Sustainable financing is focusing on to develop and to integrate into core business operation through efficient and effective implementation of Green Banking and CSR. As a responsible financial institution Meridian Finance & Investment Limited (MFIL) is also being a part of such financing committed to carry out its operation in such a way that it supports the environment and discourage harmful acts against the environment as well as against the society. As an emerging organization MFIL has put on board a wide range of activities to strengthen the base of sustainable financing in Bangladesh.
Formation of Sustainable Finance Committee (SFC) and Sustainable Finance Unit (SFU):
MFIL has established a Sustainable Finance Committee (SFC) and Sustainable Finance Unit (SFU). CEO & Managing Director is the chairman of the SFC and Deputy Managing Director is the head of SFU. The unit is responsible for designing, evaluating and administering environmental and social friendly financing, Sustainable financing, CSR activities of the company, confirm the Green office environment, formation of Green environment strategy planning and Gender parity. This unit would report to the SFC and the SFC will report to the Board of Directors at the end of the year regarding all such activities.
Incorporation of Environmental Risk in CRM:
MFIL will comply with the instructions stipulated in the detailed guidelines on Environmental Risk Management (ERM) in consideration of a part of the Green Banking Policy. It will incorporate Environmental and Climate Change Risk as part of the existing credit risk methodology prescribed to assess a prospective borrower. This will include integrating environmental risks in the checklists, audit guidelines and reporting formats. These will help mainstream Environmental Risk that cover possible sources of Environmental Risk such as land use, climate change related events (cyclone, drought), animal diseases/pathogens such as avian influenza, solid waste including waste feed, animal waste, carcasses, sediments, wastewater discharges, hazardous materials, etc. will be reviewed under Environmental Due Diligence (EDD) checklists.
Initiating In-house Environment Management:
MFIL will prepare an inventory of the consumption of water, paper, electricity, energy etc., to monitor and save in house consumption. A ‘Green Office Guide’ (Annexure –A) containing a set of general instructions has been circulated to the employees for efficient use of electricity, water, paper and reuse of equipment.
Creation of Climate Risk Fund:
MFIL will finance the economic activities of flood, cyclone and drought prone areas at the regular interest rate without charging additional risk premium. MFIL will assess environmental risks for financing the sectors in different areas for creating a Climate Change Risk Fund. This will be used in case of emergency. These activities will be considered as part of CSR activity of the company. MFIL will ensure regular financing flows in these vulnerable areas and sectors.
Preliminary assessment regarding feasibility of projects associated with climate risk will be done by Green Banking Unit and CSR unit. When a project is selected by the GBU and CSR unit, the rest of the assessment will be done in the same way the other projects are assessed.
The size and use of the Climate Risk Fund will be determined by the GBU. Any disbursement of the fund will require the permission of the Executive Committee or Board of Directors as required.
Introducing Green Marketing:
Green marketing refers to marketing of products which brings positive result for the environment. To introduce green marketing, MFIL will focus on the environmental benefits while selling the products. Through green marketing, MFIL will try to create demand of its eco-friendly product and make people aware of the protection of environment at the same time.
MFIL’s Green Marketing Activities will not be limited to its green products only. It will create awareness among general people through other marketing activities as well. For example deposit brochures, applicant forms, e-mails, letter head pads visiting cards etc. will contain Quotes for creating awareness.
Green Strategic Planning:
MFIL will set achievable targets for green financing and in house environmental management and formulate strategy to achieve them. These objectives and strategies will be disclosed in annual reports and website.
Objectives related to in-house environment management will cover attaining energy efficiency in the form of use of renewable energy, reduction of electricity, gas, and petrol consumption, reduction of Green House Gas(GHG) emissions, saving papers, environment friendly office buildings etc. For Green Financing, the objectives will cover reducing loans for certain environmentally harmful activities, attaining a particular percentage of environmental loans as percentage of total, introducing eco-friendly financial products etc.
Social responsiveness by Customers Care:
Several measures have been initiated to raise the bar of our service excellence to ensure that customers receive the best possible service. We ensure confidentiality of customer’s information and attach highest importance in complaint management. The Company strives to listen and learn from its stakeholders and to take appropriate action where it applies, since responsible behaviour towards its clients, shareholders and employees is an essential element of Company’s daily business.
Social responsiveness by facilitated its Employees:
MFIL is working with a vision of converting human resources into human capital through appropriate knowledge, skills, abilities and personal attribution and established a competitive and enabling working environment to help employees perform their best. Creating a culture of healthy competition driven by knowledge is what we believe is the best way to prepare our employees to take up challenges of the contemporary business world. MFIL ensures equal opportunities for all its employees in terms of both their personal and professional development. MFIL ensures health and safety in the workplace while keeping it modern by providing all amenities for its employees. To attract talents and retain competency, we have an attractive compensation scheme comprising financial and qualitative benefits. Besides providing competitive package, MFIL provides various welfare schemes to its employees.
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment:
MFIL considers the responsibility for protection of human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. MFIL is successfully developing in bringing diversity in workforce in context of age, gender, ethnicity and locality. MFIL strives to strike the balance between male and female employees in the workforce.
Corporate Governance at MFIL:
As a strong believer of sustainable growth, principles of good corporate governance form the core values of MFIL. In order to achieve transparent and sound corporate governance, we have adopted international best practices to help us sustain in this globalized competitive free market economy. Corporate Governance policy of MFIL recognizes the importance of the transparency to all its constituents; including employees, customers, investors and the regulatory authorities demonstrating that the shareholders are the ultimate beneficiaries of the Company’s economic activities. MFIL’s corporate governance philosophy encompasses not only regulatory and legal requirements, including the BSEC Regulations and the Bangladesh Bank Guidelines in respect of corporate governance but also other practices aimed at a high level of business ethics, effective supervision and enhancement of value for all shareholders.
Environmental awareness proves important for several reasons; it fosters a sense of connection to the natural world, promotes sustainable development and encourages conservation of irreplaceable natural resources and vulnerable plant and animal.
MFIL ensures borrower has the due environmental clearance certificate from the concerned authorities while granting or renewing credit facilities. MFIL has assessed environmental and social issues related to the projects at the time of granting credit facilities which reflects MFIL’s strong commitment in ensuring environmental and social safeguard of the projects, while creating a sense of accountability for the borrowers. As an environment-responsive Institution we will initiate Go Green campaign in our Company. MFIL will conduct various CSR activities in the financial year 2017-2018.
We shall refrain from financing those companies which have questionable activities in terms of environmental and social issues.