BY Amrit Singh Karki
I have come to appreciate the interconnectedness of various sectors in shaping a sustainable future.
My journey towards sustainability has been a dynamic and transformative one, influenced by my experiences across various sectors and regions. It all began in 2009 when I joined NMB Bank, where I worked in the ATM department and Treasury Back office. While I wasn't directly involved in sustainability initiatives at the bank during those early years, they exposed me to the pivotal role that the financial sector plays in the economy. In 2011, my path led me to Germany, where I pursued a Master's degree in sustainable resource management. This academic pursuit broadened my horizons, allowing me to explore various facets of sustainability, ranging from environmental conservation to social equity. My time within the university environment provided valuable insights into how Germans and Europeans perceive and approach sustainability. I learned about their strong emphasis on renewable energy, the circular economy, the significance of forestry, and the three pillars of sustainability (Environment, Social, and Economic).
Returning to Nepal in 2016, I embarked on a journey into the rural landscapes of far-western Nepal. My involvement in sustainable tourism not only connected me with the heart of Nepal but also unveiled the untapped potential of rural areas. A significant achievement during this phase was the development of the Rara-Khaptad Itinerary, which showcased the pristine beauty of the region. This effort gained international recognition when it was included in the portfolio of DIAMIR, a renowned German tour operator. Furthermore, by establishing connections with tour operators in India and Nepal, I fostered cross-border collaborations that promoted sustainable tourism practices.
From 2018 to 2021, I channelled my expertise into the Sakchyam: Access to Finance project which focused on enhancing access to finance. This experience shed light on the critical role that finance plays in advancing sustainability. I identified gaps in financial services in underserved areas and realised how targeted interventions could empower communities, reach unbanked populations, and drive sustainable development.
In December 2021, my journey took another turn when I joined Nabil Bank. In this role, I immersed myself in sustainable banking, aligning with the bank's Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) priorities, as well as committing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Leveraging my diverse background, I contributed to the integration of sustainability principles into the bank's operations. From encouraging sustainable practices among staff to disclosing GHG emissions, and from publishing sustainability reports to establishing sustainable housing loan schemes, collaborating with cross-functional departments, ideas and joint work with colleagues and departments, we worked on initiatives that promoted responsible lending, environmentally friendly products, and social engagement. This phase of my journey emphasised the influential role that financial institutions play in steering economic activities towards sustainability.
Throughout my journey, I have come to appreciate the interconnectedness of various sectors in shaping a sustainable future. My experiences in banking, academia, tourism, and the development sector have highlighted the need for a holistic approach that addresses environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Sustainability is not confined to a single field; it requires cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovative thinking. As I reflect on my journey, I am grateful for the diverse experiences that have shaped my perspective. From my early days in the banking sector to my current role in sustainable banking, each phase has enriched my understanding of how to drive positive change. My journey, so far, has reinforced the idea that sustainability is not a destination but an ongoing process that demands continuous learning, adaptation, and a steadfast commitment to creating a better world for present and future generations.
Amrit Singh Karki works at Nabil Bank in the field of Sustainable Banking.