Managing Director of British American Tobacco (BAT), West and Central Africa, Yarub Al-Bahrani, has said the company initiated the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Forum to address the need for sustainable and responsible practices in the manufacturing sector.
He disclosed this at the maiden edition of the Private Sector ESG Forum hosted by (BAT) Nigeria in partnership with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Nigerian Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC), Stanbic IBTC, Enactus Nigeria, Sterling One Foundation, International Breweries, Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) and Blue Echo Foundation, among others to promote sustainable future.
In his opening remark, he said “The vision behind the forum is to create a platform that connects industry players, bridges knowledge gaps and promotes the adoption of sustainable business practices for inclusive growth and shared prosperity. The forum is important because the private sector is a formidable force in shaping economies and societies.”
He stated that BAT has made a bold commitment to create ‘A Better Tomorrow’ by reducing the health impact of its business and delivering sustainable value for its stakeholders – the society, the people and its consumers and shareholders.
“Our ambition to create A Better Tomorrow transcends mere rhetoric; it encapsulates our keen belief that we have a role, an obligation to be stewards of change. This ambition has driven a profound shift in our corporate ethos, ensuring sustainability is not a random pursuit but is front and centre of everything we do and integral to every facet of our operations, it is this bold purpose that has given rise to the Private Sector ESG Forum”, he added.
Also in his address, KPMG Partner and Africa ESG Lead, Pieter Scholtz, highlighted the need for organisations to incorporate financial reporting and other ESG strategies into their operations.
In his words: “It has been proven that sustainability-linked products grow six times faster than others while companies that employ net zero emissions are seen to reduce their operating expenses. Also, lots of companies are now starting to gain productivity via ESG incorporation, so the private sector has to take the aggressive lead seeing that there is no logic in not embracing ESG.”
Announcing the Private Sector pledge at the Forum, Director, External Affairs, BAT West and Central Africa, Odiri Erewa-Meggison, said: “The Private Sector has resolved to set up a Working Group as a measure to ensure that manufacturing companies operating in Nigeria embrace sustainable practices and implement actions to safeguard the environment and support their operating communities. The working group will be inaugurated in the first Quarter of 2024.
“BAT is proud to be part of this transformative journey, working hand in glove with our partners, co-organisers and collaborators. We remain dedicated to being a catalyst for change and to continually advancing the cause of sustainability in the private sector.”
The forum had three expert panel discussions where renowned experts in the field of ESG led engaging panel discussions on topics focusing on reducing carbon emissions and building a resilient climate future; harnessing the opportunities for collaborative growth and reporting and transparency in ensuring accurate and transparent ESG performance. Panelists shared their experiences, best practices, and vision for a sustainable future.
Panellists included Bankole Oloruntoba, CEO, Nigerian Climate Innovation Centre; Dr Chidozie Uriel Ezike, Head, ESRM and Sustainability, UBA; Tomi Adepoju, Partner & Head, Enterprise Risk and ESG Services, KPMG Nigeria; Ruka Sanusi, Director, Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC); Pamela Nkuna, Director, Corporate Affairs, Pernod Ricard, South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa and Bolaji Okusaga, Managing Director, Precise Platforms Limited, among others.
Follow The Trumpet on all our social media platforms for more updates: