Zenith Bank, Access Bank lead in ESG practices, reporting

Zenith Bank was ranked first at 65.22 per cent in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices and reporting. It is followed by Access Bank at 60.33 per cent and Stanbic IBTC Bank at 60.16 per cent.

A recent survey commissioned by the Independent Project Monitoring Company (IPC) Limited has ranked Fidelity Bank Plc fourth with 57.72 per cent out of 29 Nigerian banks in ESG practices and reporting.

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) was ranked fifth at 57.19 per cent.

The bank achieved a score of 57.73 per cent. The result shows that ahead of Fidelity Bank, Zenith Bank was ranked first at 65.22 per cent, followed by Access Bank at 60.33 per cent and Stanbic IBTC Bank at 60.16 per cent. The United Bank for Africa (UBA) was ranked fifth at 57.19 per cent. In a post hosted on MSN.com, , the IPC stated that the ratings were benchmarked against the leading global ESG rating companies such as S & P Global and MSCI Sustainability Ratings.

These weightings were determined following a comprehensive analysis of both global rating standards and the specific nuances of the Nigerian business landscape, resulting in allocations of 13 percent for environmental factors, 43 per cent for social factors and 44 per cent for governance factors.

In his welcome address at the launch of the ESG report in Lagos, Managing Director IPMC, Mr Robert Ode Odiachi, said the Nigerian banking and insurance sector have played key roles in the economic stability of the country.

He said in the midst of growing challenges facing the two sectors, there is growing need for banks to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices into their operations especially in the area of risk management and reporting.“This proactive approach helps them stay adaptive to changing regulations, amidst the rising expectations of consumers,” he stated.

Also speaking at the event themed, ‘Driving Impact: Harnessing ESG for Sustainable Finance’, Rukaiya el-Rufai, Special Adviser to the President on NEC and Climate Change, said companies that prioritise ESG are not only contributing to a more sustainable and an equitable world but are also positioning themselves for value creation that not only ensures greater financial performance but embeds value levers that will sustain the performance.

According to el-Rufai, corporates must ensure that they attain the fine balance of creating sustainable value for their enterprises as well as for society in what is understood as share value creation. This means that corporates must look beyond themselves to seek to understand and incorporate what value means to their stakeholders.

“Corporates can leverage frameworks, standards, ratings and guidelines to establish clear expectations and avoid blind spots in their operations.“Companies that proactively address these issues through sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon footprints, investing in renewable energy and promoting circular economies, are better positioned to thrive in a resource-constrained world,” she stated.

It would be recalled that in November 2023, Fidelity Bank became an official signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking – a single framework for a sustainable banking industry developed through collaboration between banks worldwide and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). 

Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank with over 8.3 million customers across its 251 business offices in Nigeria, and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.

The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.