Lagos, 24 May 2024 — First Bank of Nigeria Limited, in partnership with Proparco, a Development Finance Institution is mainstreaming climate initiatives into its business operations and strategy. This 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).

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited “FirstBank”, established in 1894, is the premier bank in West Africa, one of the leading financial inclusion service providers in Africa, and a digital banking giant.

FirstBank’s international footprints cut across three continents- Africa, Europe and Asia, with FirstBank UK Limited in London and Paris; FirstBank in The Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Guinea and Sierra Leone; FBNBank in Ghana and Senegal; and a FirstBank Representative Office in Beijing, China. All the subsidiary banks are fully registered by their respective Central Banks to provide full banking services.

Besides providing domestic banking services, the subsidiaries also engage in international cross-border transactions with FirstBank’s Non-Nigerian Subsidiaries and the representative offices in Paris and China facilitate trade flows from Asia and Europe into Nigeria and other African countries.

For 130 years, FirstBank has built an outstanding reputation for solid relationships, good corporate governance, and a strong liquidity position, and has been at the forefront of promoting digital payment in the country with over 13 million cards issued to customers (the first bank to achieve such a milestone in Nigeria). FirstBank has continued to make significant investments in technology, innovation and transformation, and its cashless transaction drive has been steadily accentuated with almost 23 million active FirstBank customers signed up on digital channels including the USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code.

With over 42 million customer accounts (including digital wallets) spread across Nigeria, UK and sub-Saharan Africa, the Bank provides a comprehensive range of retail and wholesale financial services through more than 800 business offices and over 233,500 agent locations spread across 772 out of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.

In addition to banking solutions and services, FirstBank provides pension fund custody services in Nigeria through First Pension Custodian Nigeria Limited and nominee and associated services through First Nominees Nigeria Limited.

FirstBank’s commitment to Diversity is shown in its policies, partnerships and initiatives such as its employees’ ratio of female to male (about 39%:61%; and 32% women in management) as well as the FirstBank Women Network, an initiative that seeks to address the gender gap and increase the participation of women at all levels within the organisation.  In addition, the Bank’s membership of the UN Women is an affirmation of a deliberate policy that is consistent with UN Women’s Women Empowerment’s Principles (WEPs) – Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Nondiscrimination.

For six consecutive years (2011 – 2016), FirstBank was named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” by the globally renowned The Banker Magazine of the Financial Times Group and “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” eight times in a row, 2011 – 2018, by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards.

Notably, in 2022, the Bank took a long stride on its growth trajectory with the Bank’s Viability and Long-Term Issuer Default Ratings upgraded to ‘B’ from ‘B-‘ (with Outlooks Stable) by Fitch, a leading global rating agency. This is an indication of the Bank’s strong internal capital generation and corresponding recession of its risks to capitalisation. Fitch also upgraded the Bank’s National Long-Term Ratings to ‘A (nga)’ from ‘BBB (nga)’, to reflect its improved creditworthiness relative to that of other issuers in Nigeria. Furthermore, the Top 100 African Bank rankings 2022 released by The Banker Magazine revealed FirstBank’s ranking as number one in Nigeria in terms of Overall Performance, Profitability, Efficiency and Return on Risk.

Other laudable feats in 2022 include FirstBank’s international recognitions on major indices by Euromoney Market Leaders, an independent global assessment of the leading financial service providers where FirstBank was crowned:

  • Market Leader: (tier-1 recognition) in Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR),
  • Market Leader: (tier -1 recognition) Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG),
  • Highly Regarded: in Corporate Banking and Digital Solutions,
  • Notable: in SME Banking.

Also, in 2022 International Finance Magazine named the Bank “Most Innovative Banking Product in Nigeria” and “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria”. FirstBank was also awarded “Best Corporate Banking Western Africa, 2022” and “Best CSR Bank Western Africa, 2022’’ by Global Banking and Finance Magazine. Other notable awards in FirstBank coffers include: “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance magazine – fifteen times in a row; “Best Private Bank in Nigeria-2021” awarded by Global Finance magazine; “Best Internet Banking Nigeria” and ‘’Best CSR Bank Africa’’ by International Business Magazine.

In 2023, FirstBank has received notable awards including “Best Private Bank for Sustainable Investing in Africa 2023” by Global Finance Awards; “Best Sustainable Bank in Nigeria 2023” by International Investors Awards; “Best Bespoke Banking Services in Nigeria 2023” by International Investors Awards; “Best Financial Inclusion Service Provider in Nigeria 2023” by Digital Banker Africa; and “African Bank of the Year” by African Leadership Magazine; ’’Best Corporate Bank in Nigeria 2023’’ by Euromoney Awards and ‘’Most Innovative Banking Brand – Nigeria 2023’’ by Global Brands Award.

Other laudable feats in 2023 include FirstBank’s international recognitions on major indices by Euromoney Market Leaders, an independent global assessment of the leading financial service providers where FirstBank was crowned:

  • Market Leader: (tier-1 recognition) in Corporate Banking,
  • Market Leader: (tier -1 recognition) in Digital Solutions,
  • Highly Regarded: Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR),
  • Highly Regarded: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG),
  • Notable: in SME Banking.

Significantly, FirstBank’s Global Credit Rating was A+ with a positive outlook while ratings by Fitch and Standard & Poor’s were A (nga) and ngBBB+ respectively both with Stable outlooks as at September 2023. FirstBank maintained the same level of international credit ratings with the sovereign; a milestone that was achieved in 2022 for the first time since 2015.

Our vision is ‘To be Africa’s Bank of first choice’ and our mission is ‘To remain true to our name by providing the best financial services possible. This commitment is anchored on our core values of EPIC – Entrepreneurship, Professionalism, Innovation and Customer-Centricity. Our strategic ambition is ‘To deliver accelerated growth in profitability through customer-led innovation and disciplined execution and our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence to position You First in every respect.

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