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7 ways one of Nigeria’s biggest banks is working to defend the planet

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In the fight against climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, individual actions are not enough to reverse the trend.

Businesses and corporate organizations around the world contribute to majority of industrial greenhouse gas emissions and that is why it is vital that these institutions play their part in creating a cleaner and healthier planet.

According to the CDP, an international non-profit organization that pushes businesses and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, only 100 companies have been responsible for at least 70% of all industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the world since 1988.

This clearly shows that while individual actions such as recycling and reducing the use of plastic are also an important step, the world cannot make the real progress needed towards the Paris Agreement goals if companies do not. are not actively working to reduce their impact on the environment.

In Nigeria, Access Bank is working to do just that. As one of Nigeria’s largest financial institutions, this type of leadership is important in the country where climate change and sustainability are not common issues compared to poverty and social inequalities, for example.

“For us, sustainability means responsible business practices and community investment,” said Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank. “Our sustainability work focuses primarily on health, the arts, sports, education, women’s empowerment and the banking environment. At Access Bank, we recognize that the sustainability journey is fraught with challenges, and we believe that sustainability should be embedded in the fabric of any business. ”

Here are seven ways Access Bank is striving to be a greener business to support the urgent mission of defending the planet.

1. Recycling paper and notebooks

Through what it calls the Paper-to-Pencil initiative, Access Bank recycles its used notebooks, papers and journals – from the Access Bank and Diamond Bank brands (which Access Bank acquired in 2019) – and turns them into pencils. . According to the bank, the pencils provided by the program have so far benefited more than 10,000 elementary and secondary students.

2. Sustainable waste management

Bank branches generate a lot of waste, not only from the staff, but also from the customers who visit the hundreds of banking machines on a daily basis.

Access Bank currently has a waste management program at 75 of its branches in Nigeria through which it recycles paper, plastic, glass and aluminum cans. He also told Global Citizen that he is supporting his suppliers at these branches with recycling trucks to maximize recycling capacity.

Over the years, the bank has also set up training modules on sustainable waste management for its staff.

3. Tire recycling

Through a partnership with the FABE Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on environmental health and sustainability, Access Bank collects used tires from its fleet of vehicles and recycles them into reusable furniture.

You need a rubber tire about 50-80 years or older decompose completely, which means efforts to extend tire life and prevent them from ending up in landfills is an important step.

4. Supply some of its operations from alternative energy sources

A key aspect of tackling climate change is moving away from fossil fuels as an energy source, and activists and experts have long called on companies to invest in sustainable energy sources to help the world survive. achieve zero net emissions.

In this regard, 58 Access Bank branches are currently using a hybrid approach combining solar power and other renewable energy sources to reduce its emissions.

It also uses energy-saving LED bulbs in all of its branches, has installed water-saving taps in many of its facilities, and operates 605 solar-powered ATMs. The bank also told Global Citizen that it has a process in place to track its electricity consumption at its branches.

5. Green social entrepreneurship program

Through a partnership with SME Funds, a social enterprise focused on eradicating poverty by financing ethical, green and social enterprises, Access Bank’s Green Social Entrepreneurship Program trains local entrepreneurs to produce cooking biofuels. cleaner and safer for the environment.

To date, the bank has trained more than 280 entrepreneurs, 70% of whom are women, and provided them with access to start-up capital. These entrepreneurs have already reported revenues of more than N15 million from the production and distribution of more than 7,500 liters of biofuel.

The program also reached more than 500 households and 2,100 beneficiaries gained access to low-cost cooking fuel and stoves, displacing 287 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the bank.

During the pandemic, the program was expanded to support an additional 2,500 families in 100 communities, reaching more than 900 small business owners. This translated into daily savings of 1,300 naira per family, a time saving of 225,000 minutes and the elimination of 8,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the bank told Global Citizen.

6. Encourage wildlife conservation

The bank also conducted a conservation awareness campaign in four communities in Enugu State, in south-eastern Nigeria.

Through a partnership with Glow Initiative for Economic Empowerment – a non-profit organization that focuses primarily on climate change, poverty and unemployment – knowledge and positive practices on wildlife conservation are transmitted to local communities, and conservation clubs are created in schools to teach young children about advocacy for wildlife conservation.

A total of 280 students and 250 hunters in rural communities were part of the program, according to Access Bank, and more than 2,000 people have been affected globally.

7. Solar skills training for young entrepreneurs

The bank also ran a training program for youth in Anambra State on the design, repair, installation and assembly of solar power equipment through a new partnership with Glow Initiative.

More than 570 young people have participated in this program and 17 of them have already started their own solar energy businesses.

“We issued the Climate Bonds Initiative’s first corporate green bond in Africa, valued at approximately $ 41 million, to finance and refinance environmentally friendly projects, such as renewable energy, this which would result in an estimated annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 730 tonnes (carbon dioxide equivalent), ”Wigwe told Global Citizen Live in Lagos. “Other projects include the flood defense system in Lagos, to protect over 400,000 residents from flooding.”

He added, “Let us always remember that we are humans first, and as individuals and businesses we have an obligation to lead the recovery of our planet and end extreme poverty. “


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