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Kenya Leads Africa in Sustainable Banking with New SC Account Option

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya has recently launched what it calls the first Sustainable Account in Africa, marking a significant step forward in the continent’s journey towards integrating sustainability in financial services. This innovative banking solution, previously rolled out in regions like the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, China, and the United States, is now accessible to Kenyan businesses and individuals aiming to support environmental and social sustainability through their banking activities.

What is a Sustainable Account?

A Sustainable Account is a type of banking account designed to channel funds into sustainable projects. The money deposited into these accounts is specifically earmarked to support loans and investments that have a positive environmental and social impact. This product aligns with the global movement towards sustainable finance, where funds are directed to projects that not only yield financial returns but also contribute positively to society and the planet.

Features of Standard Chartered’s Sustainable Account

Standard Chartered’s Sustainable Account offers several unique features that differentiate it from traditional banking accounts:

  1. Alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The account’s framework is mapped against the United Nations’ SDGs. This ensures that the funds are used in projects that advance global goals such as climate action, clean energy, and responsible consumption and production.
  2. Green and Sustainable Product Framework: The bank utilizes a detailed guideline that defines what qualifies as sustainable and green. This framework helps in categorizing and selecting the projects that deposits will fund, ensuring transparency and adherence to environmental and social governance standards.
  3. Accessibility and Flexibility: Customers can deposit their surplus cash into the Sustainable Account and maintain daily access to their funds, making it an attractive option for those who want to contribute to sustainable initiatives without sacrificing liquidity.
  4. Sustainability Without Extra Work: The account is designed for clients who wish to adopt sustainability and responsible business practices without the need for separate project funding or complex assessments. This feature is particularly beneficial for corporate clients, making it easier for them to integrate sustainable practices into their business operations.
  5. Annual Impact Reports: The bank provides an annual Sustainable Finance Impact Report, which allows customers to see the specific impacts of their investments in terms of sustainable finance. This transparency helps customers understand and evaluate the effectiveness of their contributions towards sustainability.

Supporting Sustainable Development

By introducing the Sustainable Account, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya is responding to the growing demand for financial products that allow clients to participate in sustainable development. The launch follows the closure of the largest Sustainability Linked Loan in the region, demonstrating the bank’s commitment to fostering sustainable and inclusive growth.

The development of the Sustainable Account was supported by Sustainalytics, a leading independent provider of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research and ratings. This partnership underscores the account’s credibility and the bank’s dedication to providing verified and impactful sustainable financial solutions.

Conclusion

Standard Chartered’s Sustainable Account represents a transformative approach to banking, where financial decisions directly contribute to positive environmental and social outcomes. For clients in Kenya and, potentially, other parts of Africa, this account offers a pathway to engage with sustainability in a tangible, impactful way. As the global community continues to prioritise sustainability, such financial innovations will play a crucial role in shaping a more sustainable future.

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