Nigerian chief executive officers (CEOs) have hinged the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on partnership by businesses as well as lasting relationships among other factors.
Tonye Cole, co-founder/executive director, Sahara Group, said this while delivering a keynote address at the CEO roundtable organised by First Bank of Nigeria Limited in Lagos.
He said collaboration would impact positively on businesses, as “we can come together and build a face that will brand Nigeria positively,” and advised other CEOs present at the forum not to be ashamed or afraid of collaboration, adding that one key pillar of sustainability was relationship.
Adesola Adeduntan, managing director, FirstBank, said the bank had put in place an environmental, social and governance management system (ESGMS) to drive responsible lending and its commitment to financial inclusion.
“Now, it is evident that for us to reduce poverty and foster development, it is important for us to explore innovative ways to provide access for financial services to about 2 billion unbanked adults in the world,” Adeduntan said.
He said that FirstBank Sustainability Centre at the Lagos Business was a partnership that had resulted in knowledge creation, knowledge dissemination and knowledge application on diverse sustainability related activities.
The bank CEO noted that engagement through programmes included over 16 executive education programmes, organised about 16 workshops and three international conferences, 18 stakeholder engagement fora, over 5,279 participants, empowered over 3,000 Small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) through its capacity building programmes and published over 10 research materials and case studies.
He called on business leaders and other heads of organisations present at the roundtable to consider such partnership for the enhancement of sustainable development anywhere they operate.
“As we explore innovative opportunities in our society today, we will map out strategies on how to support business survival and competitive advantage in a turbulent environment. We will also reinforce our commitment to champion sustainability and innovation,” he said.