SDGs 2030: UN Global Compact Network Engages Corporate Leaders On Business Sustainability

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No less than Seventy Heads and Chief Executive Officers of Corporate Organizations in Nigeria Friday, June 17, joined other leaders of government establishments and the United Nations Global Compact to exchange ideas and offer recommendations on the role the private sector plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.)

The occasion which was co-hosted by the Board of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria with the colleagues from the United Nations Global Compact Office in New York also drew the presence of member and non-member companies, prospects as well as sustainability influencers and champions across businesses of all sizes and sectors.

In a goodwill address delivered on behalf of the Chair of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria, Soromidayo George, a Board member for the UN Agency, Uto Ukpanah spoke exhaustively on the Open House themed ‘The Business Case for Sustainability’ as a call to action for the promotion of a greater cross-functional collaboration in addressing some of Nigeria’s greatest sustainability challenges.

“This Open House event seeks to show how responsible corporate action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can help create the world we want by driving new market opportunities at the local and global levels.

“As you may be aware, our Local Network works tirelessly to stimulate the creation of local connections and catalyzes companies and stakeholders to adopt our ten principles and set ambitious targets to achieve Agenda 2030 in Nigeria.

“We strive to mobilise a local movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders with the aim of improving the lives of future generations. Guided by the Ten Universal Principles and the 17 SDGs, the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria support companies and stakeholders in understanding what responsible business means within a global and local context and provide guidance to translate sustainability commitments into action,” she asserted.

With the critical and uncertain nature of this time in human history and with the unpleasant wave of economic recession, climate change, and social development issues affecting the collective future of humanity, Ukpanah who is also the Company Secretary, MTN Nigeria plc believes that the purposeful unity of businesses for stable and progressive world order is more inevitable and compelling now than ever before.

“Corporate Sustainability, as we know it today, encompasses a company’s long-term value in financial, environmental, social, and ethical (or governance) terms. The Ten Principles have been adopted by over 10,000 companies that are signatories to the Global Compact, in which a lot of the multinationals here present have their parent companies as members. And it is a call to action for us to do more.”

According to her, while the Business Case for Sustainability embodies opportunities for businesses to thrive with minimal efforts, the SDGs, the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), and other regional sustainable development initiatives within regional economic blocs, Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 27) in Africa in 2022, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, have presented enormous opportunities, particularly in Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest economic centres.

“Many of these goals, however, will not be met until the rate of growth is quickened, including slowing global warming, bridging the gender income gap, addressing corruption, and lowering the percentage of working poor people. And clearly business has a role to play.

“The United Nations Global Compact is a clarion call for inclusive multilateralism, which requires raised ambition and is an avenue for every business leader to support UN values anchored in a principles-based approach that places human rights at the heart of their business strategy.”

The UN Global Compact Network Nigeria singled out its members for commendations relating to adherence to the Ten Principles and the SDGs, while also assuring of its unwavering commitment to ‘provide our participants with the connections and expertise required to drive sustainability at the national level.’

“Achieving the SDGs by 2030 requires a transformation of businesses into principles-based and sustainable models, which will create significant investment opportunities for the private sector and institutional investors.

“It is crucial that the private sector is equipped with the needed tools and resources  to help tackle these global issues, and this is where the unique role of the United Nations Global Compact comes into play.”

She spoke superlatively about the remarkable impacts the UN Global Compact Nigeria has made from the off in the shores of Nigeria with relation to Corporate Sustainability in the country.

“I would like to state that our dedication to corporate sustainability in Nigeria has attained great strides since the launch of our Local Network in 2007, This goes beyond  corporate philanthropy to include a company’s long-term value in financial, environmental, social and ethical (or governance) terms.”

“While it is imperative to highlight that we consider all 17 Global Goals to be integrally linked, we believe that businesses should be guided by the Global Compact’s Ten Principles in order to minimize the danger of negative consequences and maximize the possibility for positive outcomes. Businesses must take Human Rights, Labour, Environment, and Anti-corruption into consideration at every step of the way,” Uto Ukpanah advised.

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network Nigeria and Chair, African Regional Network Council – United Nations Global Compact, Naomi Nwokolo urged the Open House participants to commit to embedding the Ten Principles, which are divided into four categories: Human Rights, Labour, the Environment, and Anti-Corruption.

She also asserted that in order to achieve sustainability, Corporate Companies must move their business thinking from aiming to be the best in the world to striving to be the best for the world.

The attendees at the Occasion were among others: The Chair, Lagos State Civil Service Commission; Country Leader, Dow Chemicals; Group Chief, HSSE & Sustainability, Dangote Group; the Company Secretary/Head of Legal, Ripen Marine Contractors Ltd; Group Head, Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, UAC Nigeria Plc.

 




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