Nigeria’s largest retail bank and sustainability champion, Access Bank Plc., has joined other organisations to launch the first-ever United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) sustainability compendium in Nigeria.
The compendium, which was launched recently at the UNGC Breakfast Dialogue, documents some of the stellar efforts of the Bank, its sustainability journey and its strategic collaborations to facilitate socio-economic development.
Launching the compendium, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the former Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc., urged corporate organisations and SMEs to invest in and practice sustainability. Highlighting this as the primary solution to achieving the SDGs in view of the critical issues around health and poverty that have plagued Africa, he stated:
“The collective will and desire for action amongst organisations has taken a giant leap from where it was few years ago. However, compared to other nations, the statistics of malaria, poverty and deaths in Nigeria paints a very gory picture. Hence, it is the responsibility of every corporate organisation, SME and individual to get involved in activities that will aid the achievement of the SDGs come 2030.”
Over the years, Access Bank has facilitated a growing number of sustainability activities, including the Malaria-to-Zero initiative, issued the first ever CBI-certified Green Bond, and also funded various not-for-proﬁt organisations and programs across all 36 states in the country’s six geo-political zones, among others.
Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, the Head, Sustainability, Access Bank Plc., assured Nigerians that Access Bank will not relent in its contributions to the achievement of the SDGs saying, “We have entrenched sustainability into every part of our business operations and activities, in addition to aligning the implementation of our sustainability strategy with the achievement of the SDGs.”
“To this end, we have made good progress in driving social, environmental and economic development locally and globally. Despite these, we will not relent, rather, we will continue to invest our time, resources and work with relevant stakeholders to provide innovative solutions to local and global challenges,” she added.
The Bank’s sustainability efforts have been recognized by several prestigious local and international bodies, becoming a four-time consecutive winner of the Outstanding Business Sustainability Award by Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards; 9-time winner of the Most Sustainable Bank in Nigeria Award by World Finance Awards; two-time consecutive winner of Most Sustainable Company in Africa by the Sustainability, Enterprise and Reporting Awards; 2-time consecutive winner of the Central Bank of Nigeria Sustainability Awards in all categories including Most Sustainable Bank in Nigeria; 2019 Gender Leader of the Year Award by Africa CEO Forum Awards, among others.
CHI, Lagos State Chapter of Nutrition Society of Nigeria advocate daily fruit juice intake
Roy Deepanjan, the Managing Director of CHI Limited Nigeria, and Dr. Oluwatosin Adu, Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN), have called on Nigerians to embrace daily intake of fruit juice as a way of boosting their physical wellbeing.
The duo made this call at the 2019 Chivita World Juice Day Conference themed, ‘Everyday Wellness – Crystallising the Role of Fruit Juice’, held recently at Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.
Speaking at the event, Deepanjan said fruit juice intake is an excellent way to achieve the recommended daily amounts of nutrients the body requires to meet its optimal health. He stated that 100% fruit juice is an alternative to fresh fruits and vegetables known to contain essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Deepanjan added: “This is why nutrition experts recommend that we drink 1½ – 2 glasses of 100% fruit juice every day. Research indicates that countries that are low in consumption of natural foods and fruit juices also rank low in life expectancy. This is because fruit juice is a key component of the healthy living equation.
“Being the leader in the fruit juice category in Nigeria, Chivita has boldly taken up this public interest initiative to drive awareness for everyday wellbeing through fruit juice consumption.”
This year’s event themed, ‘Everyday Wellness: Crystallizing the Role of Fruit Juice.’ brought together experts & key opinion leaders on one platform.
Deepanjan said “Chivita is not only committed to producing quality and healthy beverages, but also feels responsible to educate consumers about making the right beverage choices to ensure their overall health and wellbeing. This platform will enable us deepen the conversations on fruit juice consumption.”
In the keynote address, Dr Adu, Associate Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at the Lagos State University, stated that, “100% fruit juice plays a major role in boosting wellness and that its nutritional value is at par with that of fresh fruits and vegetables”.
He noted: “Consuming 100% fruit juice along with foods rich in non-haem iron can help increase absorption of minerals. It helps consumers to achieve recommended potassium intake levels and support the maintenance of normal blood pressure in the general population.
“Pure fruit juice contains bioactive substances such as carotenoids (mainly luteins and cryptoxanthins) and polyphenols (hesperidin and narirutin which are within the flavanone group).
First Bank: Towards reviving Nigeria’s textile industry
Chinyere Joel- Nwokeoma
For many years, until the early 1980s, the Nigerian textile industry was the highest employer of labour, after the public sector. Sadly, the industry is in dire straits battling for survival in recent times.
Among the challenges that confronted the sector was policy inconsistency leading to closure of many textile companies occasioned by poor power supply, smuggling, poor access to finance and high operating cost, among others.
It is unarguable that the closure of many textile companies contributed to the rise in the country’s high unemployment rate, rising insecurity and other social vices.
It is against this backdrop that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, recently lamented the country’s descent from being a textile giant to a mediocre player in the world economy.
Emefiele said Nigeria used to be home to Africa’s largest textile industry in the 1970s and early 1980s with the employment of over 450,000 people.
“The textile industry at that time was the largest employer of labour in Nigeria after the public sector, contributing over 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector.
“The industry was supported by the production of cotton by 600,000 local farmers across 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states.
“This sector supported the clothing needs of the Nigerian populace, as our markets were filled with locally produced textiles from companies such as the United Textiles in Kaduna, Supertex Limited, Afprint, Texlon, Enpee and Aswani Mills, among others.
“In addition, the cotton growing sector has gone dead, thereby depriving thousands of smallholder farmers the chance to earn a living.
Furthermore, a large proportion of our clothing materials today are imported from China and countries in Europe,” Emeifele stated.
It is against this background that First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, in line with its celebratory 125th anniversary , themed, “Woven into the Fabric of Society”, on Oct. 2 commemorated the country’s independence with a locally made textile attire.
Specifically, the bank set aside Oct. 2 to have all staff wear a locally made textile attire adorned in its 125 anniversary logo and over 18,000 staff across the bank and FBN Holdings participated.
The bank in a statement attributed the initiative to moves to celebrate the country’s 59th Independence anniversary and at the same time support the textile industry.
“The native attire fashion statement by FirstBank and the FBN Holdings Group is rooted in our trust in the diverse opportunities the textile industry provides.
“And indeed its contribution to national growth and development, vis-à-vis the job opportunities, youth and women empowerment, as well as the entrepreneurship driven influence its creates cannot be overemphasised.