- National Bank of Kenya has committed to United Nations Global Compact Principles on Responsible Business
- NBK will be required to submit an annual Communication on Progress (CoP) report, demonstrating to its stakeholder its progress in working towards the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact
Kenya’s National Bank of Kenya (NBK) has signed up to the United Nations Global Compact, reinforcing its commitment to uphold and protect human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption principles through its business practices.
With its signing, NBK has committed to adopting ethical and responsible business practices in its day-to-day operations and organizational culture.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, NBK Managing Director Paul Russo noted that participating in the United Nations Global Compact will strengthen its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even as they continue to develop their sustainable social and environmental responsibility programs, aimed at creating shared value for communities in which it operates.
He said that the tenets of the UN Global Compact are strategies the bank currently employ throughout their operations and they are pleased to join the many organizations all over the world who believe, as they do, that ethical business conduct is the only way to encourage development at all levels.
“As NBK, we are particularly keen to take strategic action on SDG 6 by ensuring equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all through our recently launched Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program that supports SMEs investment in the sector,” he said.
Commenting on the same, Judy Njino, Executive Director of Global Compact Network Kenya said the financial sector has a key role to play in achieving both the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and the SDGs.
“National Bank of Kenya is well-positioned to invest in projects which have a positive impact on the economy, society and the environment,” she said.
As a signatory, NBK will be required to submit an annual Communication on Progress (CoP) report, demonstrating to its stakeholder its progress in working towards the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact.
“We support public accountability and transparency in our operations, and therefore we commit to report on progress within one year of joining the UN Global Compact, and annually thereafter according to the Global Compact COP policy,” Russo added.
NBK joins more than 260 Kenyan companies in signing to the UN Global Compact.
Founded in 2000 as a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to private sector companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with the Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption and take actions that advance societal goals.
The announcement comes at a time when the bank, has entered into a deal with Aqua for All, launching a KSh 5 billion Water, Sanitation and Hygiene financing program.
The programme is expected to cater for clientele spanning micro, small and medium enterprises, corporates, public and private entities, vendors, technology providers, and various suppliers of products and services within the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene value chain up to last-mile connectivity for communities and individuals.
According to the partners, the deal is anchored on the two institution’s shared vision for a thriving and sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene economy.
The partnership is also expected to supplement all national efforts to close the existing funding gap in the sector to realize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6, aiming at ensuring universal access to safe and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by the year 2030.
The program will provide flexible financing solutions to the investment needs of SMEs, in a bid to accelerate the commercial viability and social impact of the water economy. Aqua for All will employ its global expertise to support the development of innovative and viable products, funding and delivery solution models for the water sector through this program.
Russo reiterated the bank’s commitment to providing tailor-made products and services to a variety of SMEs needs to ensure long term growth.
“This partnership comes at an opportune time as Kenyans and especially the SME sector continues to face very difficult times with the ongoing pandemic. With this new product, we seek to scale up the SMEs in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene economy for sustainable water services,” he said.
“As a bank, we are constantly looking for opportunities to support long-term growth to SMEs in all sectors of the economy. I call upon all SMEs in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector to take advantage of the opportunities presented under this program to help them address the financial gaps in their operations,” he added.
The NBK Water, Sanitation and Hygiene financing program will offer flexible financing solutions under two different facilities including working capital loans dubbed “Jenga Biashara Loan” that targets informal/semi-formal entrepreneurs providing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene products/services in urban and rural areas, and the “Infrastructure Project Loans” that target household connections, smart metering, solar projects and other efficiency improvement assets.