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Interview: Developing Economies Need A Fair Energy Transition Strategy – Chairman, Stanbic IBTC

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Interview: Developing Economies Need A Fair Energy Transition Strategy – Chairman, Stanbic IBTC

Olushola Okunlade Writes

What is your view of the financial industry since 2021 began?

The financial industry has played a vital role in the global economic recovery since the novel COVID-19 adverse impact in 2020. The Nigerian financial sector, particularly the banking industry, has been exceptionally responsive to the challenges in the domestic environment. The resilience of the Nigerian financial sector is undoubtedly reassuring, and the Central Bank of Nigeria has been supportive in various aspects. However, due to the fragile economy, high inflation rate, Naira devaluation, and an intensely competitive business environment, the financial sector grapples with harsh macroeconomic conditions.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) have become of increasing interest among companies in the last couple of years. How is Stanbic IBTC promoting and adopting this concept?

At Stanbic IBTC, we are well onboard the ESG paradigm. We recognise that our core business activities must support and contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth. We have thus adopted SEE (Social, Environmental and Economic) Impacts as one of our strategic value drivers. The SEE value driver requires us to think differently about the broader ESG impacts of our business activities, both direct and indirect impacts.  

In operationalising the SEE value driver, we seek to identify and explore opportunities to provide financial solutions, products, and services that help address social, economic, and environmental challenges. This also requires that we work with our clients, service providers, and other stakeholders to promote positive SEE outcomes while minimising negative SEE impacts.   

There have been various calls for the adoption of green energy, especially among corporate organisations. Recently, Stanbic IBTC held its Sustainability Week, where the need for zero-emission was discussed. How important is green energy to sustainable development in Nigeria, and what can other corporates, for example, major financial institutions do to drive this principle? 

For development in Nigeria to be sustainable, there must be an appropriate balance to ensure the environment and society are not negatively affected by economic activities, both today and in the future. We acknowledge that the economy and society are wholly owned subsidiaries of the environment; hence we must strive to ensure that the environment remains stable to support economic and social activities.  

Green energy (Solar, Wind, Hydro, etc.) thus presents an opportunity to pursue economic development while ensuring minimal adverse impacts on the environment. Green energy is devoid of carbon emissions (unlike fossil fuel energy sources) which harms the environment and is one of the major contributors to climate change. Corporates, including financial institutions, can gradually shift to cleaner energy sources for their operations. Also, financial institutions can help advance this shift by facilitating funding (in line with their risk appetites), which will be necessary to achieve growth in the green energy space. 

However, the journey to a green energy world has only just begun. As you saw at COP26 (Conference of Parties 26), the world is attempting to obtain the commitment of Nation States to the Net-zero emission world. Progress is being made, but it is slow, and there are contentious positions. At this stage, most developing economies do not have the technology for green energy. Neither can they afford the cost of green energy if they are to continue providing for their people and societies and improving their standard of living. The developed world, which is disproportionally responsible, on both gross and per capita basis, for the bulk of carbon emission into the atmosphere, is unwilling to drastically cut their energy consumption, as they wish to maintain the standard of living of their people. Therefore, there is a need for a just energy transition strategy that is fair to all and affordable to all.

How has your organisation been able to reduce its carbon footprint, especially in the banking halls and areas where staff members interface with customers?

Building Environmental Resilience is one of our four Sustainability pillars in Stanbic IBTC. This pillar demonstrates our focus on environmental footprint management. In line with this, we have implemented and continued to expand on programs to reduce our carbon footprints. The key areas include:  

– Reduction of energy consumption in our office locations using energy-efficient fittings; retrofitting our office locations to maximise cooling and reduce energy wastage; the Switch-off and Unplug (SOUP) initiative after working hours. 

– Adoption of cleaner energy sources across our office locations. We installed solar energy solutions across over one-fourth of our branch locations. In addition, we have adopted the use of natural gas (which is cleaner than diesel and petrol) for our energy consumption at our Idejo and Walter Carrington Crescent head office campuses.  

– We also have the Go-Green program across some branch locations to reduce energy and paper consumption and improve water efficiency.  

Besides reducing our carbon generation, we have recently also adopted Tree Planting programs to help us with carbon sequestration. So far, we have facilitated the planting of over 300 trees, and this number will grow significantly in the coming years.   

What measures has Stanbic IBTC as a group taken to combat climate change? 

We acknowledge the need for urgency in halting climate change, and Stanbic IBTC is contributing its quota to addressing this issue. In addition to the programs discussed earlier (aimed at reducing carbon footprints from our operations), we are also working with vendors and customers to provide solutions that can help address climate change issues. This is reflected in one of our seven focus SEE Impact Areas – Climate Change and Sustainable Finance – where the Group seeks to provide financial solutions to support climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.  

We also continue to advance awareness around climate change amongst the general public; leveraging our social media platforms and webinars, for instance, the recently concluded Net Zero Webinar. Similarly, our parent company, the Standard Bank Group hosted a Climate Summit in partnership with the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. We continue to take awareness communication initiatives by sharing practical tips that people can adopt to help address climate change.  

We know that marketing and advertising is very necessary to any business – yours inclusive. What plans are in place to adopt sustainable advertising models which help the environment and move away from traditional advertising?

As an organisation, we have begun practicing sustainability marketing. One of the ways we have done this is drastically reducing our investment in traditional print media advertising and up-weighting investment in digital advertising. We have also instituted Sustainability Saturdays, where we educate the general populace across digital platforms on all issues about sustainability, highlighting what we, as a company, have invested in socially and our environmental impacts in the areas we operate. These are embedded in our marketing strategy. Another way we practice sustainable advertising is by ensuring that our marketing is consumer-oriented. Our engagements with our customers are innovatively value-adding to the customers. Lastly, our solutions, products, and services are useful to all strata of society. 

How well will you say Nigerian businesses and corporate organisations are doing in terms of protecting the environment?

I would say there is growing awareness amongst Nigerian businesses on the need to protect the environment. Some organisations are genuinely adopting measures to manage their environmental footprints in line with their commitments and or regulatory requirements. 

However, we are barely scratching the surface as a lot of work still needs to be done to develop appropriate regulations and enforce existing regulations to ensure compliance with environmental best practices and standards. Also, a lot still needs to be done in collaboration amongst stakeholders (regulators, NGOs, corporates, communities) to advance environmental protection in Nigeria.  

In your opinion, how has the pandemic affected the adoption of sustainable environmental practices? 

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a potent reminder of the need for businesses to adopt sustainable practices that can help minimise disruptions to business arising from such black-swan events. It was interesting to note how organisations quickly adopted sustainable environmental practices such as using digital conferencing systems and reducing business travel, which is a key contributor to global emissions.  Therefore, in my opinion, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of sustainable environmental practices. 

Interview: Developing Economies Need A Fair Energy Transition Strategy – Chairman, Stanbic IBTC
BASIL OMIYI.

As a company that is big on CSI projects, how do you contribute to ensuring your host communities benefit from sustainable environmental practices?

As a socially responsible organisation, we develop initiatives to impact the communities in which we operate. Over the years, we have donated several water borehole projects to our host communities as part of our role in improving the standard of living of these communities. Access to clean water is part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and we deliberately chose solar energy to power these water sources. Being an SDG-oriented organisation, another reason we have opted for high-quality solar-powered borehole machines is to reduce the impact of fossil fuels on the environment.

We also have embarked on tree planting activities as part of our CSI initiatives; which we have been able to sustain due to our partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF). As part of our 30th-anniversary activities in 2019, we planted 30 trees at Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC), an urban jungle in the heart of Lagos. We further planted 30 trees in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.  We have also encouraged staff to participate in tree planting activities through their departmental CSI initiatives. This is one of the practical methods we have taken towards reducing carbon footprints and achieving net-zero emissions.

What can be done differently in the financial sector in Nigeria to ensure more people begin to pay attention to issues that affect the planet? 

I believe that the societal influence of the financial sector in driving positive changes has not been fully harnessed. On one hand, the public perception of the financial sector needs to be improved such that it claims its rightful place in society and get the public assured that it functions for the greater benefit of society. The industry is expected to lead by example by continuously improving sustainability drives in their business operations, for instance, Stanbic IBTC Group has committed to and is working towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

On the other hand, the financial sector is responsible for adopting measures that will influence its various stakeholders such as providing them with sustainable investing opportunities and prioritising compliant stakeholders.

There is a need for collaboration amongst stakeholders (government agencies, regulators, environmental experts, financial institutions, NGOs, Communities) towards developing an ecosystem for environmental financing. This will encourage and facilitate increased adoption of environmentally beneficial practices, solutions, or programs.

What is your expectation for the industry as a whole in the near future? 

Without mincing words, ‘innovation-driven change’. Technology is rapidly advancing, competition is getting stiffer, and the regulatory environment is changing. The industry is generally looking out for improved ways to grow scale and remain relevant in society. The potentials for innovations to transform the financial ecosystem are almost limitless, and these courses are still being charted.

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FBNHoldings Wins Two Awards At Nigerian Investor Value Awards

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FBNHoldings Wins "Best Performing Stock And Best Stakeholders’ Communications Of The Year" At NIVA Awards 2022

Best Performing Stock

Best Stakeholders’ Communications of the Year

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Nigeria’s leading financial services group and holding company, FBN Holdings Plc, has won two awards at the Year 2022 Nigerian Investor Value Awards (NIVA). The prestigious event, which was held last Saturday at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos was organised by BusinessDay, in collaboration with the Nigerian Exchange Limited.

The first award was in the Best Performing Stock, among the bank holding companies category. The statement from the organisers read that, FBNHoldings within the period under review, had the best share price performance with a capital gain of 59.44% and a total return of 65.73%. 

Best Stakeholders’ Communications of the Year was the second award. According to the organisers, the consideration for the award was predicated on the fact that ‘FBNHoldings has a high quality, information-rich annual report, timely quarterly results communication, and a comprehensive investor relations website.’ 

FBNHoldings Wins "Best Performing Stock And Best Stakeholders’ Communications Of The Year" At NIVA Awards 2022
Left-Right: FBNHoldings Plc’s team at the event, Bode Oguntoke, Head, Internal Audit, FBNH, Opeyemi Okojie, Head, Strategy & Corporate Development, FBNH, Wale Ariyibi, Chief Financial Officer, FBNH receiving the award from Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Capital Markets, Nigerian Exchange Limited, Ogho Okiti, MD/CEO BusinessDay Newspaper, and Simisola Salami, Team Lead, Communications & Shareholders Engagement, Investor Relations FBNHoldings Plc at the year 2022 Nigerian Investor Value Awards which held at Lagos Continental Hotel, Kofo Abayomi Street, Lagos last Saturday.

Commenting on the awards, the FBNHoldings Group Managing Director, Nnamdi Okonkwo said; “we are delighted to have been recognised for the high returns the share price of our great institution provided to our shareholders and investors in the year. This remains consistent with our focus of enhancing shareholder value”. Adding further, Okonkwo posited that “winning the second award on stakeholders’ communication demonstrates the quality of our disclosure, the excellent relationship with our stakeholders and the strong Investor relations practice. This epitomises the value our Group brings across engagements with our various stakeholders, which helps to make ours, the brand of the first choice”.

The NIVA Awards are being held for the second year in a row. It was formerly the Top 25 CEOs Awards which was held for over eight years. These latest awards are coming on the back of the recent International Finance awards where FBNHoldings won two awards, Best Investor Relations – Banking – Nigeria and Most Diversified Financial Portfolio Services – Nigeria.

Know More About FBN Holdings Plc: FBN Holdings Plc. is the non-operating financial holding company of one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in Africa. A truly diversified financial services group that offers a broad range of products and services, including commercial banking, merchant banking, and asset management and insurance to millions of customers. FBNHoldings oversees business groups that collaborate to deliver innovative financial solutions.

The bank and the non-bank subsidiaries of the holding company operating in Nigeria, as well as through overseas branches, subsidiaries, and representative offices across the world. The companies in the FBNHoldings Group include; First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank), a commercial bank with operations in 10 countries; the Merchant Banking and Asset Management business of FBNHoldings, which comprises FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited, FBNQuest Capital Limited, FBNQuest Trustees Limited, FBNQuest Asset Management Limited, FBNQuest Funds Limited, and FBNQuest Securities Limited.

In the Insurance business line, the 20-year-old Insurance broking Company, FBN Insurance Brokers Limited is a subsidiary of the FBN Holdings Plc offering broking and advisory services to the Group’s captive businesses and other clients.          

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Alliance For Youth Nigeria Equips Youth Across The Country For Employment

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Alliance For Youth Nigeria Equips Youth Across The Country For Employment

…Alliance for Youth Nigeria is investing in young Nigerians, equipping
them with the right skills, and information to thrive and succeed in the world of work – Uwadoka

Olushola Okunlade Writes 

Alliance for Youth Nigeria equips youth across the country for employment

Over 200 fresh graduates across Nigeria have received employability skills training facilitated by the Alliance for Youth Nigeria. The training comprised Building Winning Resumes, Career Positioning, Personal Brand Marketing, Personal Effectiveness, Time
Management, and Starting the Career Journey among others.

In addition, the best performers will benefit from internship and mentoring opportunities in the six companies that form part of the Alliance. At the end of the training, some participants of the training also had the unique opportunity of partaking in job interviews and placements, progressing on their career journeys.

Alliance For Youth Nigeria Equips Youth Across The Country For Employment
Left-Right: Mrs. Omomene Odike, CEO, U-Connect Human Resources Limited Edidiong Peters, Public Affairs Specialist, Nestlé Nigeria PLC Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications, and Public Affairs Manager, Nestlé Nigeria PLC; Second Row Left-Right: Oyinlola Lawal, Youth Engagement Analyst, Jobberman Nigeria Damilola Odubanjo, Learning, and Development Associate, Jobberman Nigeria Olugbenga Alabi, Category and Marketing Manager, Coffee, Nestlé Nigeria PLC Uche Aso, Head, Learning and Development, U-Connect Human Resources Limited Lanre Coleman, Head, Recruitment and Outsourcing, U-Connect Human Resources Limited.
Alliance For Youth Nigeria Equips Youth Across The Country For Employment

Launched in August 2021, the Alliance is a business-driven movement of organizations passionate about working together to help young people around the country get the necessary skills to thrive in the world of work. Members of the Alliance for Youth Nigeria include Nestlé Nigeria, Jobberman Nigeria, Sterling One Foundation, Big Bottling Company, the United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria, and U-Connect HR Limited, with Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and Activate Success International as partner organizations.

The member and partner organizations have positioned themselves to invest in joint and individual projects to give young Nigerians meaningful work experience, internships, readiness-for-work training, and mentoring opportunities in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 – to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all by 2030.

The employability skills training is one of the projects of the Alliance designed to meet the target of reaching more than 250,000 young Nigerians with employability and entrepreneurial skills to enable them to secure gainful employment or set up businesses of their own within 3 years. This objective, which was announced during the launch of the Alliance, is in line with their commitment to work together to address the challenges of youth unemployment in the country with the associated social and economic impact.

Alliance For Youth Nigeria Equips Youth Across The Country For Employment
Tosin Babasanya-Craig, Country Manager, Performance Fact Inc. facilitating one of the Alliance for Youth Nigeria sessions to equip youth across the country for employment.

Speaking at the opening session of the training, Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications, and Public Affairs Manager, Nestlé Nigeria PLC said, “I am delighted that yet again, the Alliance for Youth Nigeria is investing in young Nigerians, equipping
them with the right skills and information to thrive and succeed in the world of work. At Nestlé, we believe that society cannot thrive if we fail to offer a future for the young generations. The Alliance will continue to work together with other stakeholders in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 in fulfilling the huge target we
have committed to and I encourage young people around the country to take advantage of the available opportunities”.

Also speaking at the training, Mrs. Omomene Odike, CEO U-Connect Human Resources Limited, congratulated the youth for their interest and dedication to achieving their career and business goals demonstrated by their participation in the training. She further highlighted the value-adding opportunity of job interviews and placements provided by her organization for participants of the training, urging them to take maximum advantage of the offer.

According to Innih Ikhide, Youth Engagement, and Learning Manager Jobberman Nigeria, “Jobberman is dedicated to creating increased pathways for young people to access dignified livelihoods for a better Nigeria”.

For Naomi Nwokolo, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria, “The active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is central to achieving sustainable, inclusive, and stable societies by the year 2030, and averting the worst threats and challenges to sustainable development, including the impacts of unemployment. The beneficiaries of the training have shown a willingness to improve their skills and attain professional development and are now more equipped for successful participation in job recruitment processes”.

On behalf of other participants, Adasa Okandiji, commended the member companies for the excellent upskilling platform provided to equip and better position young Nigerians for a productive career, now and in the future. She expressed her readiness and that of other participants, to fully utilize the value-adding information obtained in creating their desired future. She also called on youth across the country to be deliberate about seeking out and taking advantage of existing opportunities, particularly that provided by the Alliance.

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FBNHoldings Wins “Best Performing Stock And Best Stakeholders’ Communications Of The Year” At NIVA Awards 2022

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FBNHoldings Wins "Best Performing Stock And Best Stakeholders’ Communications Of The Year" At NIVA Awards 2022

…FBNHoldings Plc Wins NIVA Awards

Olushola Okunlade Writes

FBNHoldings Plc has won two awards, Best Performing Stock and Best Stakeholders’ Communications of the Year at the 2022 Nigerian Investor Value Awards (“NIVA”) which was held at Lagos Continental Hotel, Lagos last Saturday, May 14th, 2022.

According to the organizers, “Best Performing Stock and Best Stakeholders’ Communications of the Year Award” was conferred on FBN Holdings Plc for proven the resilience of its business model, and recovery capacity across all verticals it participates in, and strategic opportunism in new growth areas.

This award is in recognition of the indelible contributions of FBNHoldings Plc and its subsidiaries to the economic growth of Nigeria, throughout its 128 years of existence; representing all that is enviable about the financial services industry in Nigeria, reinventing itself to transform into a digital bank with sprawling footprints across the country and Africa.

FBNHoldings Wins "Best Performing Stock And Best Stakeholders’ Communications Of The Year" At NIVA Awards 2022
Left-Right: FBNHoldings Plc’s team at the event, Bode Oguntoke, Head, Internal Audit, FBNH, Opeyemi Okojie, Head, Strategy & Corporate Development, FBNH, Wale Ariyibi, Chief Financial Officer, FBNH receiving the award from Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Capital Markets, Nigerian Exchange Limited, Ogho Okiti, MD/CEO BusinessDay Newspaper, and Simisola Salami, Team Lead, Communications & Shareholders Engagement, Investor Relations FBNHoldings Plc at the year 2022 Nigerian Investor Value Awards which held at Lagos Continental Hotel, Kofo Abayomi Street, Lagos last Saturday.

FBN Holdings Plc has been providing exceptional services to its customers, bringing mainstream banking to Nigeria’s 774 LGAs. Through its Agent Banking Platform, they empower people and transform lives. Its shareholders remain key to its success story and every day it strives to deliver quality returns on its investment whilst strengthening the fundamentals of the business through smart investment in technology, our people, and process. As a business, it also prioritizes Nigeria’s Economic, Social, and Governance practices to ensure the sustainability of the environment.”

The company has won many awards for its portfolio.

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