AAIB: The First Bank in Egypt to Measure Its Carbon Footprint

By Perihan Abdel Ghaly (Arab African International Bank), Maha Hasebou (Arab African International Bank), Arab African International Bank
03:35 PM, July 11, 2014

Despite the fact that Egypt is not among the top carbon dioxide emitters in the world, the notion of “the earlier … the better” has always been a key driving force for Arab African International Bank (AAIB), which is creating awareness in the banking industry about tackling climate change by measuring its carbon footprint and publishing its first Carbon Footprint Report. From Kyoto to the Rio+20 Summit the interest in global warming and climate change has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. The Kyoto Protocol was introduced in 1997 in Japan and entered into force in 2005. The Protocol’s main goal was to reduce the carbon footprint of some countries compared to the level of emissions they had in 1990.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the focus of the industrial revolution was on production, technological advancement, chemical manufacturing, and the use of coal for energy. Consequently, in the 20th century there were alarming levels of environmental degradation, such as scarcity of resources, water and air pollution, climate change, and rising sea levels.

The negative impacts of human practices, leaving what is known as a “carbon footprint,” has had several consequences on the earth since the industrial revolution. Large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been released into the atmosphere, causing small changes in the average temperature, which can translate into large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather. The links between climate change and sustainable development are strong. Climate change knows no boundaries. Poor and developing countries, particularly the low-income developing countries, will be among those most adversely affected and least able to cope with the anticipated shocks to their social, economic, and natural systems.

AAIB’S Carbon Footprint

In 2013, AAIB conducted its first measurement and assessment of its environmental performance and published its first Carbon Footprint Report within the Egyptian banking sector.

The report covered the duration from2012 to 2013. A carbon footprint serves to identify the environmental performance of a specific corporation’s greenhouse gases emissions. Thus, the report assesses the corporation’s performance impact on climate change.

The report summarized the following:

  • AAIB’s current Energy Consumption;
  • methods for AAIB to save its operational costs;
  • techniques that AAIB needs in order to reduce GHG emissions and indirectly;
  • how to respond to changing consumer expectations.

The report paved the way for AAIB to brainstorm initiatives for reducing energy consumption and create awareness among employees about engagement and making contributions toward reducing energy consumption. The report is a tool to show employees what a difference they can make in the organization’s emissions and the progress they are making toward sustaining the environment. Moreover, saving energy is another way to reduce costs.

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Perihan Abdel Ghaly
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AAIB: An Environmentally Aware Workforce

Reporting is a key step toward benchmarking and measuring the progress in reducing AAIB’s carbon footprint. Communicating the report results internally to the employees is another way to ask them to adopt new behaviors and take steps to save energy and to carpool and commute more often. Aligning the workforce with the initiatives for reducing the bank’s carbon footprint is a central challenge, since the actions taken should be fun and sustained over time, as well as tangible. Creativity is a key in getting everyone’s attention, and believing in the measures makes a big difference. The campaign was designed by the Sustainability Unit as an integrated approach to bring about cultural change through awareness while adopting practices for energy management within the organization.

The campaign aims at the following:

  • raising awareness about CO2 emissions and causes;
  • educating the employees about methods for reducing the carbon footprint;
  • engaging employees as the main stakeholders to “walk the talk.”

Realizing that the concept is new and could be difficult to comprehend, a comic strip was established to create awareness among the employees in a fun yet informative way. The message is “Reduce your carbon footprint” (in Arabic ةينوبركلا كتمصب للق ). This is in addition to other educational videos and links to articles about sharing common individual carbon practices to reduce energy waste and save natural resources. These efforts were created to develop an understanding about environmental sustainability and encourage employees to play a role in reducing the bank’s carbon footprint. 

This communication campaign runs parallel with the annual Earth Day. The Sustainability Unit introduced the campaign Earth Day last year in celebration with all of the bank's workforce to raise awareness about the planet and remind everyone of its significance to humans.

"Despite the fact that Egypt’s contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions is comparatively small, the impact of climate change on Egypt is very strong. This is due to its Nile and Delta rivers. Egypt will suffer the most (after Bangladesh) from the rising sea levels as a results of climate change."
Rio+20 Summit

About the Authors
Abdel Ghaly, Perihan

 Perihan Abdel Ghaly works as a CSR Executive officer for the Arab African International Bank.

Hasebou, Maha
Arab African International Bank

Incorporated in 1964 as the first Arab multinational bank in Egypt, Arab African International Bank was established by a Special Law as a joint venture between the Central Bank of Egypt and Kuwait Investment Authority. Since its inception, AAIB has been known as one of the most distinguished commercial and investment banks in the region.

While maintaining its core competence as a corporate bank, AAIB is making break throughs in retail activities through expanding its innovative product range and geographic presence in the most commercially strategic locations. One of the fastest growing banks in Egypt, AAIB is gaining significant momentum towards assuming a leading position among Egyptian banks.

AAIB's products and services are designed to meet the evolving needs of corporate clients, their employees and selected high net worth individuals.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect CSR Manager's editorial policy.
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