Private Sector ESG Forum: MAN, BAT, NBC, Others Commit to Sustainable Environment, Secure Future

Country Director, Enactus Nigeria, Michael Ajayi (left); Director, External Affairs, British America Tobacco (BAT) West & Central Africa, Odiri Erewa-Meggison; Packaging Recovery Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Idris Adetola and Chief Operating Officer, Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC), Adamu Garba at a media briefing to announce the Private Sector ESG Forum in Lagos. 

By Edu Abade

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Ahead of the Pan-African Private Sector Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Forum, slated for Wednesday, November 8, 2023, stakeholders have expressed their willingness to collaborate in raising awareness and taking concrete action to achieve a sustainable environment and secure future for the African continent and the world.

  They made the commitment at a media briefing in Lagos on the sidelines of the first ESG Forum, which they said, represents the private sector’s medium to increase the momentum for building bridges for a better tomorrow by “empowering the future and sustaining lives.”

 Hosted by the British America Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria, the partners, including the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN),  Enactus Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC, Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC), Cluster V, the Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC), Blue Echo Foundation and One Foundation, among others, restated their commitment to a healthier, safer, greener and sustainable planet.

Speaking, Director, External Affairs, West and Central Africa at BAT, Mrs. Odiri Erewa-Meggison, said several companies and institutions may have been doing well in their efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and creating a better planet through various initiatives, but BAT is transforming and has remained deliberate in its efforts at contributing to a better planet.

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 “We want to drive change by creating massive awareness around the issues of climate crisis, because if we don’t act now and act fast, we all will be affected. We want a better future and so if we don’t protect the environment, we can’t sustain our businesses,” she said.

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 Chief Operating Officer (COO) of NCIC, Adamu Garba, who said less than 40 percent of Nigerians understand what climate change really entails, maintained that the greatest threat to the climate crisis has been the belief that someone else will take responsibility in driving the positive outcomes.

 He stressed that there is the need for massive education and awareness creation on the subject matter of climate change, especially in managing carbon footprints, which is very essential to the ESG outcomes.

 “Bridging the gaps and holding companies accountable for their waste management, pollution and environmental impact will involve evaluation of the wellness of employees and others as ESG compliant organisations. But the best way to predict the future is to create it,and so, let us create that future together,” he said.

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 Also speaking, Country Director of Eractus Nigeria, Michael Ajayi, who said the group focuses on youth empowerment, lamented the impacts of climate change globally, adding that the crisis had brought about severe flooding in Pakistan and some African countries like Nigeria, prolonged droughts, scotching temperatures in Europe and negative effects on food security and healthcare in different parts of the world.

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 He stressed that companies, organisations, institutions and individuals have a collective responsibility to tame the climate crisis globally.

  On his part, Packaging Recovery Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Idris Adetola, who restated the company’s commitment to a healthier environment, disclosed that NBC has perfected plans to mop up plastic wastes of its products from the ecosystem on a yearly basis.

Besides the speakers, in a statement titled: Accelerating Sustainable Industrial Growth: Private Sector Convene At Pan-African ESG Forum, the partners revealed that the forum is aimed at promoting sustainable and responsible business practices in the manufacturing sector.

 “With the theme: Is The Private Sector Accountable, A Case For Sustainable Practices, the maiden edition focuses on driving climate resilience and fostering inclusive growth,” it said.

 Managing Director of BAT Nigeria, Yarub Al-Bahrani said: “This forum is quite timely and relevant as it presents a pivotal opportunity for the private sector in Africa to not only address pressing ESG challenges, but also to champion practices that will lead to lasting outcomes across the continent. We need to begin holding ourselves accountable, which is why we have convened the forum.

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 “Convening the Private Sector ESG Forum is a testament to our unwavering commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility. It is also an extension of our bold ambition to build a better tomorrow for all our stakeholders, the environment and communities we operate in.”

 On his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NCIC, Bankole Oloruntoba, said: “The ESG is the bedrock of sustainable financing. With the right framework and knowledge, organisations can achieve sustainable impact that will open up more opportunities to tap into impactful investments in Africa. This not only benefits the organisations, but also contributes to a broader socio-economic development of Africa and fostering a more resilient and prosperous future for all.”

 Director-General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, commended the private sector collaboration, saying: “I am truly excited to witness this historic milestone as the private sector unites to drive corporate responsibility and accountability for sustainable growth and development. Sustainability and accountability are no longer buzzwords; they are the cornerstones of our shared future.

 “Through collaboration, innovation and responsibility, we can shape an inclusive and resilient path towards a carbon-neutral economy and every individual and organisation plays a vital part in this journey.”

Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600,

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