BAT, others canvass collaboration for sustainable environmental, social, governance practices

British American Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria, alongside other private sector stakeholders have emphasised the need for organisations to collaborate to become catalysts for climate change and environmental preservation.

They called on stakeholders to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices into their core operations.

This, they said, would foster responsible and climate-resilient business approaches, engender environmental sustainability, drive sustainable manufacturing practices and preserve the planet.

Mrs Odiri Erewa-Meggison, Director, External Affairs, BAT, during a news conference on Wednesday in Lagos, said current global realities necessitated the importance to deploy deliberate sustainability measures to preserve the environment.

According to her, private sector organisations must come together and become collectively responsible from a corporate governance perspective to become the catalyst for climate change and environmental preservation.

“As one entity, there’s only so much BAT can do and so we have to form a formidable alliance to protect the environment even as we grow our business in a sustainable way.

“The ESG forum holding in Eko hotel on Nov. 8; an industry leading initiative, is aimed at promoting sustainable and responsible business practices within the manufacturing sector.

“This forum serves to catalyse the conversation surrounding climate change, environmental preservation and how we can transform our business to give back to the society and the environment for a better tomorrow,” she said.

Mr Adamu Garba, Chief Operating Officer, Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC), emphasised the need to bridge the gap on social and environmental responsibility and accountability.

Garba proposed that organisations could begin to declare ESG indicators just as they declared profit at the end of the year to drive accountability.

He added that Chief Executive Officers (CEO) must become accountable for environmental and carbon footprint, gender balance and equality within staff strength, among other ESG principles.

“The greatest threat facing the planet is the belief that someone else would save the planet, hence the need for this forum which would be a continuum to steer organisations to be more environmentally responsible and climate friendly.

“Less than 40 per cent of Nigerians understands what climate change is and there needs to be awareness and education around this even to the local communities.

“If you respond to ESG practices, you would manage carbon footprint, balance staff strength of organisations and be better positioned for long term sustainability and profitability,” he said.

Mr Micheal Ajayi, Country Director, Enactus Nigeria, noted that the damage of inaction when it came to sustainability was enormous, particularly with reference to the flooding situation in Pakistan and Nigeria in 2022.

According to him, potential impact of extreme weather disasters shows what happened in Pakistan is a tip of the iceberg, and the cost of inaction globally could consume a large number of lives and livelihood.

Ajayi stressed that as private sector leaders, particularly those in manufacturing, the right governance structure and technology to support the initiative must be put in place to reverse the trend of climate degradation.

“I urge the media to help private the private sector spread the news and educate everyone on the concept and importance of mitigating climate change.

“There’s also the need for the young ones to become environmental, social and governance conscious to protect the environment for the future,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the collaboration is between the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) British American Tobacco (Nigeria) Ltd. (BAT Nigeria), and the Nigerian Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC).

Others such as Nigerian bottling company, Blue Echo Foundation, Stanbic IBTC, Sterling One Foundation and Enactus, have given rise to the Pan-African private sector Environment, Social and Governance (ESC) Forum, holding in Nigeria.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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