• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Stakeholders advocate SME inclusion in Nigeria’s sustainability reporting push

Stakeholders advocate SME inclusion in Nigeria’s sustainability reporting push

Impact investors have emphasised the importance of engaging a broader audience, particularly SMEs, to ensure the successful and impactful implementation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) standards in Nigeria.

The stakeholders made the assertion at the Impact Transparency workshop, organised by the Impact Investors Foundation (IIF) on Sunday in Lagos.

The workshop was done in collaboration with the Global Steering Group for impact investment, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, with the support of International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

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The ISSB standards in Nigeria are aimed at achieving a comprehensive approach to sustainability reporting, leading to increased transparency, improved environmental and social outcomes, enhanced competitiveness, and potential regulatory compliance.

The stakeholders noted that many SMEs and big companies currently did not understand or participate in sustainability reporting.

According to the stakeholders, without SME involvement, the impact of adopting the standards may be limited.

The Head, Directorate of Public Sector, Iheanyi Anyahara, said there was need for SMEs to understand the importance of sustainability reporting and its potential impact on their businesses.

“We are engaging in what I will call narrative change; not only the SMEs but even the big companies have not seen why they should join. So the advocacy we are doing is to tell the stories.

“For instance, we have been informed that our cocoa, as of December ,will no longer be sold outside Nigeria. Is it not SMEs that are involved in this process? if they don’t realise that their business is coming to an end, they will not see the need. And that’s why we have identified about five big companies and we are talking to them.

The Board Member ISSB, Ndidi Edoziem, emphasised the multi-stakeholder approach and extensive benefits of adopting the ISSB standards in Nigeria.

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This, she said, had gone beyond mere compliance and aimed to integrate sustainability into core business practices for the overall well-being of the country.

“So, right from the beginning, the policy makers, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment were very engaged. Also we are making sure they gave the necessary backing to the financial reporting council of Nigeria to amend legislatively what was required from the FRC”.