Change the Story Initiative by NCBA: Growing a Greener Future for Kenya

Kenya, like much of East Africa, is on the front lines of climate change. A warming planet is bringing a multitude of challenges, and the recent floods in Nairobi and other parts of the country are a stark reminder of the extreme weather the region is facing.

The floodwaters may have receded, but the effects are far from over. Homes and infrastructure were damaged, displacing many and causing widespread disruption. The long-term impact could be even more significant, potentially affecting Kenya’s agricultural output for the year.

This is just one example of how climate change is impacting Kenya. Erratic rainfall patterns are becoming the norm, with more frequent and severe droughts alongside unpredictable heavy rainfall events like these floods. This unpredictability makes life difficult for farmers, who rely on consistent weather patterns for their crops.

The effects of these changes are far-reaching. That is why today I want to take a closer look at one initiative that I think was started at the right time and is already achieving unbelievable results. Change the Story Initiative by NCBA is aimed at tackling deforestation and promoting environmental sustainability in Kenya and the wider East Africa region. 

Launched in 2023, the initiative is a multi-pronged approach with a clear goal: to plant 10 million trees by 2030. This initiative underscores NCBA commitment to environmental conservation, recognizing its crucial role in the economy and the livelihood of Kenyans.

Change the Story

Here we are going to  explore the initiative’s core pillars, its achievements to date, and its long-term vision for Kenya’s environmental future.

Five Pillars for Sustainability:

Change the Story rests on five key pillars, each with its own set of commitments:

  1. Minimize Direct Climate Impact & Amplify Tree Planting: 

This pillar focuses on reducing NCBA’s environmental footprint and boosting tree cover. They aim to eliminate single-use plastic and recycle all waste by 2030, alongside their ambitious tree planting target.

  1. Ignite Customer Transition to Low Carbon:

 The aim of this is for NCBA to support its customers in adopting eco-friendly practices. They offer green financing solutions like electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the region  and sustainable project funding. On financing the path is clear, they will  mobilize & steer KES 30 Billion of Green & Sustainable financing to accelerate the transition. On top of that they are also  planning to develop a “Change the Story” knowledge platform to inspire and create public awareness towards the change.

  1. Mitigate Climate Risks: 

Recognizing the long-term threat of climate change, NCBA is conducting a carbon audit and setting aggressive emission reduction targets. The target is to reduce the direct emissions by over 50%) by 2030. They aim to align with the Paris Agreement and integrate climate risk assessments into their financial activities.

  1. Enhance Community Engagement:

 NCBA fosters a culture of environmental responsibility within its staff. Through the “I Change the story” program, they plan to train and ignite over 3000+ staff to make a difference.  To properly engage with the communities they operate within, they will deploy KES 100M annually to support different communities. That will also enable them to champion inclusive communities through providing training programs, scholarships, and financial resources for local initiatives.

  1. Optimize Corporate Governance: 

Promoting diversity and inclusion is a core value at NCBA. They strive to direct a significant portion of their procurement spending, at least 30% towards women and youth-owned businesses, while upholding gender equality within their own operations. In order to build the capacity for the women and youth they will provide targeted mentorship and skills building for women and youth

Achievements and Impact so far:

Change the Story initiative is rewriting the narrative on environmental responsibility. It has made significant strides since its launch:

7 Million Trees planted: 

Change the Story has surpassed a major milestone, planting over 7 million trees in collaboration with its stakeholders! This impressive achievement represents more than two-third of their  2030 target. Every tree planted helps combat climate change, improves air quality, and provides valuable habitat.

NCBA is taking a stand against waste. They’ve recycled over 34% of their waste within their HQ and their branches. They have reduced plastic use in corporate gifting by 76.3%. This commitment to responsible practices sends a powerful message and inspires others to do the same.

Green Financing: 

NCBA isn’t just preaching, they’re putting their money where their mouth is. They’ve established a KES 2 billion EV fund, a KES 500 million solar financing option, and a whopping KES 30 billion sustainable financing commitment. These initiatives make it easier for individuals and businesses to invest in eco-friendly solutions like electric vehicles and solar power. On the EV charging stations, they have built four so far, three in Nairobi and one in Kigali. 

Community Engagement: 

Change the Story recognizes that true change starts with education and empowerment. NCBA has provided over 100 scholarships and developed valuable training programs on their NCBA Academy platform. By investing in people, they’re equipping future generations with the knowledge and skills needed to build a more sustainable world

Mitigating Climate Risks for Long-Term Stability: 

NCBA has conducted an audit to understand their greenhouse gas emissions (Scope I & II) and is putting processes in place for ongoing monitoring. Through capacity building, training, and scenario modeling, NCBA is proactively addressing climate-related risks to ensure long-term business performance.

Optimizing Corporate Governance

They have committed to a balanced workforce, with a female to male ratio of 51:49 among general employees. Additionally, 8.9% of general services procurement spending goes towards supporting women and youth-owned businesses.

They have also  provided mentorship opportunities to over 3,000 women and young people, helping them reach their full potential.

Lasting Change for Kenya’s Environment:

NCBA’s Change the Story initiative is more than just planting trees – it’s about creating a lasting shift towards environmental responsibility. By empowering communities, supporting green businesses, and reducing their own environmental footprint, NCBA is paving the way for a more sustainable future for Kenya.

The initiative aligns with national goals to increase forest cover and creates a positive ripple effect throughout the Kenyan economy. With continued efforts and community engagement, Change the Story has the potential to be a game-changer in Kenya’s environmental landscape.

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