Developing countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Gabon face an annual funding gap of $2.5 trillion in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), stated Naomi Nwokolo, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Network Nigeria.
She shared these insights during the Sustainable Futures Africa event in Lagos, a collaborative effort between Hudson Sandler and the United Nations Global Compact Nigeria.
The event served as a platform for stakeholders to delve into the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) dimensions of sustainable development within Nigerian businesses.
Nwokolo emphasized that while African businesses contribute significantly to society, only a minority actively address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns. “For maximum impact and reach, companies must collectively embrace SDG-aligned practices to fulfill societal expectations in social and governance realms,” she advised.
Rabiu Olowo, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, also shared his vision at the event. He stated, “By aligning corporate governance with sustainability principles, we establish the groundwork for economic prosperity and resilience.”
Olowo further emphasized the pivotal role of the Financial Reporting Council, not only as a regulatory authority but as a catalyst for instilling confidence in investors and upholding the highest standards in accounting, auditing, and corporate governance. He expressed commitment to lead a transformation that ensures accountability, transparency, and adherence to ESG principles. This, he believes, will contribute to a future where businesses flourish in harmony with societal and environmental needs, ultimately fostering sustainable economic growth for Nigeria.
Rebecca Gudgeon, Partner and Head of Hudson Sandler’s Sustainability Practice, added her perspective: “Aligning business operations with ESG principles is imperative for long-term viability, resilience, and market relevance. Investors increasingly weigh ESG performance as a critical factor in investment decisions, influencing funding and growth prospects.”
The panel discussion encompassed vital themes such as establishing a credible ESG profile, meeting stakeholder expectations, reaping organizational benefits from sustainability integration, ESG investing, and best practices in sustainability communications. The speakers underscored the necessity of transparent reporting, engaging stakeholders, and exemplifying ethical leadership to propel sustainable growth.