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Strict UN 17 SDGs key to corporate Resilience, Profitability—Jadesimi

The Chief Executive of LADOL Free Zone, Dr. Amy Jadesimi has observed, that adhering to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals will enable African companies to become more resilient and profitable.

She said the effort would also grant them access to a new US$12 trillion market, for sustainable businesses.

Dr. Amy made the observation at the United Nations Global Compact CEOs Breakfast Roundtable, held in Lagos on 17th May 2022, at the MTN Event Center.

The event was hosted by the Assistant Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), UN Global Impact, Sanda Ojiambo, and included the launch of the UN Global Compact Africa Strategy.

“With 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of $3.5 trillion dollars, Africa is the world’s largest growth market. Consequently, African businesses are primed to play a pivotal role in the corporate sustainability movement”, she observed.

The UN Global Compact Africa Strategy 2021-2023 provides a roadmap to galvanize large and small businesses across Africa to uphold the Ten Principles and by extension the SDG goals with particular focus on the following:

  • Gender Equality (SDG 5)
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8)
  • Climate Action (SDG 13)
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16)
  • Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).

The LADOL Boss was invited to join the high-level panel as LADOL Free Zone is renowned for its significant and ongoing impact on goals 5 / 8 / 16 and 17 in particular.

LADOL’s transition and net-zero plan also make it an industry leader in tackling Goal 13.

The breakfast roundtable had in attendance major industry players and focused on strengthening partnerships to build strategic opportunities for collaborations in alignment with UN’s Global Compact Africa Strategy 2021-2023 and scale the collective impact of business in delivering the SDGs and AU Agenda 2063.

Speaking further, Dr. Amy highlighted: “The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a manual of best practice for real private sector companies in Africa.

“Following them will make African companies more resilient and profitable as well as giving them access to a new 12 trillion US dollar market for sustainable businesses,” she also indicated, adding:

“We will industrialize the content through a network of the sustainable industrial special economic zone.”

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale said Africa Strategy is about galvanizing the private sector to own and invest in the UN system’s sustainable development goals in a sustainable manner.

“We know that the private sector is not just an engine for growth for economic development, but an opportunity enabler.

“The strategy is about businesses signing up to that aspect of how to treat the labour force, look into human rights issue, environmental sustainability so, we are hoping through this strategy we will be able to engage more private sectors in Nigeria and we also hope that the impacts will be felt in Nigeria and the rest of the continent.

“We have talked about investment, implementing the SDGs; one area of investment is a sustainable business.

We need businesses in Nigeria to revisit what they are doing; they must protect the environment, protect the resources and use the resources in a more sustainable manner.

“We also want investment into initiatives such as the jubilee fellowship that the UNDP manages within the UN family, which is promoting opportunities for young people to work with companies.

“The idea is to give them the exposure, to work with private sectors that will become more attractive as a part of the future”, the Humanitarian Coordinator pointed out.

A Board member, UN Global Compact, Flora Mutahi, however, noted the relevance of the vision, in reference to the UN’s Global 10 principles.

“This comes off the UN’s Global 10 principles which talk about Human Rights, environment, labour and anti-corruption.

It is important to localize because Africa has its unique set of challenges, which also bring out a unique set of opportunities.

“So, for the Africa strategy, we chose five of the SDGs that will make a change for the African continent.

“When we talk about inequality, it’s actually worse in Africa and this is something we need to lend our voices to make a difference”,   Flora Mutahi further explained.