Experts outline path to ESG best practices in Nigeria
Sustainability experts have emphasised the need for sustainable adoption of best practices to drive inclusive growth and development in Nigeria.
The experts discussed this at an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Roundtable webinar hosted by the CFA society Nigeria on Thursday, themed ‘unlocking value through ESG Investing’.
Temi Popoola, chief executive officer, Nigerian Exchange Ltd said ESG is about creating a balance, driving prosperity, promoting inclusiveness while implementing value creation activities.
“Driving ESG includes diversity of gender balance, it is important to encourage the role of women leadership in the workforce,” he said.
He added that for companies, driving ESG practices is now the right commercial thing to do, noting that in 2020 alone, $730 billion capital was raised towards driving sustainable activity.
Rukaiya el-Rufai, partner, Sustainability & Climate Change and Public Sector Risk Assurance Services, PwC said every organisation has to critically examine the world today and see the role they can play in changing the narrative of inequality and other issues.
“Companies need to see themselves inwardly in isolation and see how they can increase enterprise value and societal value, to achieve this they have to effectively integrate ESG into their strategy, corporate governance, mode of operation, product and services rendered,” she said.
She added that ESG focuses on sustainability and creating long-term value that can be adequately distributed which calls for the need to expand shareholder capitalism into stakeholder capitalism without losing sight of profitability.
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“When discussing ESG principles, you have to engage internal stakeholders who are guardians of enterprise value and external stakeholders who are custodians of its impact,” she added.
Solape Hammond, special adviser on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and investments to the governor of Lagos State, said from the public sector perspective that challenges are seen as opportunities for growth and improvement which will be driven by private sector collaboration.
She said as the country moves to intensify its adoption of ESG provisions, there is a need to build capacity and resources, incorporate diversity and inclusion ideologies with increased financial support from institutions.
“We also need to look at what we are doing in terms of building talent, pooling resources so we can properly equip ourselves and arrive at the desired destination so we are not left behind by the rest of the world,” she added.
“Nigeria needs to invest in the ESG drive and this is the time to plan in an unified manner, involving all stakeholders, the government, corporate bodies, Micro, Small and Medium scale enterprises (SMEs), women, etc. in order to have an integrated journey which will drive sustainability and tremendous economic opportunities,” Gregory Jobome, executive director, risk management division, Access Bank said.
He added that the ESG ideology provides massive opportunities and champions a course to massive economic revolution, in which Nigeria should actively participate.
Margaret Franklin, president and CEO, CFA Institute, in her remarks said this is a time when investors are seeking a more purposeful approach and recognising the importance of finance and investments in the context of society as a whole, which is a move that will have deep impact across the universe especially in developing markets.
“Today, savvy investors demand ESG analysis as part of the fundamental work for investing and properly constructed ESG products meet a definite investor need, ” she said.
Franklin added that going forward the institute will intensify its efforts to invest in ESG activities by educating investment professionals, integrating ESG into its curriculum, collaborating with regulatory bodies.