Yarub Al-Bahrani, managing director, BAT West and Central Africa alongside other private sector players have advocated for sustainable and responsible practices in the manufacturing sector.
Yarub pushed for this at the maiden edition of the Private Sector ESG Forum hosted by British American Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria in partnership with other private sector players. He said the vision behind the forum was to create a platform that connects industry players, bridges knowledge gaps, and promotes the adoption of sustainable business practices for inclusive growth and shared prosperity.
Other partners are the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Nigerian Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC), Stanbic IBTC, Enactus Nigeria, Sterling One Foundation, International Breweries, Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) and Blue Echo Foundation aimed at promoting sustainable future.
Yarub said the forum was important because the private sector was a formidable force in shaping economies and societies.
He mentioned that BAT has made a bold commitment to create ‘A Better Tomorrow’ by reducing the health impact of its business and delivering sustainable value for its stakeholders – the society, the people, and its consumers and shareholders.
“Our ambition to create A Better Tomorrow transcends mere rhetoric; it encapsulates our keen belief that we have a role, an obligation to be stewards of change. This ambition has driven a profound shift in our corporate ethos, ensuring sustainability is not a random pursuit but is front and centre of everything we do and integral to every facet of our operations, it is this bold purpose that has given rise to the Private Sector ESG Forum”, he added.
Pieter Scholtz, KPMG partner, and Africa ESG lead, in his keynote address, highlighted the need for organisations to incorporate financial reporting and other ESG strategies into their operations.
It has been proven that sustainability-linked products grow six times faster than others while companies that employ net zero emissions are seen to reduce their operating expenses. Also, lots of companies are now starting to gain productivity via ESG incorporation so the private sector has to take the aggressive lead seeing that there is no logic in not embracing ESG.”
Announcing the private sector pledge at the forum, Odiri Erewa-Meggison, director, external affairs, BAT West and Central Africa, said “The private sector has resolved to set up a working group as a measure to ensure that manufacturing companies operating in Nigeria embrace sustainable practices and implement actions to safeguard the environment and support their operating communities. The working group will be inaugurated in the first Quarter of 2024.”
She added “BAT is proud to be part of this transformative journey, working hand in glove with our partners, co-organisers, and collaborators. We remain dedicated to being a catalyst for change and to continually advancing the cause of sustainability in the private sector.”