The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele, has appealed to leaders of financial regulatory agencies to others to adopt sustainable financial practices that would lead to economic development without negative costs to the ecosystem and future generations. These agencies were the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Nigeria Pension Commission (PenCom).

He made this appeal recently while declaring open a workshop on sustainable finance for the Financial Sector regulatory bodies in conjunction with the United Nations financial initiatives.

According to Emefiele, sustainable development concepts pursue a balance between environmental protection, social equity and economic development.  “As a result of the growing evidence on the positive nexus between environmental and social management and improved economic performance, an increasing number of financial institutions worldwide are adopting sustainable finance practices to ensure that economic development is not achieved at a cost to our ecosystem and our future generations”.

The Nigerian financial sector, he said, has “developed and adopted the Nigeria Sustainable Banking Principles, which is an industry-led initiative needed to build a more resilient, robust, environmentally and socially responsible financial sector.” This development became necessary owing to the growing evidence that environmental and social issues present growing risks to economic growth.

The CBN Governor re-echoed the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP, 2015) warning that “there is growing evidence that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide.  With the global human population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, we will need three planets to sustain our way of life, if the current consumption and production patterns remain unchanged”.

In her remarks, Deputy Head, UNEP finance initiative, Yuki Yusui lamented that “there is a huge funding gap. A lot of study by the United Nations and other agencies shows that we need trillions of dollars per year to invest in a green eco system and save the economy. We have a lot of people that should be out of poverty and the funding gap means that the financial sector needs to be involved to participate and channel the money from brown economy to green economy and regulators to play a bigger role.”

She challenged financial regulatory agencies all over the world to “come out and stop just worrying about financial stability, hyper- inflation and now start working with other agencies on ecosystem development.”

By Dike Onwuamaeze


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