StanChart CEO roots for sustainable operations

Standard Chartered CEO Kariuki Ngari, signs the sustainable impact report as Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu looks on. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari has urged companies to adopt sustainable practices.

He said how much a business can save or impact the community is a hook that will make more firms, especially small and medium sized-enterprises agree to the sustainability agenda.

Mr Ngari, who was speaking during the launch of the bank’s 2021 Sustainability Impact Report, said that while some of the actions require money, others are only dependent on goodwill.

He cited the Standard Chartered Head Office on Westlands Road, Nairobi, which has been able to reduce water usage by half through recycling and harvesting of rainwater, which is used in the washrooms.

Electricity cost has also gone down 25 per cent and the building is also plastic-free. The CEO said the building also does 99.9 per cent waste recycling. “Our target is to get to 100 per cent,” he said. He described these actions as low-hanging fruits that other organisations could adopt.

Mr Ngari said the transition to sustainable practices, especially where climate change is a factor, requires a lot of science as some of the decisions to be made are critical to the existing businesses. He said the transition will not happen in a hurry. “It is going to take time. It will take a long time to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

“I don’t think anybody is ready yet to say ‘I am dumping fossil fuel, I am going to clean energy overnight’,” he said. The bank’s report has 11 sustainability aspirations that provide measurable targets for sustainable business outcomes.

These are infrastructure, community engagement, financial crime compliance, conduct, environment, impact finance, commerce, climate change among others. Sasini Managing Director Martin Ochieng said even as firms and businesses tackle climate change, it all narrows down to individual responsibility. [Graham Kajilwa]

“We are the generation that has messed up the world,” he said, “we must also be the generation to correct it as well.

Mr Ngari reflected on the country’s food situation as the rains have become unpredictable, leading to droughts.

“Those of you who do shopping you can see that in the food basket. I do not know what other kind of statistics we need,” he said.

“I do not think it is about corporate but individual. Standard Chartered is just a company, so is Sasini and Safaricom but it is the individuals there that make a difference,” said Mr Ochieng.

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