A sustainable business can be termed as one which has a positive effect on the global or local environment, community and economy. In the past, businesses were mainly focused on making profits with the occasional community social responsibility project just to tick off a to do list. However, this is changing with the realization by businesses that when they impact their community positively, they can be able to make more money in the long run thus making the businesses sustainable.
It was due to this that Absa Kenya embarked on a journey to embed sustainability as a strategic business principle with the objective of creating incremental shared value for their stakeholders, both in the way they do business and the services and products that they offer. So far, they have developed a Sustainability Strategy and Implementation Framework and became a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact. They have also become Signatories of the Principles for Responsible Banking, committing to strategically align our business with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
In regards to the Sustainable Development Goals, Absa has picked four high impact ones from the 17, these are;
- SDG 4 – Quality Education
- SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
- SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities
- SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production.
The bank has also made some commitments that are meant to guide their strategy as they endeavor to make their business sustainable. These commitments are anchored on the Social, Environmental and Economic tenets of sustainable development.
The bank has committed to proactively increase their capital allocation and diversify their portfolio to support sectors that drive sustainable developments. These include renewable and clean energy industries; innovation and infrastructure as well as funding financially excluded groups; sustainable cities and communities. They will also advocate and drive responsible consumption and production within value chains.
Supply Chain Diversification
The bank commits to increasing diversity in the supply chain focusing on women, youth and persons who are differently abled.
They are committing to continue investing in their future through skills development with their ReadyToWork program.
They are committing to increasing the proportion of women across all levels of management and board positions in their organization. According to the bank, gender diversity is a proven enabler of better financial performance. The bank has made some progress in this area and recommits to promoting further gender diversity within it.
Empowering Supply Chain
They are committing to empower their suppliers and create awareness on corporate sustainability and responsible business practices. They want to empower their suppliers on driving sustainable businesses through the SDGs and the UN Global compact principles underpinned by the shared value principle.
They have committed to plant 10 million trees in the next 5 years. They plan to achieve this by working in tandem with colleagues, customers, partners and all their stakeholders.