It was a convergence of sustainability practitioners, academics, stakeholders and enthusiasts at the 2018 edition of the annual International Sustainability Conference that held on Tuesday, November 20 at the Honeywell Group Auditorium of Lagos Business School (LBS).
Organised by LBS Sustainability Centre, this year’s edition of the International Sustainability Conference (ISC) themed ‘Business & Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): New Pathways to Inclusive Growth’ was a platform to help businesses to align their key performance indicators (KPIs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Delivering the keynote address, Managing Director, Nestle Nigeria, Mauricio Alarcon spoke on leveraging corporate action for Africa’s sustainable development using Nestle as case study. Alarcon began by stating that achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is such a huge task that requires collaboration of governments, companies and non-profit organisations.
He said, “Sustainability is not about finding quick solutions but about creating solutions that establish economies that are sustainable in the long run. What we need to create are ecosystems; systems that are sustainable by themselves”.
Alarcon went ahead to sit in an interactive session with the Manager, LBS Sustainability Centre, Dr Ijeoma Nwagwu where he spoke extensively on how Nestle Nigeria creates shared value and the opportunities available for Nigerian businesses to take action on sustainability.
Country Director, Technoserve, Larry Umunna shared an enlightening paper on the topic, “Food on every table: Why businesses should care”. Umunna reeled out staggering numbers on the level of poverty and food insecurity in Africa (13 million Nigerians suffer from extreme hunger and as at 2014, 800 million Africans were chronically undernourished) driving home the fact that “individuals and businesses need to view these situations as opportunities to get actively involved in agriculture”.
According to Umunna, “Food security will only exist when all people at all times have access to safe and sufficient food that meets their dietary needs”.
Panelists at the conference discussed topics such as ‘Ending Hunger in Africa through Corporate Action’ and ‘Building Healthier Communities’. Some of the panelists are Vice President, West Africa Healthcare Federation, Clare Omatseye; LBS Faculty, Ikechukwu Kelikume; Head of Environment, Tesco UK, Kené Umeasiegbu; Country Occupational Health Coordinator, LaFarge Africa, Dr Chimaobi Okoronkwo, among others.
LBS remains dedicated to ensuring that stakeholders collaborate to find solution to critical sustainability challenges. Reiterating this to attendees at the conference, Director, LBS Sustainability Centre, Professor Chris Ogbechie named tools that the Centre has developed in helping companies drive their sustainability agenda including the Corporate Social Impact Assessment Handbook/Workbook, Sustainability Champions, etc.
The conference also featured documentary screening, spoken word session, networking and exhibitions with partner companies like Nestle Nigeria and LaFarge Africa showcasing their products and services.