Sanusi Charges Global Partners To Invest In People, Planet

sanusi-lamido newThe Central Bank Governor, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CON, has charged advocates of sustainable development to invest more in people and the planet in order to accelerate growth and achieve the desired collective development.
Mr. Sanusi gave the charge recently in a keynote address to the United Nations Environmental Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPFI) 2013 Global Roundtable (GRT) held in Beijing, China, with the theme: “Financing the Future We Want: China, Emerging Markets and the World Economy”.
While stressing that it was no longer excusable to continue to promote economic growth at the exclusion of social equality and environmental sustainability, he urged stakeholders to use the UNEPFI forum “to fast track towards a future that considers people and planet by financing ‘the future we want’ in line with our renewed commitment at Rio +20.”
Giving an overview of the Nigerian economy, the CBN Governor informed stakeholders that the country’s economic development recently witnessed a remarkable transformation.
“Currently, Nigeria is the second largest African economy, after South Africa with a GDP of $292 billion (IMF, 2013) making it one of the fastest growing economies. According to Forbes, Nigeria’s economy is more diversified than Russia and closely resembles Brazil’s,” he explained to a rapt audience.
He noted that “in the pursuit of a higher growth trajectory, Nigeria is using up its natural capital at a rate faster than it can be replenished; the financial sector developed and adopted the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles to allow for socially and environmentally inclusive growth.”
Speaking further, he explained that Nigeria, being one of the fastest growing economies means conversion of natural capital into human built capital, goods and services, putting stress on our natural resources and limiting the ability of our environment to assimilate the wastes produced.
In reference to the assertion made by Milton Friedman, the preeminent American economist, statistician and 1976 Nobel Prize winner in Economics, he said that the Nigerian financial sector believes “the business of business is a lot more than business”.
Educating his audience, Sanusi disclosed that the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP), which is a set of 9 overarching principles, was developed for Nigerian Banks by Nigerian Banks to enable the translation of the triple P (profit, planet and people) concept of Sustainable Development into reality. In addition, he said it will enable banks make sustainable choices in their business operations and activities.
Furthermore, he said accompanying the principles were three credit guidelines on Oil and Gas, Power and Agriculture. He added that this had three-pronged implication for the CBN bordering on internalization of the principles to minimize our carbon footprint through low carbon emission, resource efficiency and promote social inclusion, monitoring of the implementation by the industry through oversight function, and providing leadership by example.
In line with its vision of becoming the model Central Bank and achieving sustainable economic development by the year 2015, Sanusi disclosed that “the CBN developed and adopted a statement of commitment to sustainability and rolled out the following initiatives to walk the sustainability talk.”
Specifically, he said the Bank, among other things, is expanding the use of renewable energy sources in order to reduce its fossil fuel based energy generation, sensitizing staff to switch off all unnecessary light and equipment during unoccupied hours and when not in use, increasing laptop: desktop ratio since laptop uses up to 90% less energy than a standard desktop computer, using network printers and reducing paper use through various means.
Sanusi also disclosed that the Bank, which currently has women forming 23% of its work force, was also engendering the human resource recruitment policy to achieve 35% affirmative action. He revealed that seven out of the 27 Directors in the Bank are females and are heading departments traditionally reserved for men. In addition, he said more than 400 employees have received gender training. Furthermore, he said the CBN and Deposit Money Banks agreed that 30% of Board position and 40% of Management position should be held by women by the 2014.
He listed other initiatives carried out by the Bank under his leadership to include: the launch of a N220 billion fund for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development Fund, 60% of which is earmarked for women owned or headed enterprises and the development of a Financial Inclusion strategy to reduce the percentage of Nigerians that are financially excluded from 46.3 to 20 by the year 2020 in line with the CBN’s commitment to the Maya Declaration.
Rounding off his address, Mr. Sanusi said “Nigeria learning from the mistakes of the developed countries, has decided not to continue with the “grow now and clean later strategy”.
The GRT provides an opportunity for global financial leaders to share experiences, learn lessons and proffer solutions to the challenges of sustainability, for a better future.