Absa Bank Kenya has become the first bank in Kenya to join the Kenya Green Building Society (KGBS) as a champion for initiatives that promote the green economy by reducing pollution and improving people’s lives while fostering economic growth.

The bank was also recognized for its efforts in conserving the environment and reducing its carbon footprint through initiatives such as the reduction of water and energy use as well as reusing and recycling of waste. The bank has invested approximately Ksh34 million in retrofitting all its facilities to become water and energy efficient. This will reduce its carbon footprint while bringing down energy costs by up to 30% or Ksh20 million annually.

Buildings and the construction process are responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions. Green buildings refer to the adoption of practices that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building’s life cycle; from financing, planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition. Objectives of green buildings include reducing the overall impact of the built environment on human health, the natural environment and effects of climate change. This is achieved through efficient use of energy, water, and other resources, protecting occupants’ health and improving their productivity as well as reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation.

The bank is also partnering with select SMEs to recycle rebranding waste including marketing collateral and metallic and plastic waste to produce school bags, film equipment and fencing posts. Additionally, all gently used electronic waste generated from the brand name change will be refurbished and used to set up 66 computer labs in various institutions across the country.

Jane Waiyaki-Maina, Head of Sustainability and Responsible Business Partnerships, had this to say, “We have replaced all our water dispensers with eco-friendly ones, helping us reduce plastic within our working environment and therefore reduce our carbon footprint in relation to plastic use by 56%. During its first phase, the change has also contributed positively to the business leading to 26% savings on the cost incurred initially from the consumption of bottled water. It is estimated that this will increase to 37% cost savings once the project is fully implemented by the end of the year. Also, in partnership with Kenya Green Building Society, all our buildings – comprising 85 facilities – have been assessed for efficiency in terms of energy, water and building materials, using the IFC Edge tool. Once recommendations from these assessments are completed, we shall create a road map on how to become a net zero organisation- achieving balance in emissions in and out – by 2040.”