Equity has been named the most innovative bank at the third annual Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI) Catalyst Awards ceremony organized by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA).
The bank scooped top position in three of the ten categories. They included: the most innovative bank, client case study – financing the informal sector and client case study – commercial.
The SFI awards recognize financiers that impact the industry, economy and society through catalytic finance. The awards which attracted 47 entries from 14 banks saw Equity emerge first runners-up in the client case study – promoting gender inclusivity category and the best overall award category. The bank also took second runners-up position in three categories; best practice in sustainable finance, client case study – financing SMEs and client case study – bank operations.
Presiding over the awards presentation ceremony, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya Dr. Patrick Njoroge said financial institutions must wake up to the reality that in future, all finance will be green. “The focus on sustainability is increasingly urgent particularly in Africa, where climate change continues to wreak havoc in our countries. The effect of draught, flooding and other natural disasters is felt across the continent. The banking sector has no choice but to offer innovative sustainable financing solutions that work for and with Kenyans, to whom it owes its existence,” he said.
In 2016, KBA launched these awards to acknowledge institutions that have embedded sustainable finance practices in their operations. The association has since trained 28,000 bank employees on sustainable finance. According to its CEO, Dr. Habil Olaka, the SFI guiding principles have challenged banks to rethink their financing strategies. “We are glad to see banks take deliberate steps to showcase their commitment to sustainability. Our goal is to see a sector that is not only profitable but also concerned with the environment, the well-being of the society and the economy at large.”
The five SFI guiding principles are: financial returns vis-à-vis economic viability, growth through inclusivity and innovation, managing and mitigating associated risks, resource scarcity and choice as well as business ethics and values.