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Paving the Way for Positive Impact: Accelerating ESG agenda in African Businesses

African businesses are essential drivers of economic growth, innovation, and job creation across the region. However, amid the pursuit of growth and profits, many overlook their responsibilities towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, hindering potential positive outcomes for both businesses and the communities they serve. This fragmented approach poses challenges in addressing critical issues such as poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation. As we approach COP28, it’s increasingly crucial for businesses to pivot their focus towards ESG principles to overcome these challenges.

Embracing ESG and sustainability practices, which align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is the way forward for businesses worldwide, including those based in Africa. By collectively adopting sustainability practices, companies can actively tackle the region’s pressing issues while enhancing their corporate reputation, attracting investments, and ensuring long-term sustainability. To achieve this, African businesses need to collaborate more in setting industry wide ESG standards and weave sustainability principles into their corporate strategies, supply chains, and operations.

Encouraging ethical supply chains, lessening harm to the environment, championing gender diversity and equality, and maintaining robust governance are pivotal steps. The role of the private sector cannot be underestimated -African businesses do hold a special chance to lead the way to a more sustainable and prosperous future for the entire continent. The path to a brighter, more sustainable Africa starts with wholeheartedly embracing ESG principles in business strategies and operations.

During our recent Sustainable Futures in Africa event in Lagos – hosted by Hudson Sandler in collaboration with the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria – a very relevant to the above statement was delivered by Naomi Nwokolo, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network Nigeria, who mentioned in her keynote address: “Globally, there is an average annual funding shortfall of USD 2.5 trillion between public and private investments in sectors related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries (UN Sustainable Development Group). Businesses in Africa are making huge contributions to society, but few are fully engaged in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. To achieve maximum impact and scale, companies must collectively adopt SDG-aligned practices to meet social and governance expectations in society.”

Given the high level of engagement and very positive feedback following the first Sustainable Futures Africa event in Lagos, Hudson Sandler global team is dedicated to continuing this initiative aimed at fostering discussions, sharing knowledge, and promoting collaboration for sustainable development in Africa. Together with our honourable partners we will be delighted to continue bringing together thought leaders, industry experts, and all other stakeholders, and continue supporting our clients to shape a profitable and purposeful path for African businesses