BusinessDay

Private sector should combat climate change – Stakeholders

The responsibility of mitigating climate change which has negatively impacted human lives and health and threatens future existence has been assigned to the private sector who invariably contributed to the challenge.

This was the submission of speakers at a one-day Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) stakeholders’ summit on “combating climate change through resource efficiency”, held recently in Lagos.

The speakers also agreed on the need for requisite policy and collaboration between the government and the private sector, involving consumers, educational institutions and the media to address climate change for environmental sustainability.

Climate change ordinarily is associated with a shift in weather patterns and this has threatened clean air, food, safe drinking water and shelter. Experts say human and industrial activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of coal, oil and gas, which produces heat-trapping gases.

Leading discussion at the summit, Newton Jibunoh, who has crossed the Sahara Desert four times, and started championing the cause of a greener world 50 years ago, said “human activities have led to the changing climate; so, the same humans will need to adjust their activities to fix the problem”.

Blaming the industrialised world for the changing climate which has led to floods, drought, heavy rain, heat waves, forest fires, water scarcity, rising sea levels and extinction of plants and animals and migration of people fleeing these dangers, Jibunoh said “if we continue with business as usual, we won’t have a planet to bequeath to the next generation”

Stating that earth is the only planet with life and which has given the world so much, he regretted that the world has given back to the earth little or nothing since “we cut trees and burn bushes without replacing the plants”.

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Jibunoh, who identified poor electricity in Nigeria which has led to alternative sources which are harmful to the environment, said this is why experts have advised for the need to adopt cleaner sources of energy to protect the environment.

Kenneth Amaeshi, a scholar on sustainable business and finance who made his contribution through zoom from the UK, said educational institutions have a big role to play in achieving a sustainable environment, noting that the National Universities Commission (NUC) can incorporate this in school curricula.

Amaeshi cautioned against the silo thinking in addressing climate change and strongly advised for collaboration to ensure sustainability.

Also speaking, Desmond Majekodunmi, Nigerian environmentalist and chairman of Lekki State Urban Forest and Animal Shelter Initiative, said, “what we sow we shall reap”, advising organisations against putting profit above the future of the next generation.

In his speech, the managing director of NBC, Matthieu Seguin, said in the company’s efforts to mitigate climate change, it recently unveiled a roadmap to renewable energy transition in the company’s manufacturing operations.

“This move is coming on the heels of a series of investments by the company towards sustainable manufacturing to achieve our set target of Net Zero emissions by the year 2040.

“This is in addition to our vision for a world without waste where we have committed to recover 100 percent of our primary packaging by recycling by 2030”.

Also speaking, the managing director of Coca Cola Nigeria, Alfred Olajide who underscored the need for collaborative action in fighting climate change, said the issue was a priority for the Coca Cola system.

“Our approach to address climate change has accelerated in recent years and this is in keeping with the scale and urgency that the issue deserves. We believe that continuous progress on our goals in combination with supportive stakeholders will make more meaningful advances in climate change”, Olajide said.

The minister of environment, represented by the DG of National Council on Climate Change, National Climate Change Commission (NCCC), Salisu Dahiru appreciated the efforts made by the Coca Cola system which involves a lot of investment in addressing climate change.

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