“CBC has developed and launched two special credit lines to offer loans for environmentally-friendly projects.”
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC (“CBC”) has a very rich history dating back to 1920 when it started operations as a single branch in Colombo, Sri Lanka. After Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, trade continued to flourish. In 1969, the Commercial Bank of Ceylon was duly incorporated.
CBC’s day-to-day business activities consume minimal natural resources and do not generate high volumes of emissions. However, it is conscious of any negative effect on the environment and takes all measures to minimise such impact. These efforts include digitisation of services offered by CBC, having a comprehensive waste disposal system, investing in environmentally-friendly machines which minimise the use of paper and investing in green buildings for its branches. In fact, four more such branch buildings have been constructed in 2017, in addition to the four that were already operational at the beginning of the year.
Besides ensuring its own organisation follows along the green path, CBC also extends its influence and resources to its clients. Lending responsibly is perhaps CBC’s most significant contribution to sustainability. All loans are screened using the Social and Environmental Management System (SEMS) policy to ensure compliance with environment regulations and CBC engages with clients to resolve any issue identified through this process. Suppliers are also screened using the same policy framework to ensure environmental compliance.
In addition to adopting SEMS, CBC has also developed and launched two special credit lines to offer loans for environmentally-friendly projects namely Green Development Loans for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs that wish to invest in energy saving, energy efficiency or off-grid renewable energy projects including investments in solar power and Green Energy Loans and Leases which are offered for individuals who wish to invest in solar power systems for household use.
Recognising the substantial potential savings in paper and energy consumption, CBC has started the migration of its clients to digital channels. In its effort, CBC has invested 52 units of a new generation automated Cash Deposit Machines (CDM) that minimise the use of paper under the green banking programme.
Instilling environmental consciousness in its business processors starts at the top. CBC’s top management formulates a sustainability policy and incorporates it into the corporate plan. CBC’s management team set Key Performance Indicators on green lending, digitisation and material usage in yearly strategic planning. So serious is CBC about being environmentally-friendly, it has even refused facilities applied for by some clients because their business proposals did not meet the requirements of the SEMS framework. The rejection of many such applications was related to environmental concerns and lack of proper environmental studies.
In this age when climate change is a much talked-about topic, being an environmentally responsible company certainly has its rewards. Besides benefiting the environment, CBC has received the enhanced goodwill of key stakeholders. CBC’s clients have also applauded its green efforts. Initially, CBC received criticism from some clients who did not understand the green lending policy adopted by the bank. To combat this, CBC’s staff started to educate its clients on the importance of such policies. As a result, many clients started appreciating the policy and started advocating the efforts of the bank thus becoming instrumental in generating new business to the bank through their contacts. This enhanced CBC’s corporate image in the eyes of the public which is linked to the business success of the organisation.
In addition to CBC’s key stakeholders and clients, CBC has also received a number of local and international awards for sustainability.