In the late months of 2015, 17 SDGs were created, adopted and recognised by the UN as a universal call to action that will ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
The global goals which targeted to address human needs by combating the urgent economic, environmental and political challenges called on all businesses to apply their creativity, and innovation to solve sustainable development challenges.
To celebrate one year since Absa incorporated sustainability as part of their corporate strategy, the organisation recently launched a sustainability report commitment as a way of showing its responsibilities, accountability and keeping the promise made one year ago.
“As a brand that is inspired by the people we serve, we believe in possibility and in the actions of people who always find a way to get things done. We refer to this as Africanacity, a word that speaks to our tenacious African spirit that shows up across the continent in our response to the challenges we face,” said Jeremy Awori, Absa Bank Kenya m bnp-[anaging director, during the launch.
He further highlighted that Absa believes in creating opportunities for its customers and the communities it serves, and supporting them every step of the way to make their possibilities a reality.
This in part communicated one of the company’s strategies which is to become a force for good, serving a higher purpose that goes beyond philanthropy. In other terms, it also hinted at the brand using its expertise to enable economic progress while speaking to the hearts and minds of the people it serves.
Speaking during the launch, Jeremy Awori, noted being a #ForceforGood, particularly as their topmost priority as it aligns with the organisation’s strive towards achieving SDGs.
Actions covered by Absa since it signed up to the Principles for Responsible Banking and the UN Global Compact plus embedded sustainability as a business principle include;
Sustaining significant investments in education, internships, work readiness for the youth, business initiatives and product innovation.
Training 76 sustainability ambassadors who are responsible for spreading the word on the significance of sustainability in the company and to the world.
Partnered with Strathmore Business School to effect a supplier training, which ahs empowered 50 of Absa’s suppliers in sustainability.
Recycled, E-waste, billboards, furniture, steel, plastic waste to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Check out the importance of safe disposal, handling and recycling of E-waste. Absa has used the billboard flexis from their rebranding to make school bags that will be donated to school going kids. This has also created employment for the youth making the bags. On the other hand, metal waste has been used to make hands-free foot pedal sanitizers which have been used in lowering the spread of COVID-19.
Absa has also partnered with Computer for Schools Kenya and Fun Kidz to repurpose old computers and furniture which will then be used in the computer labs to be set up in 66 institutions countrywide.
During the launch of the Sustainability Commitment Report, Absa also announced a flagship project the supports SDG 15 – Life on land. The project which is dubbed 10 million trees and seedlings in 5 years, seeks to restore 10% of the nation’s forest cover by 2022. To make this goal a reality, thus far Absa has participated in the 2 Billion planting tree campaign and it plans to conduct tree planting exercises in the 66 institutions during the computer labs handover.
"We all have the responsibility to protect our environment." Dr Chris Kiptoo, Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Absa is taking action towards the threat posed by climate change by supporting the 2Billion tree planting campaign. #AbsaSustainabilityCommitments#ForceForGood
Commenting on why the organisation embarked on this journey of sustainability, Jeremy Awory mentioned that aside from providing employees a higher sense of purpose, reducing costs and improving operational efficiency, Sustainability drives innovation in the company, but also impacts the society, economy and the environment, positively.
"COVID-19 has proven that as people, as businesses we cannot thrive in a business that's in distress. At the heart of sustainability is the self-interest of the people, of the environment, of the world." Judy Njino, UN Global Compact @AbsaKenya#AbsaSustainabilityCommitment
“Sustainability brings forth the fact that businesses are no longer centred around making profit, but around the people the community and the environment they serve,” he concluded.
About 5 years have passed by since SDGs were announced and adopted by the UN as the driving force towards peace and prosperity. However, if everyone participated and made it intentional to engage in projects that further these goals, we might get there sooner.
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