Implementing Sustainability Practice for Shared Value- A GRI/NSE Sustainability Reporting Implementation Workshop

In today’s volatile, complex, and uncertain world, we face global challenges like poverty, hunger, #gender-inequality, #resource-scarcity, #climate-change, #competitiveness, amongst others, that threaten our existence. Hence, there is the need to urgently address these challenges if we are to enjoy a peaceful and prosperous world. Organisations have existed for the sole purpose of making profits and in the process leave a negative impact on our environmental and the society. Organisations   therefore, have a major role to play in redressing these impacts, by adopting #sustainability as a business strategy to create social, environmental and economic values.

It is in this light that the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) organised a half-day workshop on sustainability reporting implementation on Tuesday, 19 March, 2019. Prior to the workshop, the NSE, GRI, Ernst & Young (EY) and other stakeholders developed the NSE Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines (NSE-SDGs) to encourage and guide good corporate governance and transparency among companies or listed issuers on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The workshop focused on implementing sustainable practice in organisations and the launch of the NSE Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines (NSE-SDGs). It also championed the dialogue on how to implement #sustainabilityreporting, discuss and disclose key metrics in the Guidelines and enhance corporate #transparency.

The overarching goal of the workshop was to further engender collective action by companies operating in Nigeria to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

The launch of the NSE-SDGs gave participants insights into how it was developed, including its consideration for issuers who might be at varying levels of understanding the requirements for the disclosure of sustainability information. It also provides the value proposition for sustainability, a step-by-step approach on integrating sustainability in organisations and detailed indicators that should be covered when providing annual disclosures to The Exchange.

Prominent speakers at the event included Bekeme Masade-Olowola, GRI Board Member and Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action, who spoke on Beyond Reporting- The Imperative of Good Sustainable Practice; Olumide Orojimi, Head, Corporate Communications, NSE and Douglas Kativu, Head of GRI Focal Point South Africa.

Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action/GRI Board Member

Bekeme, while delivering the keynote address stressed the need for organisations to key into the limitless opportunities and ensure business sustainability by having a mind-shift from creating only economic value to a more strategic focus on creating positive economic, social and environmental impacts. She noted that merging sustainability- or corporate social responsibility strategy to business strategy is vital for any organisation looking to overcome issues like resource scarcity, risk management, competitiveness, transparency and accountability amongst others, and outlive its founders.

The Panel Session- Creating, Sharing and Communicating Value

The event also featured a panel session with seasoned sustainability specialists as panelists. Amongst other things, panelists at the session opined that sustainability should go beyond compliance to the desire to impact people, planet and create prosperity. That organisations need to understand the ‘why’ of sustainability and embrace the practice as a core business strategy and that businesses should be motivated by a higher purpose, which would drive innovation and rapid development.

L-R: Debo Adeniyi, Executive Director & Global Sustainability Leader, Centre for Global Solutions & Sustainable Development; Emilia Asim, Practice Director, AML; Temitope Oguntokun, Country Lead, Sustainability & Stakeholder Management, International Breweries Plc (AbinBev); Dr. Ken Egbas, Founder/CEO, TruContact CSR Nigeria; Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head, Sustainability, Access Bank Plc; Mfon Essien, Environmental Management & Sustainability Professional, PwC

On sharing and communicating value, panelists at the session posit that ‘since investors are now aware and don’t want to invest in businesses that will not add value or last in the long run, sharing and communicating values can be quick wins. What is important is to have the tone and right commitment set from the top, starting from the board. Sustainability should be owned, and each arm of the business should be responsible for it. Organisations should thus enhance internal processes to manage transparency and accountability and develop internal and external communications strategy to provide relevant information to stakeholders and the public through quality and accurate sustainability reporting.

Douglas Kativu, Director, GRI Africa

The workshop ended with a call from Head of GRI Focal Point South Africa, Mr Douglas Kativu on businesses to leverage on the knowledge gained and networking opportunities created by the workshop to integrate sustainability reporting and practice into their business fibre. He also  emphasised the need for strategic collaboration between NSE, GRI and the growing sustainability community in Nigeria.



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