Experts have tasked business leaders and corporate bodies across the country to imbibe sustainable business practices, as concerns over the social and economic impact of business activities on the economy mount.
The experts, who spoke yesterday at the International Sustainability Conference 2014 organised by the FirstBank Sustainability Centre of Lagos Business School, urged business leaders to assess their economic and social environment on a sectoral basis, and develop SMART objectives that would not only generate profits for their businesses but also favourably impact the economy.
In his keynote address, Professor David Grayson from Cranfield Business School, UK advised participants to anticipate and manage risk arising from their businesses. He also urged the government to boost sustainable business practices in the country with regulations that would facilitate the process.
“Governments have a crucial role to play in getting businesses to operate more sustainably through effective regulations that would strengthen the practice,” said Grayson, while advocating for collaborations among businesses trying to integrate sustainability into their operations.
“That is why institutions like LBS are crucial at this time to drive a societal mindset change towards sustainable business practices,” he added.
Panel discussions highlighting burning issues such as efficient energy use, sustainable labour/ community relations and environmental management followed. The session was facilitated by Notore Nigeria CEO, Ms Ivana Osagie; Sahara Group CEO, Mr Tonye Cole; First Bank of Nigeria CEO, Mr Stephen Olabisi Onasanya and FBN Sustainability Centre Director, Dr Chris Ogbechie.
“What we do today should not jeopardise tomorrow’s prospects as well as the corporate good and harmony on society,” said Joseph Attah who represented Mrs Temitope Akin-Fadeyi of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), while giving a talk on ‘Financial Inclusion and Sustainability’.
He highlighted the role of banks in driving sustainable business through financial inclusion of the less privileged, people with disabilities and ensuring gender equality, among others.
“Banks also have a role to play in this regard through effective and social risk management, women empowerment, collaborative partnerships and reporting,” he said.