Exclusive interview with Thabang Mahlangu, Sector Lead: Automotive, Transport, Freight and Logistics, Nedbank CIB, a returning gold sponsor at the upcoming Africa’s Green Economy Summit from 21–23 February 2024.
Please tell us more about your background and your role at Nedbank CIB.
My background is primarily in the automotive OEM space, where I played a number of roles from finance and accounting, strategy and business development, as well as running a business unit. My role at Nedbank is looking after the full automotive value chain from an end-to-end perspective, i.e. supporting Nedbank’s efforts in the mobility value chain, which includes the components manufacturers, OEMs, logistics companies, transporters, as well as airlines. Additionally, we look after equipment businesses, industrial equipment businesses.
What role does Nedbank CIB play in the green economy investment space?
Nedbank has a long and proud history of being the first bank to make being green and sustainable part of its mantra long before it became necessary, and some would say before it became trendy, in the corporate environment. From a Nedbank CIB perspective, this is demonstrated by the deal we did with Imperial Logistics where we arranged a one billion rand sustainability-linked revolving credit facility, which was a milestone. It underscored Nedbank CIB’s approach to supporting our clients on the path to sustainability, leveraging our teams’ capabilities and intellectual capital from our leverage and diversified finance teams, our sustainable finance solutions teams, as well as from a holistic client coverage perspective where we create tailored, forward-thinking, financial solutions that align with our clients sustainability goals. This deal reinforces our commitment to innovation and being responsible financiers, as well as strengthening our position as a leader in sustainable finance solutions.
Furthermore, we embarked on a path to becoming the first bank in South Africa to launch a green bond. This wasn’t just an investment product, but a declaration to our commitment to fund projects that positively impact the environment. At the heart of our core projects is to harness clean and renewable energies from sources like solar and wind. For this, we earmarked close to 50 billion, signalling our commitment to cleaner energy and a healthier planet.
Finally, our journey towards sustainability parallels the automotive industry’s evolution towards electric vehicles. It’s about pioneering change, driving innovation, and ensuring that the road ahead leads to a sustainable destination for South Africa.
From your experience at Nedbank, how are you seeing clients integrate specific sustainability practices in their operations, and how does this align with Nedbank’s corporate responsibility goals?
Allow me to share our perspective on investing in green projects, particularly in the automotive sector. Imagine a world where cars and buses run on clean energy. That’s the future we’re envisioning at Nedbank. From an emerging markets perspective, of course, ICE engines as well as new energy vehicles, will coexist. Our focus isn’t just on creating a greener world, but it’s about integrating social responsibility into our investment as well as our clients’ business. In the automotive sector, we’re seeing the shift to vehicles powered by new and greener energy sources, whether it’s full electric vehicles or hybrid vehicles. This isn’t just about cleaner cars. It’s a revolution in how we think about transport. We’re moving options that benefit our environment and society.
But how do we make this happen? At Nedbank CIB, we’re not just about providing funding. We’re innovating in how we finance these changes. We’re bringing together different sources of funding, uniting them with a common goal to support projects that aren’t just good for the environment, but good for our people, good for our clients, and good for where South Africa’s energy transition is going in terms of the automotive and logistics sector. This approach is about more than just money. It is about making a real impact and difference.
Nedbank CIB was a sponsor at the inaugural Africa’s Green Economy Summit in February in Cape Town. How important is such an event on the continent in your view?
Nedbank’s support for Africa’s Green Economy Summit reflects our belief in the power of connecting different sectors and embracing emerging technologies. This effort is about more than just business. It’s about harnessing the collective potential of different sectors across the bank, such as our mining, automotive, transport, logistics, as well as infrastructure teams for sustainable growth.
By being involved in AGES, Nedbank aims to stay ahead of industry changes and trends, as well as finding unique opportunities to adapt to the latest trends. Our participation is a strategic move to leverage the interconnectedness of the business environment, not only for Nedbank, but for our clients as well.
What will Nedbank CIB’s message be at the event’s next edition in February 2024?
Nedbank CIB will have three key messages for the 2024 Africa’s Green Economy Summit. The first one is that Nedbank CIB supports the advancement of the electric vehicle industry in South Africa. We are aligned with the country’s vision to integrate OEMs for EVs by 2035 working closely with our clients. Additionally, we align our efforts with the DTIC as well as industry bodies like NAAMSA (the Automotive Business Council), which reinforces our commitment to a sustainable automotive future.
The second message that we as Nedbank CIB would like to bring forward is our dedication to combining technology and collaboration to connect industries such as the automotive, mining and energy sectors. Our goal is to continue to have creative innovation opportunities that drive sustainability across these sectors.
Our last message is really that Nedbank CIB is at the forefront of sustainable finance in South Africa. Our focus extends to different sectors and projects in the energy, infrastructure, automotive, and logistics sector, which is aimed at reducing carbon emissions and improving energy security for the country. This commitment aligns with our vision of transforming the financial sector for a greener future for our clients, as well as for ourselves as Nedbank.