Business News Update: The Commercial Bank of Ceylon was recently presented the ‘Excellent Green Commitment Award’ for the Banking Sector for 2019 by the Green Building Council of Sri Lanka (GBCSL), the country’s leading authority on implementing green concepts and green building practices.
The award was received by the Bank at the ’10th Anniversary Celebrations and Green Building Awards Ceremony 2019’ held at the Earls Regency Hotel in Kandy at which building owners, building material manufacturers and business leaders who demonstrated their commitment to environmental sustainability during 2019 were honoured. Commercial Bank was the only bank to receive this special award in the banking industry.
The award recognises Commercial Bank’s leadership in multifaceted Green initiatives encompassing lending to support eco-friendly operations, migrating customers to paperless banking, reducing consumption of non-renewable energy, water and other resources in its own operations, and support to community initiatives that help conserve habitats and the environment.
Commercial Bank financed the first commercially-viable wind power project and the first commercial-scale solar power project developed in Sri Lanka. It also continues to support projects that focus on renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, waste management, emission reductions, drip irrigation, and rain water harvesting. The Bank is also involved in the formulation of a Sustainable Banking Initiative (SBI) in the country in partnership with 18 members of the Sri Lanka Banks’ Association.
The Bank’s Green Financing is geared towards the fight against climate change, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 12 of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC): Affordable and Clean Energy, and Responsible Consumption and Production.
Furthermore, Commercial Bank adopts a Social and Environmental Management System (SEMS) to assess and manage social and environmental risks in a strategic and systematic manner. Procedures and work flows within the framework of SEMS ensure that the Bank’s lending is to environmentally sustainable, socially acceptable and economically viable projects.
The Bank’s ‘Green Loans’ and ‘Green Leases’ too are noteworthy, as they facilitate the purchase of energy-efficient household equipment, the installation of energy-efficient lighting for households, the purchase of hybrid or electric vehicles, solar panels and other machinery or equipment used for renewable energy, energy efficiency, emission reductions, water and waste water management and waste management. A total of Rs 5.446 Billion in Green Loan facilities was disbursed by the Bank in the period assessed for the award. These loans are expected to reduce the environmental footprint of borrowers.
Stringent measures are also in place to manage consumption and eliminate waste across the Bank’s branch network. These involve a decrease in paper usage in banking operations and the use of recycled paper, and the limiting of water consumption mainly for the purposes of drinking and sanitation.
Additionally, the Bank’s installation of solar power systems at branches, its use of waste management companies that follow international standards in disposal practices for the dispatch of e-waste and paper, initiatives to migrate customers to digital platforms, and investments in automated technology that minimise the use of paper and encourages paperless-banking are among the environment-friendly efforts initiated by the Bank.
Commercial Bank also ensures that it collaborates only with suppliers that adhere to the Bank’s sustainability standards; especially when it comes to the purchases of solar panels and air conditioners.
The Green Building Council of Sri Lanka is a consensus-based not-for-profit organisation with diverse and integrated representation from all sectors of the property industry and academia. Established in 2009 as a joint effort of the professional institutions of architects, engineers, structural engineers, town planners, quantity surveyors, university academics, construction industry leaders, environmentalists and business leaders, the organisation’s aim is to transform the Sri Lankan construction industry with green building practices and to fully adopt sustainability as the means by which the environment thrives, the economy prospers and society grows.
The only Sri Lankan Bank to be ranked among the world’s top 1000 banks for nine years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 865 ATMs in Sri Lanka. The Bank has won over 80 international and local awards in 2018 and 2019, and was ranked among the 10 Most Admired Companies in Sri Lanka in 2019.
Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Representative Office in Yangon and a Microfinance company in Nay PyiTaw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.