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As the world marks the International Coastal Clean Up this month, Sterling Bank PLC, Nigeria's leading commercial bank, has announced that it is working towards going completely green in its banking processes and has adopted the use of biodegradable bags across its network of branches nationwide. This, according to the statement made available by the Bank, is in a bid to address the increasing environmental menace of plastic waste at both land and coastal areas, a further demonstration of Bank's leading role in the emergence of a Green Nigeria. The initiative, implemented with the support of Bonniebio Nigeria Limited, a plastic biodegradable advisory firm with international affiliations, is aimed at turning Sterling Bank into the foremost financial institution pioneering the preservation of the environment by promoting the use of biodegradable bags under the Sustainable Banking Principles of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, according to the statement made available in Lagos, said Sterling Bank will adopt biodegradable bags usage in all its locations going forward. He added that the Bank had developed action steps and guidelines on eventual disposal and management of waste across all its locations. “We have adopted the biodegradable waste policy in our Head Office and will replicate same in all our branches, facilitate the adoption and supply of biodegradable bags to branches as well as donation of same to organic food retailers and supermarkets,” he said. Suleiman added that, “Sterling Bank will, by this initiative, be contributing towards a worthy cause as it would ensure the reduction of plastic waste and create a future wherein nature and its resources are equally accessible to all Nigerians.” He said the Bank would champion the use of biodegradable materials that can decompose between 3 to 12 months and eliminate the use of plastic (polyethene) bags which scientists say can take as much as 500 to 1,000 years to decompose on landfills. Green banking has gained popularity all over the world in recent years as many financial institutions are actively looking for areas of their banking processes that can be exploited and carried out with the lowest negative impact to the environment. In Nigeria, Sterling Bank has played a leading role in promoting the efficient disposal of waste over the years. In 2018, the Bank partnered with Nigeria’s first electronic waste (e-waste) recycling firm, E-Terra Technologies, to promote efficient and irreversible destruction of electronic waste in line with its sustainable banking initiatives. It also collaborated with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Green Hub Africa and other partners to mark the World Clean-Up Day in Lagos and participated actively in the cleaning of a beach front and drainages across the state, among others. Also, Sterling Bank Plc was recognised by Wecyclers Nigeria Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading waste recycling firm, for its commitment to the sustainable implementation of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBPs) through its Sterling Environmental Makeover (STEM) programme and the recycling of waste materials at its head office and branches in Lagos. Across the country, the Bank has partnered with over 26 state government’s waste management authorities including the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) for over a decade to ensure proper management of waste in Africa’s largest economy.
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