“Engagement and collaboration” – these were amongst the first key words echoed by our new Head of Sustainability and CSR, Alvin Peerthy. Garnering more than 10 years of international experience in this field and mastering the ESG principles, Alvin embarked on the AfrAsian journey in June this year. His objective: to continue advancing the Bank’s 2030 Sustainability agenda whilst contributing to promote a stauncher adoption and adherence to good sustainability practices on the local front. How? Let’s hear what Alvin has in mind.
1. According to you, where does Mauritius presently stand in leading in a sustainable manner and what do you believe to be key to seed such a culture in Mauritius?
I strongly believe that Mauritius has the potential to become a model of sustainable development. It is true that, as an island, we face many inherent challenges, such as distance, limited resources or climate change. However, history has shown that we can beat the odds.
An ideal example is the recent deployment of Work From Home practices. Today, technological advancement and digitalisation represent the most powerful tools to facilitate the transition towards a low-carbon and inclusive economy. What would have been interesting to know is the amount of carbon avoided through the reduction in employee commuting or the gain in time in peak-time traffic. Going a step beyond, I’m curious to know to what extent these little steps actually contribute in a significant manner to the overall employee wellness quotient.
The ultimate goal of sustainability is the protection and enhancement of the future livelihood of our children and grandchildren. So, first and foremost, education and awareness of our children is key to seeding a sustainable culture and I can say that the AfrAsia Foundation has done a very good job so far. Secondly, the reduction of our dependency on imports is the secret formula for moving towards a sustainable model. I remain convinced that an enabling legislative framework, strong collaboration between the public and private sectors and the development of sustainable financing solutions will definitely bring about the change we want.
2. What do you have in mind with regards to actioning on AfrAsia’s sustainability agenda?
Climate change and the execution of the Sustainable Development Goals have shifted from being a global trend to a global priority. I share the same passion as that of the Bank in being an actor of change and a solution provider for all our stakeholders. What if we can simultaneously help fulfil our clients’ financial aspirations and be sustainable? That’s our goal… and one of our main priorities over the coming years is to craft more sustainable financing instruments for our clients and advocating green investments through structured products such as the Blackrock ESG Multi-Asset Fund with 8% VT. This fund has achieved a 5-star rating from the internationally-acclaimed Morningstar rating model and an A rating from MSCI ESG Fund Rating and so far, we have already secured investments of over USD 21.6m from our clients…clearly, this portrays the growing interest in adopting more sustainable financial tools.
As a professional, I have witnessed how impactful the AfrAsia Bank Sustainability Summit has been in creating awareness around the Sustainable Development Goals. Rallying stakeholders towards these common goals will continue to be an integral part of our sustainability agenda.
On the other hand, we should not forget that we need to action on the now to reap the benefits in the future. And, that’s why, it’s equally important to extend our help and support today to those children who need us because they are the ones who will take our legacy forward tomorrow. The AfrAsia School is doing just that by working towards making education, beyond purely academic aspects, accessible to vulnerable children. We have a number of projects underway and I enthusiastically look forward to implementing my own ideas of how we can further build up on the laudable groundwork of my predecessor.
3. Any tips to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle?
Sustainability requires a little rethink of HOW we do things. Consequently, being innovative and agile in what you do is essential, yet so easy! Adopting a sustainable lifestyle is just about implementing practical solutions, which for me, is as simple as “doing a little more with a little less material, energy and waste” every day.
Overall, all our small actions translate into a big progress for the country by bringing about the reduction of plastic usage, waste recycling, bulk buying, adoption of hybrid or electric mobility, implementation of renewable energy or providing jobs and assistance to vulnerable people.
Do you want to know more about the Blackrock ESG Multi-Asset Fund with 8% VT? Contact our Structuring Desk at G-Structuring@afrasiabank.com for more information.