In a private sector ESG forum in Lagos themed “Is the Private Sector Accountable: A case for sustainable practices?”, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and private sector stakeholders underscored the imperative of collaboration to integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into manufacturing operations, thereby driving the circular economy.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Dr Oreoluwa Finnih-Awokoya, Governor Sanwo-Olu emphasised the need to leverage the state’s status as the commercial hub of Nigeria and Africa to attract global businesses. He highlighted the current global challenges, including climate change, as driving the necessity for the private sector to play a pivotal role in promoting sustainability.
Sanwo-Olu urged the private sector to focus on renewable energy, waste management, transportation, and other areas, emphasising that the state is committed to collaborating with the private sector to achieve ESG integration. He stressed the importance of holding the private sector accountable to ESG concepts while implementing innovative policies to attract investments.
The Managing Director of British American Tobacco Nigeria (BAT), Mr Yarub Al-Bahrani, expressed the company’s commitment to creating a better tomorrow by reducing the health impact of its business and generating sustainable value for stakeholders. Al-Bahrani highlighted the forum’s role in advancing sustainability initiatives and the need for accountability in the private sector to ensure ethical and sustainable practices.
Pieter Scholtz, KPMG Partner and Africa ESG Lead, emphasised the urgency for organisations to incorporate financial reporting and ESG strategies into their operations. He noted the impending legislative stage, urging the private sector to proactively embrace ESG strategies, citing the proven growth of sustainability-linked products and increased productivity through ESG incorporation.
Odiri Erewa-Meggison, Director of External Affairs at BAT, stressed the importance of collaboration in driving ESG integration, calling for joint programmes to foster innovation. She shared BAT’s plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and maintain a zero-accident and high-safety portfolio across its factories.
Musa Usman, Assistant Director of Environment Quality and Technology at NASREA, called for regulations to encourage manufacturers in pollution control, low carbon emissions, circular economy practices, and resource and energy efficiency. Usman advocated for emission targets and carbon pricing to incentivise companies to adopt sustainable practices without hindering their operations.