The KPMG Partner and Africa ESG Lead, Mr. Pieter Scholtz, has sounded a warning to the Nigerian private sector that it is in their own logical interest to embrace the implementation of the Environment, Sustainable and Governance (ESG) to avoid loss of profitability and waves of stringent legislations from the government.
Scholtz sounded this warning at the first Pan-African Private Sector ESG Forum that toke place in Lagos, where he delivered the opening keynote address on “Moving from Compliance to Impact,” stating that operators in the private sector should view it as their duty and own advantage to get their ESG perspective right.
The forum with the theme, “Is the Private Sector Accountable: A Case for Sustainable Business Practices,” was convened by the British American Tobacco (Nigeria) Limited.
He said: “The legislative wave is coming so it does not make sense for the private sector to sit and wait. The private sector has an obligation to lead on the ESG and that is not just from compliance perspective, because a lot of companies are getting it wrong thinking about ESG as compliance: they have to transform their thinking from compliance to impact.”
In his remarks titled, “Is the Private Sector Accountable: A Case for Sustainable Practices,” the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that it is imperative that governments should recognise and harness the enormous potential of the private sector in driving sustainable development and corporate accountability.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented at the ESG Forum by his special assistant, said, “his administration is fully aware that achieving sustainability and accountability in business practices is a shared responsibility.”
The Managing Director of BAT West and Central Africa, Mr. Yerub Al-Bahrani, in his convener’s message said that the Private Sector ESG Forum was initiated to address the need for sustainable and responsible practices in the manufacturing sector.
Al-Bahrani said: “The vision behind this forum is to create a platform that connects industry players, bridge knowledge gaps and promote the adoption of sustainable business practices for inclusive growth and shared prosperity.”