BY SILAS APOLLO
The Equity Group has unveiled its annual sustainability report for the year 2022, highlighting what has been the priority areas for the group in driving change on some of Africa’s most pressing needs.
Themed “Growing Together in Trust”, the report showcases some of the group’s remarkable impact in supporting a sustainable cleaner and greener environment, access to education, improved agriculture and better healthcare.
Other areas also include enterprise development and financial inclusion, social protection work, promotion of a brighter and sustainable future for communities and businesses across Africa.
The sustainability report positions Equity as a key driver and leader in sustainability, demonstrating its commitment to socio-economic and environmental transformation across Africa.
It also reflects the lender’ dedication to sustainable business practices and the integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) aspirations into its day-to-day operations.
Equity Group Holdings chairman, Prof. Isaac Macharia, says that the report was significant in the wake of the post-pandemic recovery and the escalating global concerns surrounding climate crisis, social equity, poverty, food insecurity, and the emerging debt crisis.
“This report signifies our relentless vision to be a driving force behind sustainable socio-economic prosperity in Africa. In the face of pandemic repercussions and global climate challenges, it falls upon the private sector in collaboration with governments, development and like-minded partners to lead the charge in addressing societal concerns,” Prof. Macharia said.
He added that “twin-engine” business model is what drives the lender to seamlessly integrate sustainability into its core business strategy.
Equity Group managing director and chief executive officer, Dr. James Mwangi on the other hand argued that the unveiling of the report marked the beginning of a new journey both for the group and its partners.
“The future beckons us to strive beyond business as usual and embrace sustainable transformation. Technology adoption will be the cornerstone of Africa’s development in line with the fourth industrial revolution,” said Mwangi.
He noted that the group’s resolve remains unshaken even as it seeks to break free from the shackles of the old socio-economic order, adding that the company’s recovery and resilience plan emphasizes the pivotal importance of Africa’s people, environment, natural resources, and economic opportunities.
“We recognize that a sustainable future demands conscious consideration of our impact on both people and the planet, and this report illustrates how Equity is leading the way in this endeavor. This has been the guiding principle since we were established nearly 40 years ago,” Mwangi said.
The 2022 sustainability report epitomizes Equity Group’s dedication to sustainable business practices, and summarizes the strides made in incorporating these into the Group’s strategy, governance, risk management as well as performance measurement.
The report adheres to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) guidelines, an indication that the lender is committed to “transparent sustainability, impact reporting as well as “best-in-class” business practices.
The group’s climate, energy and environment-related initiatives have been impactful – by planting 21.8 million trees in alignment with Kenya’s forest cover initiative, implementing climate-smart agricultural practices, and providing support to farmers, it actively contributes to sustainable practices in the region.
The bank has incorporated climate risk assessment into its credit process and has financed over $120 million worth of green projects. Its dedication to diversity, equality, and inclusion has . Empowering and capacitating women is deeply ingrained in our organizational DNA. Our Board of Directors comprises a commendable 33% female representation, aligned with gender parity benchmarks set by developed economies.
“Moreover, we take immense pride in the notable 48% female representation across all Group and subsidiary board committees, underscoring our firm commitment to fostering equitable opportunities at every echelon of our organization,” said Dr Mwangi.
Chairperson Equity Group Board Sustainability Committee, Dr. Helen Gichohi said Equity intends to play a lead role in driving sustainability across the region and beyond.
“As the world confronts sustainability challenges, there’s pressure for organizations such as Equity to articulate and demonstrate the role we are playing to address these challenges and to become and prioritize sustainability,” said Dr Gichohi.
The report further showcases Equity Group’s steadfast commitment to its social engine’s core pillars, creating a roadmap for a brighter and more sustainable future.
Some of the priority areas identified by the group include areas of education and leadership development, food and agriculture, health, enterprise development and financial inclusion, energy, environment and climate as well as social protection.