16 November 2022, Johannesburg, South Africa – Microsoft South Africa and Nedbank, one of the largest financial services groups in Africa, have joined forces to build a financial-sector-led sustainability capability for Africa.
The partnership will focus on driving multiple programmes to amplify the United Nations’ (UN) 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with technological advancements, to service internal enterprise requirements and enable customers to participate in the growing green market ecosystem more easily and responsibly. The sustainability capability is expected to transcend traditional transactional banking activities and embrace innovation, incubation and research with academia as well.
Nedbank’s strategy is delivered through five strategic value drivers that include delivering innovative client solutions; engaging in ongoing disruptive market activities; focusing on areas that create value; driving efficient execution; and creating positive impact. The partnership with Microsoft is therefore a natural progression in Nedbank’s disruptive aspiration to be the bank leading the green ecosystem in Africa. With market-leading advancements from Microsoft like the Cloud-for-Sustainability, Nedbank will leverage the greater digital capability that Microsoft has created to expedite environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact across the continent, in geographies where it has operations and clients. With more than 13 different channels of execution, this is one of the most comprehensive approaches for targeting the UN SDGs, enabling organisations of all types, sizes and sectors to meet the new sustainability imperatives.
“At Nedbank, we leverage our ongoing investments in technology to revolutionise traditional sustainability management, not just through a financial lens but also considering the positive impact that our information technology solutions will have on society and the environments that we operate in. We are mindful of how our solutions can shape the future and are guided by our purpose of using our financial expertise to do good,” says Fred Swanepoel, Nedbank Group Chief Information Officer.
The African continent is disproportionately affected by threats caused by climate change. Droughts, floods and increasing water scarcity will have negative effects on food systems and people’s livelihoods.
“At Microsoft, we recognise our responsibility and opportunity to ensure the technology we create benefits everyone on the planet, as well as the planet itself. Our partnership with Nedbank comes in line with our commitment to accelerate progress toward a more sustainable future by helping our customers and partners build sustainable solutions and drive real impact across their industries. Leveraging the full length and breadth of the trusted Microsoft Cloud, we will enable new innovations that will empower the financial services sector to drive sustainability, and support Africa’s overarching sustainability ambitions,” says Samer Abu-Ltaif, Corporate Vice President and President of Microsoft Middle East and Africa.
Both entities have been active participants in multiple global initiatives that aim to create and contribute to a more sustainable future for the planet. These initiatives include:
- Nedbank’s commitment to the United Nations Global Compact and the 10 principles that underpin it. In addition, the group was the first financial services signatory from Africa to the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (2004), the Equator Principles (2005) and the CEO Water Mandate (2011) and continues to actively support these initiatives. Nedbank is also a leading performer on the South African Carbon Disclosure project (CDP) and has been carbon neutral in its own operations for over 10 years.
- A deliberate focus on the SDGs as an important part of the group’s overall strategy, aligning its core business to deliver on the bank’s purpose – to use our financial expertise to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society. As at 31 December 2021, Nedbank has provided and raised over R100 billion in SDG-related financing and funding.
- A first for the South African financial services sector, Nedbank established and successfully integrated dedicated climate-related governance structures as follows: Group Climate Resilience Committee (board subcommittee), Climate Risk Committee (Group Exco subcommittee) and Climate Task Team. The Group Climate Resilience Committee, newly established in March 2021, has had an excellent start to its work and is highly effective in fulfilling and delivering on its responsibilities.
- Key decisions taken by the Nedbank board in 2021 include approving Nedbank’s Energy Policy and climate scenarios set out in the 2021 Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process.
- Nedbank is a leading funder of renewable energy with R35 billion debt underwritten and >3500MW renewable energy added to the national grid.
- In support of creating a greener and more sustainable future, Nedbank recently partnered and launched a solar financing initiative, which aims to make solar installations easily accessible to South Africans regardless of their primary bank or mortgage provider.
- Microsoft’s creation of a Climate Innovation Fund with a $1 billion investment over four years, targeting four priorities to guide its investments in measurable climate impact, unmet capital needs in underfunded markets, benefit to developing economies and underserved communities, and investment core business alignment for itself and those of its customers.