KCB Group selected to change banking sector purpose and business models

The KCB Group Plc, arguably East Africa’s largest commercial Bank was established in 1896 in Kenya. Over the years, the Bank has grown and spread its wings into Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia. Today KCB Group Plc has the largest branch network in the Region of over 260 branches, 962 ATMs and over 15,000 agents offering banking services on a 24/7 basis in East Africa. Mobile banking and Internet banking services with a 24hour contact center services for its customers to get in touch with the Bank complement this. The Bank has a wide network of correspondent relationships totaling over 200 banks across the globe and its customers are assured of a seamless facilitation of their international trade requirements wherever they are. Corporate Watch Magazine’s Catherine Muema reports on the group’s new role in changing the banking sector purpose and business models.

KCB Group has been named amongst 26 leading banks from 19 countries across the world that will work together to change the banking sector’s purpose and business model to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

KCB Group is among member banks of the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which believe that it is time for banks worldwide to affirm their purpose and align their business practices with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The banks recognize that with the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement, governments around the world have set out a vision for transformation and ambitious targets for a sustainable future. They also recognize that the global banking system is instrumental to achieving the SDGs as two thirds of finance worldwide is provided by banks.

The banks are developing global Banking Principles that will:

  • direct banks’ efforts and guide their alignment with society’s goals as expressed in the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, as well as national and regional frameworks
  • define and set the global benchmark for responsible and sustainable banking
  • drive ambition by requiring signatory banks to set goals for and report on their contribution to national and international social, environmental and economic targets
  • ensure accountability and transparency on banks’ impacts
  • challenge the banking industry to play a leading role in creating a more sustainable future

Similar to the role the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) play for asset managers and the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) for insurance underwriters, these Principles will address the longstanding need for having an umbrella framework to cover all aspects of sustainable banking.

The process for developing the Principles will include consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, such as civil society organizations, banking associations, regulators and UN bodies.

The first in-person meeting of the participating banks took place in London on 19th and 20th April. We plan to launch the draft Principles for global consultation during the UNEP FI Global Roundtable 2018 on 26 November at Palais Brongniart, Paris, France.

KCB Group CEO and MD Joshua Oigara said the inclusion of the institution in the group of banks across the globe is a privilege and will help achieve its overall targets relating to the SDGs.

“At KCB, our experience is that sustainability-related goals are central to seizing opportunities that lead to better business in both the short and long-terms. The Group has undergone an internal stakeholder engagement to determine how it could best integrate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals into its operations,” said Mr Oigara.

“As a result of this process, the Group adopted eight of the seventeen SDGs. These are the goals upon which the Group believes it can, and will continue, to have the greatest impact over the next three to five years,” he added.

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