Executive Coordinator of the Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND), Chibeze Ezekiel, has emphasised that sustainable development requires responsible use of natural resources.
It is for this, he said, that the SYND Biodiversity No-Go Policy campaign that advocates for banks to implement strong regulations to guide their funding mechanisms so they do not fund projects which are harmful to the environment is so important.
He said this when his outfit engaged banks on their respective efforts in sustainable development and biodiversity conservation to mark this year’s International Day of Biodiversity (IDB) themed ‘Building a Shared Future with All Life’.
“I think it is a good call. We must create a sustainable future for all; and the only way to do so is to safeguard biodiversity, including plants and animals. Again, it boils down to our mindful use of natural resources in a sustainable manner. We cannot prohibit people from hunting animals or felling trees, but we can encourage them to do so in a sustainable manner. If you kill animals, you breed more of them and you plant more trees respectively,” he explained.
He also stated that individuals must be environmentally-conscious and implement simple behaviour such as planting trees, having a garden at home and sustainably handling plastic trash, among other things.
“One thing that people overlook is the fact that grass holds water. At the very least, having grass at home will help soak up the rain. Ghana is doing well in terms of policies and laws, but it lags in terms of implementation. As a country, we should do more to implement these laws and promote awareness about environmental sustainability,” he said.
ESG key in financing
For the Campaigns and Organising Coordinator-SYND, Enoch Anyane, biodiversity is the foundation upon which a better future can be built; and the involvement of banks as essential financing agents for many projects cannot be ruled out.
Banks like the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) and Cal Bank PLC revealed that pragmatic measures have been employed to ensure sustainable development and mitigate climate change impacts in any activities they embark on as a bank.
“For a bank or a financial institution to thrive well, it needs to do a proper analysis on its lending. So if we are looking at Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), then banks should constantly consider the effect of their financing on the environment. If a bank does not do due diligence, it might end up in a project that might degrade the environment or is illegal. This assessment is crucial to us banks, because if those projects get halted, you might not get the money back,” Risk Manager at GCB Bank, Nana Turkson noted.