Bank emphasises on socially equitable initiatives
Development Bank of Namibia’s (DBN) Head of Lending, John Mbango, said, the Bank’s value which describes sustainability states that the Bank places emphasis on socially equitable and environmentally responsible business initiatives,like.
Although the Bank focuses on larger enterprises and infrastructure, the Bank’s track record shows that it places a strong emphasis well-being of broader society and the environment. In terms of social initiatives, the Bank supports social entrepreneurship, particularly in the fields of education and health.
In terms of the environment, he pointed to numerous projects that include water reclamation at the coast, recycling and renewable energy.
Mbango said that sustainability involves a narrow focus on the middle to long-term social and environmental costs of operations financed by the Bank. To illustrate the point, he said that the Bank might be approached to finance a factory which has high levels of polluting emissions, but this would come at a high cost to future generations in the form of occupational diseases to workers and next door neighbours caused by the operation, as well as degradation of the environment in the operations area of influence.
This potential liability to the future, he said, is being mitigated by an environmental and social management system (ESMS) recently implemented by the Bank which is made up of a policy framework, procedures and operational standards which gives guidance and strategic direction to DBN clients
In terms of applications for finance, Mbango said that the ESMS closely adheres to various sets of legislation and regulations at the local and national levels and international best practices. This, he said, points to the fact that the Bank’s ESMS is not an additional requirement for borrowers, but rather a ratification that applicants adhere to requirements stipulated by law, which applicants will have to adhere to in order to obtain a social license to operate.
Mbango said that the Bank categorises and manages applications according to low, medium and high-risk environmental and social categories.
The Bank is currently in the process of accrediting itself with the Green Climate Fund.