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FirstBank partners with Proparco on climate performance

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, in partnership with Proparco, a Development Finance Institution is mainstreaming climate initiatives into its business operations and strategy.

In a statement, the bank said the partnerships is aimed at achieving a holistic integration of climate action on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction through an articulated strategic pathway to position the Bank as an African Climate Bank.

The 130-year-old financial institution is currently implementing a mechanism to calculate its operational emissions across all its branches and offices. This includes calculating data on electricity use, diesel use, water consumption, waste management approach, fuel consumption, business travels, etcetera to determine the Bank’s emission baseline and innovative opportunities for operational emissions reduction. FirstBank is developing the required capabilities and competencies by investing in its employees and the right infrastructure for integrating climate action in the Bank.

In a two-day partnership strategy workshop sessions with IPC and Valoris, consultants from Austria engaged by Proparco in the climate mainstreaming project, FirstBank’s climate journey across all areas of implementation was reviewed to determine progress and empower strategic departments across the Bank’s operations, including: the Credit Risk teams; Human Capital Management & Development (HCMD); FirstAcademy, the Bank’s learning institute; Corporate Banking; Personal Banking; SME Banking; Procurement; Branch Operations and General Services teams to deepen the understanding of climate risks in their processes.

The six workstreams for the implementation include: Identification of financed and avoided emissions to support reporting; supporting the measurement and analysis of operating emissions; integration of physical climate risk assessment; opportunity analysis; climate strategy and policy development; capacity building amongst staff to support strategy implementation.

Dr Martin Steindl, Managing Director, Valoris, Austria, said, “Amongst our various engagements with financial institutions on climate mainstreaming, FirstBank is the only organization that has been able to provide data both on the assets’ location of their portfolio and head offices of their clients. I am impressed with the progress we have collectively achieved.”

Reinforcing the Bank’s commitment to mainstreaming climate initiatives, the Ag. Chief Risk Officer, FirstBank, Patrick Akhidenor said ‘’FirstBank is intentional about redefining its climate footprint. We are identifying opportunities in climate finance to improve our portfolio and reduce the carbon emissions associated with our processes and operations. The Bank is executing a financed emissions calculation mechanism as well as creating climate finance opportunities, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency products for our customers.”

Nigeria has committed to reducing its GHG emissions to 20 percent by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2060. While this is ambitious, it sets the tone for businesses in Nigeria to at least support their GHG emissions reduction strategy with national plans and target. FirstBank is committed to achieving this goal and this is evident as the bank is a signatory to the Africa Business Leaders’ Climate Statement released in 2022 at COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt by the Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC).