories to the UN Global Compact and who believe, as we do, that ethical business conduct is an important component which enables companies to foster sustainable development,” he said.
Mr. Duker indicated that the bank’s membership of the UN Global Compact gives it the gravitas to seek further replenishments from Development Finance Institutions (DFIs): namely the World Bank, KfW, the African Development Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB).
Prior to commencing operations, DBG received funds from The World Bank (US$200million), the European Investment Bank (€177.7million), KfW Development Bank (€46.5million) and the Africa Development Bank (US$40million). Additionally, government set aside US$250million worth of equity in DBG.
Currently, loans to be issued for SMEs by DBG will have maturity dates of 3 to 15 years. However, with this signing DBG hopes to increase the proportion of loans available for small businesses from 9 percent to 15 percent between now and 2024.
Mr. Duker noted that the UN Global Compact’s tenets are strategies DBG currently employs in its business operations
“The UN Global Compact also positions DBG to effectively assess, define, implement, measure and communicate the Bank’s sustainability strategy goals. Our key pillars are to foster strong partnerships to finance economic growth, create jobs and build the capacity of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) toward achieving sustainable growth. So, in joining the UN Global Compact, DBG looks to strengthen its ability to serve as a catalyst for responsible business practices,” Mr. Duker, stressed.
DBG has mapped out plans to disburse US$600million worth of credit facilities to small businesses over a 2-year period.
On his part, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network-Ghana, Tolu Kweku Delacroix, commended DBG on achieving this feat – becoming the first financial service institution in Ghana to do this. He noted that it is important for businesses to uphold sustainable business practices in their operations.
He revealed that, so far, all companies which have signed onto the Compact have been able to increase their profit margins by 13 percent. Thus, signing the compact will help boost the image of DBG to attract more funding.
Mr. Delacroix noted that the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with 13,000 corporate participants.