BusinessDay

UN Decade of Action: A new professional body for sustainability emerges in Nigeria

The Association of Sustainability Professionals of Nigeria (ASPN) will host an industry conversation to discuss the urgent need for attaining an inclusive economy in Nigeria and the roles that Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals can play in this regard.

The dialogue, which comes up on Thursday, November 26, 2020, doubles as the formal launch of the professional group and will explore the need for synergy among sustainability experts, subject-matter specialists, and advocates to support the efforts of government and drive private sector leadership for social inclusion as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) in line with the beginning of the Decade of Action.

After many years of mainstreaming CSR and Sustainability through various initiatives, milestones, and adoption of all major international conventions on Business Sustainability, Climate Change, Environmental Standards, and other development agendas, Nigeria formally joins the league of nations with professional associations specially set up for the practice of CSR and Sustainability.

ASPN is a non-profit organisation founded in August 2019 to redefine and improve the practice and profession of Sustainability and CSR in Nigeria. Through various strategic partnerships, policy formulation & advocacy activities, ASPN seeks to set standards for professional ethics, best practices and long-term systems thinking amongst individuals and businesses to foster the sustainable development of Nigeria.

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To formally unveil the ASPN, the event will feature discussions on the theme ‘Professionalising Sustainability for an Inclusive Development’.

Wayne Visser, professor and founder, CSR International, will participate as the guest speaker whilst other speakers will include Chris Ogbeche, deputy dean, Lagos Business School; Solape Hammond, special adviser to the Lagos State governor on SDGs, and Aisha Mamood, sustainability director, Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also, in attendance at the event will be government and regulatory agencies, sustainability experts, corporate organisations, industry experts, non-governmental organisations and the public.

Nigeria, like most present-day societies, has adopted various measures to minimise pollution and promote environmental, social, and economic sustainability as a fundamental component of socio-economic development. For example, the last decades of the century witnessed increased concerns, with the private sector at the forefront, about climate change.

Therefore, the need to develop, implement and drive cohesive policy that would go a long way in meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future to meet its needs is paramount. Consequently, a need to have a body that drives cohesive policies seeking sustainable development and growth in the country in a more coordinated manner is essential.

“We are excited about the formal launch of the ASPN because we have existed for so many years as a community of passionate and committed advocates. We look forward to strengthening our alliances and contributing significantly to Nigeria’s active role in the Decade of Action,” said Kenneth Amaeshi, professor and president, ASPN.

ASPN is led by passionate and renowned professionals with many years of experience committed to practicing advocating teaching and mentoring on sustainability-related issues within Nigeria and internationally. These professionals are Ini Abimbola, founder, ThistlePraxis Consulting; Ismail Omamegbe, head, media & external relations, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, FirstBank; Bekeme-Masade Olowola, chief executive, CSR-in-Action; Ken Egbas, CEO, TruContact CSR Nigeria; Eunice Sampson, head, Sustainability, Dangote Cement Plc; Ibrahim Salau, managing director, Environmental Accord; Bolanle Victor-Laniyan, head, Sustainability, Access Bank, and Kenneth Amaeshi, who serves as Chair in Business and Sustainable Development and Director of the Sustainable Business Initiative at the University of Edinburgh.

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