" ITREALMS: 1yr anniversary: Polaris Bank says UNEP-FI banking principles remarkable - ITREALMS

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

1yr anniversary: Polaris Bank says UNEP-FI banking principles remarkable - ITREALMS

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Polaris Bank has said it recorded remarkable success in adopting the United Nations Environment Programme Financial Initiatives (UNEP-FI) Principles for Responsible Banking, reports ITREALMS.

The Principles for Responsible Banking, an initiative of UNEP, an Agency of United Nations (UN), provide a framework of six principles for integrating Sustainability into the heart of banking operations.

By signing on to adopt the framework, in September 2019, Polaris Bank committed to aligning its strategies with the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Outlining some of the successes it has recorded since its membership of the UNEP-FI Banking Principles in New York, Polaris Bank explained that within its first 100 days of introducing its Agency Banking platform "Sure Padi" It serviced over half a million customers and was ranked 5th in Q1, 2020 by the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF). This feat indicates its immediate impact on bridging the financial inclusion gap and helping customers and households meet financial needs.

In addition to its agency banking, Polaris Bank delivers financial literacy seminars and classes to students across the nation. Already, the Bank has reached about 80,000 students in 180 primary and secondary schools nationwide.

Commenting on the progress made so far, the Acting MD/CEO of Polaris Bank, Innocent Ike, said, "signing the UNEP-FI Principles for Responsible Banking in 2019 has ensured that we remain committed to developing a sustainable economy and empowering our stakeholders to build a better future.

Continuing, Mr. Ike said, "Our role as intermediaries means we can significantly influence the direction that our clients and customers take. Through concerted efforts of the Bank's stakeholders, the progress we have made in key focus areas proves that driving sustainable businesses can yield positive returns. We look forward, with renewed vigour, to surpassing our achievements in the first year."

In line with the principles of working responsibly with key stakeholders to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations, Polaris Bank rolled out its instructive learnings across stakeholders.

Through its client-vendor engagement, the Bank creates awareness on Environmental and Social risk assessment procedures, equipping relevant stakeholders with requisite knowledge for building environmentally sustainable businesses. The programme is implemented through collaboration amongst its key departments, including Risk Management, Corporate Support, and Strategic Brand Management. Stakeholders benefit from visitations, monthly e-learning sustainability materials, impact reports, and yearly workshop sessions on environmental & social risk.

Aligning the business strategy to contribute to society's goals as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal five, Polaris Bank renewed its commitment to encouraging gender equality. Specifically, the Bank relaunched its women-focused product, Polaris Pearl, to cater to women's banking needs and provide them with business, career, and personal development support.

Over the last year, Polaris Bank has reduced its environmental footprint and mitigated the risk of waste generation. On carbon footprint, for instance, the Bank has proposed a paper recycling plan across its branches and implemented an electronic alternative to paper output by fully optimizing digital receipts and internal memos.

"We are encouraged by the progress we have achieved in reducing our environmental footprint. Within two months of implementing our electronic alternative to printing, we recorded an almost 50 percent drop in paper consumption.

"Our recycling plan is also a step in the right direction, especially giving the fact that recycling one ton of paper can save about 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, 3.3 cupid yard of landfill space and 4,000 kilowatts of energy - enough to power the average Nigerian home for six months and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton of carbon equivalent," Ike said.

Essentially, Ike emphasised that with the recycling plant, "we can contribute to maintaining a sustainable world for future generations. We encourage other financial institutions to emulate this initiative."

Polaris Bank has continued to show commitment to the Nigerian economy's sustainable development by aligning its business and setting ambitious targets for sustainable impact as it continues to contribute to creating shared prosperity for present and future generations.

Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to delivering industry-defining products, and services, across all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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