Creating a sustainable world
At Sterling, sustainability is at the core of our strategy and business. We are committed to improving lives, economic development and environment sustainability.
“To inspire hope and enrich lives by leading positive social change and deliver value through our support in education, health, environmental and socio-economic development causes.”
We combine our resources to advance our People, Planet and Profit using Economic, Environmental and Social Investments to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
- Economic Investments
- Environmental Investments
- Social Investments
We have established a strategy targeted at positively impacting businesses with the products, services, knowledge and tools they require for sustainable growth. We prioritize businesses within socially and environmentally conscious sectors which we call H.E.A.R.T Sectors.
H.E.A.R.T means (Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transport) Sectors.
Our Mantra “Committed to be nature’s keeper” is a strategic decision that has ensured we remain committed to identifying and mitigating the negative impacts of our business operations and activities on the immediate environment; thereby reducing our ecological footprint including implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation actions to reduce emission of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs).
We are committed to enriching the lives of our stakeholders through the adoption of various Corporate Social Responsibility investments including employee volunteering, innovative products, services and more.
A thriving community is profitable to both the citizens and our business. By combining our strategy and expertise, we enrich more lives.
We invest in our employees because we understand they are important to building our business, supporting our customers and empowering our communities.
Our Sustainability Milestone
• We Established a Sustainable Banking Unit, under the Enterprise Risk Management Group to oversee the implementation of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles.
• We developed a compendium of policies and frameworks to institutionalize the adoption of best-practice sustainability principles.
• We commenced the Environmental and Social risk assessment of credit transactions.
• We published our 1st Stand Alone Sustainability Report inline with GRI: G3 standards
• We established an internal reporting portal to capture and analyze Sustainability metrics such as water, waste, energy consumption, paper usage etc.
• We established partnership with a hybrid power outsourcing vendor to deploy this solution to several of our branches
• Sustainability Capacity Building was included in the staff recruitment training and eLearning programs.
• We commenced the computation of our Carbon footprint assessment.
• We commenced the onsite Environmental & Social Risk Assessment of credit transactions.
• We successfully adopted a Waste segregation and recycling initiative at our Head Office location - Sterling Towers.
• We commenced our Uber for business service, thereby reducing our company fleet vehicles by 27%
• We established a “Flexi-plan and Flexi-place” initiative for staff to enable them to achieve a desirable work-life balance.
• We launched our ‘One Woman’ proposition in 2017 - an initiative focused on supporting women in business by granting them access to market and finance.
• We established a Recyclart competition to further create awareness around waste management practices such as recycling and upcycling.
• We commenced the implementation of paper consumption reduction strategies such as Print as A Service.
• We implemented a medical insurance scheme for staff with leading Health Management Organisations (HMO) to enhance qualitative medic-care.
• We commenced our H.E.A.R.T Sector sustainable investment strategy - a strategy targeted at impacting businesses within socially and environmentally conscious sectors - HEART (Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, and Transportation) which is well-aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
• Successfully subscribed as a participatory member of the United Nations Global Compact - which focuses on Human Rights, Labor, Environment and Anti-Corruption.
• We commenced the recycling and responsible destruction of our Electronic wastes.
- We extended our waste management partnership initiative to additional states making it 28 states with which we have partnered on waste management
- We commenced partnership with African Clean Up initiative in the drive to turn waste to wealth using waste to pay for the school fees of less privileged Nigerians in a pilot programme
- We have partnered with the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) for over a decade to promote environmental sustainability. We worked with the laudable institution to keep Africa’s largest metropolis clean and healthy. While the demands of keeping the city clean have increased due to its reputation as being one of the world’s fastest-growing cities, we remain committed to this partnership and see it as a joint responsibility. Over 100,000 uniforms have been provided for the street sweepers based on this partnership.
- As part of the partnership investment, we also invested in the LAWMA awards ceremony where outstanding workers are celebrated and rewarded. This helps to boost the morale of the men and women who daily bear the brunt of the enormous waste created across the city every day.
- Beyond Lagos, we have extended this partnership across the country to 27 additional states to promote cleanliness and healthy living across Africa’s giant. This is in line with our focus on expanding impact across the country.
The additional waste management partner states include – Sokoto, Bauchi, Gombe, Maiduguri, Abia, Kano, Osun, Kaduna, Rivers, Kwara, Delta, Oyo, Abuja, Ekiti, Ogun, Enugu, Anambra, Benue, Edo, Niger, Kogi, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Cross-river, Imo, Ondo, Plateau and Lagos states. The partnership involved kitting out of over 50,000 street sweepers across the country. This brings the total number of our partner states to 28. Our target is to take this laudable investment to every state in the country.
Employee volunteering is one of our priorities for staff engagement and this was extended to the Sterling Environmental Makeover (#STEM) initiative, an investment the Bank’s staff have made for over 6 years. The Bank’s executive and senior management including all staff join the relevant agencies to clean several streets and marketplaces across the country. It is one of several initiatives the Bank has embarked on to promote environmental sustainability in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative has since become a movement currently attracting corporates and celebrities who intend to be part of this good cause. In 2019, it was executed during the World Clean Up day (WCD) and International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD), on September 21, 2019 in 22 states of the country concurrently. The World Clean Up Day is an annual global social action program aimed at combating the global solid waste problem, including the problem of marine debris. In Lagos, the team executed both a street cleaning and beach clean-up exercise with various corporate organizations and individuals including GreenHub Africa, Dupont, Clickatell, Heritage Place, Tek Experts, Bolt, Dispose Recyclers, and the Beach Restoration Project. Past partners include the British Council, LasGidi Recyclers, Megalectric, L’oreal, Daar communications, Malta Guiness, Indomie Noodles, KPMG, MTV Base, Pepsi and Wecyclers. Also, partnered with Recycles Pay to turn Waste to Wealth. Recyclables picked at several events/locations were sold and the proceeds were used to finance the education of some children namely Destiny Mebi, Godwill Oroboshiri and Nado. The children and their families live in the Ajegunle area of Lagos state. This helped ease the burden of paying for their education while availing them the opportunity of a better future.
We launched Recyclart competition where recyclable materials are used in creating sculptures and art works. The competition serves to preserve culture by empowering young artists and emerging talent nationally. Participants were required to create an original piece of art made from recycled and repurposed materials to be exhibited at a public space. The competition took place in four zones – Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Abuja. A cash prize of One Million Naira and several other benefits in kind were awarded to each winner from the four zones.
We employed sustainable waste management practices in both the Head Office and Annex offices. This is one of the measures put in place to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, by adopting the principle of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.” In partnership with Wecyclers and LAWMA, we commenced a Waste Recycling Initiative with the aim of managing the bank’s waste in an orderly manner thereby reducing the Bank’s carbon footprint. The initiative enables dispose its waste by separating bio-degradable waste from recyclable waste. LAWMA disposes the bio-degradable waste while the recyclable (Paper, Cans, Sachet, Pet etc.) are further processed from waste to wealth, creating additional employment for small and medium entrepreneurs and access to income generation opportunities for the SMEs. We are one of the first financial institutions in Nigeria to adopt a sustainable approach to waste management in partnership with LAWMA and Wecyclers Ltd and have commenced extending the waste recycling initiative to branches.
To address the challenge of desertification in the North-eastern parts of the country, we launched a tree planting exercise in three states: Bauchi, Gombe and Plateau states. Over 600 trees were planted in this initial phase of afforestation. An ambitious target has been set to plan one million trees around the country. We commemorated the World Environment Day with an Adopt-A-Plant initiative where all staff members were encouraged to adopt plants.
At Sterling, we are constantly evaluating how to evolve our processes to serve our customers better without expanding our carbon footprint. The natural outcome from this ongoing improvement cycle is finding how to use resources more efficiently. As such, we have been proactive in addressing climate change issues in our business operations. Following a detailed audit of resource utilization in our business operations, we have executed various initiatives including process automation project roll-out that limits paper usage, use of video conference facilities, with attendant reduction in travel costs and fossil fuel consumption, use of energy saving bulbs at most of our locations and solar powered ATMs and perimeter lighting solutions at over 80percent of our locations. We remain committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions because of our operations and have over 50 percent of our locations powered by hybrid or off-grid solar solutions. We also prioritize Environmental and Social Risk assessment as part of our risk assessment process, which guide investment decision-making at the Bank.
GRI Reporting and
Our Sustainability reports have been prepared in accordance the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBPs) which provides a standardized framework that guides our actions towards sustainable business practices and also with the GRI standards. Our report also communicates our partnership with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).