Stanbic Bank Ghana has reported improvements in its banking operations since incorporating the Bank of Ghana sustainable banking principles across its operations. The ESG and Sustainability Manager for Stanbic Bank, Joseph Amo Adjei, shared this at the Integrated Environmental, Social, and Governance (IESG) programme launch by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in Accra.
Speaking on how critical the consideration and practice of ESG has been for the bank, Mr. Amo Adjei said: “We invited the IFC to conduct diagnostics on the bank’s Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) in 2019 shortly after launch of the Sustainable Banking Principles. Steady work has been done to close the identified gaps and put the bank on a path to attain full compliance with the BoG Sustainable Banking Principles.
“The IFC diagnostics report came in handy in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic’s peak as we had to make a case to the KFW development bank to support the bank’s SME clients under the KFW grant programme. The grant fund of €6m was used to support our SME clients with payment of salaries and other working capital needs, with the largest beneficiary being clients in the educational sector as they were hardest hit by the pandemic.”
He further noted that for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) to be fully integrated into normal business practice, the Board and Senior Management’s commitment is required. Mr. Amo Adjei said: “Integrating ESG and Sustainable Banking principles requires commitment from top management and boards of businesses, as leadership often view ESG and Sustainability embedment from a cost perspective. There is a medium- to long-term benefit from integrating ESG and Sustainability, as sustainable businesses are now the businesses of the future. In Stanbic, the Board and senior management are showing this commitment with the recent approval of a business case for integrating ESG and Sustainability in the bank”.
The IESG is an initiative of IFC in partnership with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO. The programme is also expected to give financial institutions the tools to better address and assess risks, and improve their sustainability and long-term performance. Through the ESG programme for Ghana, IFC and the Bank of Ghana will support banks in the country to implement the seven Sustainable Banking Principles and incorporate them across their operations. The principles, launched in 2019, are designed to help financial institutions respond to risks, increase transparency, and promote sustainability.