Wema Bank has reiterated its commitment to align its business with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by becoming one of the Founding Signatories of the Principles for Responsible Banking.
This way, the bank joins a coalition of 130 banks worldwide, representing over USD 47 trillion in assets, in committing to taking on a crucial role in helping to achieve a sustainable future.
Taking place at the start of the UN General Assembly, the official launch of the Principles for Responsible Banking marked the beginning of the most significant partnership to date between the global banking industry and the UN.
“The UN Principles for Responsible Banking are a guide for the global banking industry to respond to, drive and benefit from a sustainable development economy. The Principles create the accountability that can realize responsibility, and the ambition that can drive action.” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the launch event, attended by the 130 Founding Signatories and over 45 of their CEOs.
The Principles for Responsible Banking were developed by a core group of 30 Founding Banks through an innovative global partnership between banks and the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). UNEP FI is the UN-private sector collaboration that includes membership of more than 250 financial institutions around the globe.
As expressed in the Principles for Responsible Banking, Wema Bank aims to contirbute to an inclusive society founded on human dignity, equality and the sustainable use of natural resources for clients, customers and businesses thrive.
“At Wema Bank, the journey has started with our sustainability vision of developing “Digital Solutions for Societal Impact,” said Ademola Adebise, MD/CEO Wema Bank.
“The landscape is wide, but we believe that with the use of technology and through innovation, daily improvements can be made to the society that we operate in. As a deliberate strategy, we will continue to drive our corporate sustainability initiatives with a focus on reducing our environmental footprint, promoting responsible business practices and creating shared value for our stakeholders. Our long-term aspiration is to become a responsible stakeholder in the growing digital economy, with capacity for increased innovation to identify untapped opportunities in the market space and impact positively on the society, environment and business.”
By signing up to the Principles, the bank commits to using its products, services and relationships to support and accelerate the fundamental changes in the society to enable shared prosperity for both current and future generations.
“A banking industry that plans for the risks associated with climate change and other environmental challenges can not only drive the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, it can benefit from it,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
“When the financial system shifts its capital away from resource-hungry, brown investments to those that back nature as solution, everybody wins in the long-term.”
The Principles for Responsible Banking are supported by a strong implementation and accountability framework. By signing them, Wema Bank pledges to being transparent on both a positive and negative impact on people and planet. The bank will focus where it has the greatest impact – on its core business – and set, publish and implement ambitious targets to scale up positive and address any negative impacts in line with global and local goals.
The signing will avail Wema Bank the opportunity for an effective framework to systematically identify and seize new business opportunities created by the emerging sustainable development economy, while at the same time enabling the bank to effectively identify and address related risks.