By Bukar Bolori
The United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria has promised to promote greater cross-functional collaboration among business corporations to tackle issues that surround sustainability in the post-COVID-19 era.
UN Global Compact Network Nigeria is a business-led sustainability initiative of the United Nations Global Compact that was inaugurated in Nigeria in 2007 during the Nigerian Economic Summit.
Chair of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria, Mrs Soromidayo George, said this at one-day Open House and on boarding session of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria at the weekend in Abuja.
George was represented at the event by the Board Member, UN Global Compact Network Nigeria and Company Secretary of MTN Nigeria Plc. Mrs Uto Ukpanah.
According to her, the event themed: “Business Case for Sustainability” sought to encourage fights against global uncertainty, economic recession, climate change and social development issues affecting the future of humanity.
She said, “The theme resonates with how we can promote greater cross-functional collaboration in addressing some of our country’s greatest sustainability challenges.
“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 mobilize 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 supports companies and stakeholders in understanding what responsible business means within a global and local context and provides guidance to translate sustainability commitments into action.
“Corporate sustainability, as we know it today, encompasses “a company’s long-term value in financial, environmental, social, and ethical or governance terms.”
The event was put together by the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria through collaboration with its office in New York.
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.
She commended SDGs, Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, 2022 Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 27) in Africa and African Union’s Agenda-2063 to have provided economic opportunities in Africa, particularly Nigeria.
The organisation Chair urged Nigerian businesses to take human rights, labour, environment, anti-corruption into consideration and share critical ideas, to close the inequality gap, in terms of business sustainability in the country.
Also speaking, Naomi Nwokolo, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network Nigeria and Chair, African Regional Network Council- United Nations Global Compact, stressed the need for commitment to business principles to achieve targets.
She urged participants to remain committed to the implementation of the Ten Principles that were categorized into human rights, labour, the environment, and anti-corruption.
“This is in order to achieve sustainability; corporate companies must adjust their business mentality from aiming to be the best in the world to striving to be the best for the world, ” she said.
During a discussion at the event, panelists underscored the need for a strategic approach to sustain businesses in Nigeria.
In a separate interview, Adebisi Adeoti, Country Manager of Dow Chemicals, a participant, said that his organisation partnered with local universities in Nigeria to produce sustainable products.He said that the partnership sought to take waste out of the environment.
“You will never see a great sense of ownership. You know more than this, private sectors are taking responsibility for this and what we are taking out is not taken out for the sake of just doing it.
“We care about the environment and we believe those we have taken out, we can put them back in the system and recycle them, instead of generating new waste every now and then,” he said.
The highpoint of the event was discussion centred on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption by panelists.
The UN-Global Compact inaugurated its two-year UN programme to promote United Nations Global Compact’s Ten Principles and SDGs in Nigeria and contribute to the implementation of the United Nations’ broader development goals.