Nairobi, February 6th 2018 - The Co-operative Bank of Kenya has been declared this year’s overall winner of the Sustainable Finance Catalyst Awards for banks and other financial sector players hosted by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), the umbrella body of the banking industry.
An independent judging panel also settled on KCB Group for the second overall place and Equity Bank for the third position overall. Away from the banking sector, telecommunications company Safaricom was named the Best Overall in the implementation of Sustainability through Policy and Governance. Diamond Trust Bank was declared winner in the Financing of SME’s Case Study Category; while Standard Chartered Bank came third in Commercial Lending. Equity Bank was also recognised as ‘Most Improved’ between 2016 and 2017. In the Tier 2 class, Kenya Women Microfinance Bank (KWFT) was declared winner in the Best Practice in Sustainable Finance Category.
The awards themed: “Recognising Catalytic Finance that Impacts Industry, Economy and Society”, were launched in 2016, and this year, they sought to honour institutions that have embedded the industry’s Sustainable Finance Guiding Principles in their core operations and lending practices. The Principles, designed to articulate the industry’s aspirations of creating long-term value for the economy, the environment and society at large, aim to highlight the sector’s leadership and innovation while reinforcing the role banks, mobile money providers, fintechs and other financial sector participants play towards sustainable development.
The award finalists included NIC Bank, Prime Bank, National Bank of Kenya, Commercial Bank of Africa, Stanbic Bank, Barclays, and Lendable which is a Fintech start-up based in Nairobi and New York.
“Through the integration of sustainability issues directly into our core business, we can fundamentally contribute to job creation and social inclusion, thus helping society to address challenges such as economic inequity,” said KBA chief executive Dr. Habil Olaka. “The winners of the Catalyst Awards demonstrate that we are prepared to take steps to ensure that our investment activities are carried out in line with international best-practices in so far as mitigating climate change through the allocation of capital, and with due regard to the Kenyan context,” he added.
The Award ceremony was graced by the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, Henry Rotich, who highlighted the policies the Government has put in place to encourage players to innovate, scale up and support climate change-resilient investments. The National Treasury in their Draft 2018/2019 Budget Policy Statement has indicated that it will help accelerate the uptake of new financial instruments such as green bonds to advance the green economy development agenda.
Mr. Rotich said while economic viability is vital, the time has come for financial sector players in Kenya and the region to adopt and implement a more inclusive decision-making model that also factors in variables such as environmental impact and social capital in the overall finance equation.
In the course of the four-months exercise, 33 entries were submitted by 14 financial institutions. The judging panel for the Sustainable Finance Catalyst Awards constituted Ms. Anne Macharia from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA); Eng. Dan Ndenga, co-founder of Miltec Engineering Limited, a firm that offers energy advisory; Mr. Edward Mungai, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC); Dr. Peter Muriu, a lecturer in Financial and Monetary Economics at the School of Economics, University of Nairobi; Ms. Rosemary Mutunkei, a leading Corporate Sustainability and Corporate Social Investment practitioner; and Mr. Tumurkhuu Davaakhuu, the Vice President of the Mongolian Bankers Association (MBA) and CEO of Arig Bank.
About the Sustainable Finance Guiding Principles & Industry Standards
The Kenya banking industry has adopted the Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI) Guiding Principles that guide the banks in balancing their business goals with the economy’s development priorities and socio-environmental concerns. The SFI Principles that were officially launched by the Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge on 1st December 2015 are grounded on three main priorities, namely equipping the financial services sector to perform optimally in the area of comprehensive risk management; enhancing business practice, leadership and governance; and promoting industry growth and development by fostering a culture of innovation and inclusivity enabled by new technology.
The Principles draw from and harmonize several global best practice standards, including the Equator Principles, IFC Performance Standards, Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles, African Development Bank (AfDB) Green Growth Policy, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Reporting Guidelines, UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) Guidelines, UN Global Compact Principles, ISO 26000:2010, and Kenya’s National Climate Change Policy (draft).
About Kenya Bankers Association
KBA (www.kba.co.ke) was founded on 16th July 1962. Today, KBA is the financial sector's leading advocacy group and banking industry umbrella body that represents total assets in excess of USD 37 billion. KBA has evolved and broadened its function to include advocacy on behalf of the banking industry, and championing financial sector development through strategic projects such as the launch of the industry's first P2P digital payments platform PesaLink. In line with the Government's policy on public-private partnerships, KBA and Central Bank of Kenya have implemented key projects such as modernization of the National Payments System through the Automated Clearing House, implementing the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS), and the Kenya Credit Information Sharing Initiative which introduced the use of information collateral provided by credit reference bureaus to enhance credit access for borrowers. The KBA members are comprised of commercial banks and deposit taking microfinance banks.
Ms. Nuru Mugambi, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Kenya Bankers Association.
Phone: +254-20-2221704/2224014, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org