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S&P Global Ratings Provides Aligned Opinion on Access Bank PLC’s Sustainable Finance Framework

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AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

Access Bank PLC has received an endorsement from S&P Global Ratings (S&P) for its Sustainable Finance Framework (or otherwise, Sustainability Bond Framework). S&P affirmed that Access Bank’s framework aligns with international standards, including the Green Bond Principles (GBP), ICMA 2021; Green Loan Principles (GLP), LMA/LSTA/APLMA 2021; Social Bond Principles (SBP), ICMA 2021; Social Loan Principles (SLP), LMA/LSTA/APLMA 2021, and Sustainability Bond Guidelines, ICMA 2021.


The ratings agency however confirmed that its alignment opinion does not assess any individual transaction with the ICMA’s GBP, GLP, LMA/LSTA/APLMA, 2021; SBP, SLP, LMA/LSTA/APLMA, 2021, or Sustainability Bond Guidelines ICMA, 2021.


“Access Bank has committed to allocating an amount equivalent to the net proceeds of any financing issued under this framework to fund projects that support the ICMA-defined environmental and social objectives of a low-carbon economy and climate resilient growth.

This is expected to drive socioeconomic development and empowerment. Moreover, the Bank clearly defines eligibility criteria for green and social projects it could finance under this framework,” said Salaheddine Soumir, the primary contact at S&P Global Ratings.


Gregory Jobome, Executive Director, Risk Management and Chairman, Green Bond Committee at Access Bank PLC, stated that, “We are delighted to receive this endorsement from S&P Global Ratings. At Access Bank, sustainability is engrained in our DNA. As such, we are committed to financing projects that align with the ICMA-defined environmental and social objectives of a low-carbon economy and climate-resilient growth.”


The Sustainability Bond Framework outlines stringent eligibility criteria for green and social projects that Access Bank may finance, ensuring that the allocated funds are directed towards initiatives that support a sustainable future.


In addition, the Bank commits to disclose the impact metrics of the financed projects and to obtain external verification for both allocation and impact reports.

Access Bank, operating through a network of more than 700 branches and service outlets spanning 3 continents, 20 countries and over 60 million customers, is a leading institution with an unwavering commitment to sustainability. It has consistently integrated Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria into its lending and investment decisions, cementing its status as a sustainability-focused and forward-thinking financial institution.

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WITH GIANTS CAMPAIGN, FIRSTBANK IS TRULY WOVEN INTO THE FABRIC OF SOCIETY

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WITH GIANTS CAMPAIGN, FIRSTBANK IS TRULY WOVEN INTO THE FABRIC OF SOCIETY


The ‘Giant in you’ campaign of the FirstBank has again confirmed the common expression that ‘apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ given the history of the financial brand and its legendary relevance to the growth of enterprises, within and outside Nigeria. 

In its usual creative conjecture, 13O-year-old FirstBank, has hit the airwaves and other media outlets with various visuals to articulate its new campaign ‘The Giant in You’.
Breaking down the central message, ‘there is a giant in you’ the campaign stylishly reminds the bank customer that ‘FirstBank Puts You First so you can’ before giving the match order, ‘Live the Giant-Life.

For a bank that settles for the big ‘elephant’, as logo and has remained strong for 130 years, worlds like giant, tall and strides, used in the various visuals are simply validations of its robustness,
endurance, doggedness and tall ambition. As part of the ways to convey the bank’s message to its array of patrons, SO&U, the creative agency behind the campaign cleverly selected its cast and  buildings, including FirstBank’s corporate headquarters, to reflect the bigness, the tallness and the boldness of the 130-year-old financial institution to rule the world as far as banking and business support are concerned.

Unraveling the ‘Giant’ strides…
Among other reasons, the new campaign must have been conceptualized to position FirstBank as a ‘giant’ and ‘future-ready’ institution that is dependable, innovative and proactive in supporting its customers and stakeholders win in the race to the future and be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities and possibilities of that emerging future.
Driven by the conviction that  consumers want to turn their big dreams into giant successes, the new campaign reminds the consumer that in today’s world of constant disruptions and integrated experiences, the customer needs a strong, stable and supportive partner, with the appropriate platforms, innovative solutions and networks to not only support their aspirations but also be responsive and adaptive enough to anticipate their needs and empower them to success.

Looking through the visuals and the television commercial, it’s easy to conclude that the campaign narrative is not about the brand but the customer. For instance, the creative path illustrates the world as it moves and changes at lightning speed, the customer is reminded that just like the world, everything within it is also changing, from economies to businesses and even opportunities.
“We recognise that to be in sync with the world will require a forward thinking and future ready mindset …and we have created the atmosphere, products and services to help our customers,” the bank stated.

To underscore ‘the big idea’ and the ‘bringing out the Giant in you’ theme, key visuals speak to the essence of the campaign and are accompanied with long and straight legs in a demonstrative form to take the purported giant step. Here the messages are passed under the following; ready to take giant strides?, strides into the future, let’s take giant strides together, stand tall, stand out, think giant solutions, among others.

Facts and figures…
Like Coca-Cola, the world number one brand, one other thing that has consistently worked for the FirstBank brand is that the promoters have never, for once allowed complacency to set in. The implication of this is that the bank is not only the oldest, but also one of the most digitally compliant banks.  Currently, First Bank stands tall via First Bank digital solutions, employs market-leading digital platforms and solution driven products and services. Besides, the use of AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) by the bank enables the financial brand to initiate 85 percent of its transactions via digital platforms leading to quick responses to customers’ needs and satisfaction. In this regard, FirstBank has been recognised by Interswitch as the first financial institution in Nigeria to achieve 100 million sustained monthly transactions in electronic payment and it has hit N1 trillion transactions through the FirstMonie Agent network.

Speaking during the unveiling of the new thematic brand campaign, Head, Brand and Stakeholder management at FirstBank, Yinka Ijabiyi, reiterated  that FirstBank came up with the new campaign because of its belief that there is a ‘giant’ in every customer, every employee and every stakeholder.
He said, “This campaign was informed by our belief that there is ‘giant’ in every stakeholder a giant dream, a giant possibility, a giant idea, a giant life and a giant future waiting to be birthed. Our commitment is therefore to provide all necessary business support, financial know-how and platforms to bring out the giant in every customer,”

Ijabiyi further pointed out that the campaign was conceptualised by the bank in a bid to show customers in its 130 years, that it has been supporting and creating giants and that it has no plan to stop anytime soon. He said the bank, in its celebration of its 130 years in business, came up with a campaign that speaks to the business essence of its brand which is making giants of its customers.
“We have always done it and the fact we have been around for such a long time means good to everybody as we have been supporting businesses, individuals and government in those years.
“We are making giants and there is no business that interacts with us that does not see the benefits in their business. We are making giants in our customers and we will not stop.

“We are the partner with tailored solutions for every customer, employee, and stakeholder. We have what it takes to turn dreams into giant successes. FirstBank’s services are designed to help customers “giant-size” their dreams, offering businesses the platforms and solutions needed to grow, innovate, and achieve remarkable success.”
Ijabiyi added that the array of products, solutions and services offered by FirstBank cannot be compared with any financial services in Nigeria.
For its customers, the bank said “We would enable, inspire and support you with our world of financial services to help you to giant-size your dreams and live your best life”. It also said it “would give businesses and business owners the right platforms and solutions they need to grow, initiate
and execute bold ideas.
Meanwhile, the creative agency behind the campaign has hinted to the media that the unveiled materials were mere ‘tip of the iceberg’ as efforts are ongoing to domesticate the same campaign in local languages to connect with customers across the major ethnic groups in Nigeria.

A peep into the past…
When the promoters said First Bank was “truly the first, many grudgingly agreed. But deep inside its competitors – the possible grudging camp – is the truth regarding the extreme distance the bank has given others in performance and people relevance of its operations! They knew the bank was not bluffing. Not only has it rediscovered itself, but the ability to shed its ancient mindset in terms of operations and blend with modern trends in banking have left many agreeing that perhaps, the saying that the older the wine the better it gets in taste actually applies to FirstBank. To this end, it’s not by accident that First Bank has produced at least two former governors of the CBN and a Finance Minister, including Chief Joseph Sanusi and the current Emir of Kano, Sanusi
Lamido Sanusi.
Perhaps the current campaign is an offshoot of a story-telling  Television Commercial, by the bank to reflect the beginning of modern banking and how the bank has consistently grown with Nigeria’s enterprises through partnership and innovation.

The referenced TVC says it all: A combination of historical renaissance and quite prescient validation of the innovation that usually drives its bewitching communicational ads. From the groundnut pyramids of the north, which was the symbol of the regions commercial edge and the cocoa bean mountains of Western Nigeria to the rubber plantations of the East and Mid-eastern region, First Bank has applied its new campaign to remind its decades-old patrons, customers, and even competitors, that the beat has refused to abate.

Throughout the campaign, FirstBank subtly registers itself in the minds of the banking public that it’s entirely Nigerian – past, present, and the future. The well-crafted historical simulation captures how FirstBank opened its first branch in Lagos in 1894 and started helping merchandise and local traders to grow their businesses. The excitement and enthusiasm on the faces of the bank’s early customers after getting their cash books from the Lagos office say it all. Like someone who has gotten a glimpse of what the future holds with banking, the customers express surprises and happiness. The commercial captures the mood and goes back in memory lane on how the bank has helped many people succeed in their ventures. Subtly, the narrator takes viewers to Kano and reveals how the then richest men in the commercial city were making their deposit of 20 bags of Silver in an atmosphere that looks like the first operational day of the bank.

Perhaps the beauty of the commercial lies more in the way it strikes a balance between the ancient and the modern days through setting and swapping of background colours. This was cleverly explored in referencing the way the bank transformed into an online haven, driven by technology.
While reminding the patrons of the bank’s transformation and technological advancement, the narrator is quick to talk about the expansion of the bank beyond the shores of Nigeria to the West-African region and beyond. The TVC also positions FirstBank as a socially responsible brand by touching on various initiatives it has embarked on. Specifically, First Bank’s contribution to Sports through its support for football and athletics is captured very well.
The ‘Giant in You’ is another chapter as the bank begins a fresh journey after operating for 130 years.

Culled from ThisDay

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Oke-Ona United School and UBE Primary School Pasali Emerge Victorious in Nestlé for Healthier Kids 2024 Quiz Competition

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Oke-Ona United School and UBE Primary School Pasali Emerge Victorious in Nestlé for Healthier Kids 2024 Quiz Competition


AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

Nestlé Nigeria proudly announces the winners of the 2024 Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK) Quiz Competition.

L-R Nestlé for Healthier Kids Desk officer, Ogun SUBEB, Adedeji Ayoade, President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter, Prof. Smith Olusegun Onobanjo, Executive Chairman, Education Secretary, Abeokuta North LGEA, Chief Ayorinde Oluwole, Nestlé Nigeria’s Corporate Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainability Lead, Victoria Uwadoka, Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, Director, Social Mobilization Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Akinleye Abodunrin

Education officer, Abeokuta North LGEA, Prince Olufemi Olubiyi and the quiz winners at the Nestle for Healthier Kids Quiz Competition in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The prestigious title was awarded to Oke-Ona United School, Ilugun Elega, in Ogun State, and UBE Primary School Pasali in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). These exceptional students showcased their profound understanding of healthy nutrition, hydration, physical activity, and sustainability, which are the core pillars of the N4HK initiative.

The N4HK initiative, which aims to help 50 million children globally lead healthier lives by 2030, is Nestlé’s flagship program dedicated to fostering healthy habits from a young age.

In Nigeria, this initiative includes a school-based nutrition education and environmental sustainability program that equips children with the knowledge to make better decisions regarding their nutrition and the environment, promoting a healthier future.

The program benefits 35 schools: 20 in Ogun State, 10 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and 5 in Lagos State. The Nutrition Quiz, incorporated as a crucial component of the N4HK program in Nigeria in 2020, is designed to enhance the recall and retention of the lessons learned by students.

Across Lagos, Ogun, and the FCT, 135 eager children competed for the title of 2024 N4HK quiz champion. This competition not only reinforces the lessons taught but ensures that children internalize the information in a memorable way.

At the Ogun State finals held in Abeokuta, Oke-Ona United School, Ilugun Elega, secured the first position, followed by St. Peters Primary School, Siun, in second place, and China Nigeria Friendship School Igbesa, Ado-Odo, Ota in third place.

In the FCT, UBE Primary School Pasali emerged victorious, with Science Primary School (SPS) Abaji taking second place and Science Primary School Kwali securing third.

All participating schools demonstrated remarkable understanding and dedication to the principles of healthy living.

Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications, Public Affairs, and Sustainability Lead at Nestlé Nigeria, highlighted the significance of this initiative: “By focusing on children’s health and well-being, Nestlé for Healthier Kids aims to create a lasting positive impact on future generations. Equipping children with healthy habits early on can have profound effects on individuals, families, and communities.

We are incredibly proud of the students’ performance and their enthusiasm for learning about healthy living. I congratulate all the participants and extend heartfelt gratitude to our partners: the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board, FCT Universal Basic Education Board, Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Health, Ogun State Ministry of Education, and Ogun State Ministry of Health for their invaluable support and collaboration.”

The schools of the prize winners will receive the following awards: a basketball court with player jerseys for first place, a desktop computer for second place, and a table tennis court with a complete kit for third place.

Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, Executive Chairman, Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board, commended the efforts of all involved: “As we gather to celebrate the grand finale of the 2024 Nestlé for Healthier Kids Quiz Competition, I want to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our learners, teachers, and other stakeholders. Your tireless efforts have made a remarkable impact on the educational landscape of Ogun State. We recognise Nestlé’s unwavering commitment to education and their unrelenting support in creating a conducive learning environment for our learners.”

The Nestlé for Healthier Kids initiative aims to reach over 8,000 children annually in Nigeria, ensuring that today’s kids grow into healthy, informed adults. By catching them young, Nestlé is not just changing lives today but building a healthier, sustainable future for all.

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Access Bank Joins NGX to Launch Impact Board

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AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading institution in sustainable finance, was one of the participants in the launch of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) Impact Board, a dedicated platform for listing sustainability instruments to integrate sustainability into the core of Nigeria’s capital market.

The event, marked by the attendance of high-profile stakeholders, including the Minister of Environment, Balarabe Lawal, and the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr. Emomotimi Agama, underscored the critical need for sustainable financing in Nigeria.

Lawal emphasised the urgency of addressing environmental challenges, stating, “With issues like flooding, pollution, and deforestation, we urgently need funds to tackle them. This is why we are approaching the market.”

Commenting on the launch of the Impact Board, Gregory Jobome, Executive Director, Risk Management at Access Bank Plc, highlighted the Bank’s pioneering role in sustainable finance, noting, “As a leader in the issuance of corporate Green Bonds in Africa, Access Bank is committed to driving environmental sustainability and supporting projects that align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The NGX Impact Board is a significant step towards fostering a greener and more responsible investment landscape.”

The Director-General of the SEC, Dr. Emomotimi Agama, reaffirmed the commission’s support for sustainable finance, saying, “We are ready to bolster the sustainable finance market, aiming to deepen it with diverse instruments that contribute to Nigeria’s sustainable development.”

Dr. Umaru Kwairanga, Group Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, expressed confidence the NGX’s capabilities, stating, “We possess the capacity, resources, and technology to raise the funds required by the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Nigerian economy to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Access Bank has consistently demonstrated leadership in climate finance across Africa, exemplifying a strong commitment to sustainable environmental practices and financial solutions.

In June 2018, the Bank supported the Green Bond Market Development Programme organised by FSD Africa, the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), and FMDQ Group PLC, aiming to develop a non-sovereign green bond market in Nigeria. This initiative sought to entrench sustainability principles into the Nigerian capital markets and support broader debt capital market reforms to facilitate the transition to a climate-resilient economy.

In April 2019, Access Bank issued its inaugural green bond, valued at NGN 15 billion (USD 41 million), becoming the first African corporate entity to receive CBI certification.

The bond, listed on multiple exchanges including the FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, Nigerian Stock Exchange, and Luxembourg Green Exchange, set the tone for the continent’s appetite for green capital. Building on this success, the Bank issued USD 50 million Reg S Step-Up Green Notes in 2022 under its US$1.5 billion Global Medium-Term Note Programme, further solidifying its commitment to sustainable financing.

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