Harare, 07 March 2023 – Leading financial services institution, Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe Limited, is championing the implementation of International Sustainability Reporting Standards in Zimbabwe as part of its commitment to drive Zimbabwe’s growth in a meaningful and sustainable manner.
Stanbic Bank’s commitment to drive Zimbabwe’s and Africa’s growth has seen it spearhead the discussions relating to the early adoption of the International Sustainability Reporting Standards which are due to be implemented beginning January next year.
The Standard Bank Group subsidiary recently hosted a breakfast meeting for various stakeholders to engage on the early adoption of these reporting standards and the support required going forward. Stanbic Bank had the privilege of hosting Dr Erkki Liikanen the chair of Trustees of IFRS Foundation, which is preparing the global sustainability standards.
This commitment by Stanbic Bank comes a few months after the Government of Zimbabwe endorsed the early adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Sustainability Disclosure Standards to be issued by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). A proclamation was issued by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in November 2022, endorsing a resolution of the Public Auditors and Accountants Board of Zimbabwe (PAAB) for the Sustainability Standards to be adopted earlier than the prescribed effective date of 1 January 2024.
The endorsement of early adoption by Government, in November last year, is in line with PAAB’s statutory mandate to prescribe auditing standards, accounting standards and accounting reporting standards for use in Zimbabwe, including the application of internationally recognized, auditing and accounting reporting standards.
The Government of Zimbabwe together with Nigeria and Egypt will be the only African countries to adopt the intended implementation of the Sustainability Disclosure Standards earlier than the prescribed effective date of January 2024.
Early adoption has the potential to attract more investment and boost private sector development in Zimbabwe in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1) macroeconomic framework premised on programmes aimed at achieving economic growth through the creation of a thriving private sector led open and competitive economy.
Stanbic Bank Chief Executive, Solomon Nyanhongo said the Standard Bank Group subsidiary was privileged to convene a breakfast meeting to discuss the details of early adoption of the Sustainability Disclosure Standards such as the progress made, challenges ahead and necessary support for Zimbabwe to achieve intended objectives.
Participants at the breakfast meeting were drawn from members of the Accounting and Auditors Profession, bankers, captains of industry and commerce and entrepreneurs among many others.
Nyanhongo said Sustainability Disclosure Standards were of paramount importance to Stanbic Bank given that this adoption will be a key enabler for both the Government and PAAB’s quest to meet the needs of capital markets and other stakeholders, through enhanced transparency, accountability, efficiency and comparability in business.
“The early adoption of the International Sustainability Disclosure Standards by Zimbabwe is an exciting development, as it puts us on the map as a nation committed to adhering to global business standards. This early adoption will require all key stakeholders to be involved and present in all discussions relating thereto, to make sure that we do it right,” said Nyanhongo.
Nyanhongo said Stanbic Bank is galvanized by its statement of intent, “Zimbabwe is our home, we drive her growth”, to embrace policies such as the early adoption of International Sustainability Standards to contribute to national and regional development. To that end Stanbic Bank’s strategy includes a key pillar and objective which is the pursuit of Environmental, Social and Governance standards in terms of principles of sustainability.
As a market leader, Stanbic Bank for the past six years hast been providing a Report to Society which is issued within its Annual Financial Report and is looking forward to move to greater heights through Financial Inclusion initiatives, corporate social responsibility, sustainable and growth-based lending into the development of Zimbabwean infrastructure.
As part of an initiative that has been driven by principal regulator, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Stanbic Bank is currently participating in the Sustainability Standards and Certification Initiative (SSCI) by the European Organisation for Sustainable Development.
The keynote speaker at the meeting, former Governor of the Bank of Finland and current IFRS Chairman of the Trustees, Dr Erkki Liikanen, commended Zimbabwe for being an early adopter of the sustainability standards.
Likkanen said the need for global sustainability standards could not be over emphasised hence the adoption of these standards by all key global stakeholders with endorsement cemented at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021.
To date the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), Climate Disclosure Standards Board and Value Reporting Foundation (Integrated Reporting Framework and SASB Standards) have been established for the smooth implementation of sustainability standards. The implementation of sustainability standards will see companies publish their sustainability statements at the same time as they publish their financial statements.