“The first thing with sustainable banking is the directors of the bank and the directors of the directing agency need to own these principles. There needs to be high level commitments and understanding of what the roadmap is,” Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi told CNBC Africa.
The principles are based on leading international sustainable finance standards and established industry best practice, however, they were developed in line with the Nigerian context and development needs.
“One of the things that comes up often, is that you look at the impact of the environment on the economy and people don’t usually make the connection between the environment and social strife,” said Sanusi.
According to the governor, if people don’t begin to understand that if there’s no focus on the environment, the banking business cannot exist as the environment would be destroyed.
“When they understand this, it begins to strengthen their commitment to these issues and to look at these issues when they begin to approve policies around business plans and activities,” said Sanusi.
He believes that it is time for the industry to analyse how far they’ve come since the first announcement of the principles.
“The sustainability principles of the Nigerian banks do not just focus on the environment, they do not just focus on what we call green issues,” said Sanusi.
Nonetheless, banks are not just coming together to build principles that will help the environment but principles that will also help their businesses, in the long term.