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The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema, has observed that promoting transparent disclosures on environmental, social and governance issues can help listed companies access the long-term sustainable capital that will help them contribute their role as private sector organisations to achieving the sustainable development goals.
Speaking at the Exchange in Lagos yesterday at the maiden edition of the presentation of Facts Behind the Sustainability Report by Dangote Cement Plc., he recalled that “In 2013, we developed a sustainability strategy that was anchored on the four pillars of Marketplace, Workplace, Community and Environment”.
He stressed that “These pillars allows us to embrace sustainability principles in our operations, internalize the values as employees, and influence our ecosystem whilst remaining a good corporate citizen. To further raise the bar, we joined the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative and the World Federation of Exchanges, two reputable organisations that fuel our aspiration of fostering the growth of long term sustainable finance”.
According to him, “The Exchange continues to highlight the importance of sustainable business practices in delivering value to its listed companies, the investing public and to support African economic growth. Since the NSE launched the Premium Board, the growth of NSE Premium Index has demonstrated that incorporating high levels of corporate governance and sustainability at the core of a business are critical factors for delivering sustainable investor value”.
Onyema stated that “In achieving this commitment, NSE had reached a number of milestones. We launched the first Climate Bond Initiative certified Sovereign Green Bond”.
“Developed a savings bond that promotes inclusiveness in the bonds asset class. Earlier this year, we released the NSE Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines which is mandatory for Premium Board listed companies. Further to the issuance of these Guidelines, we hosted a Sustainability Reporting Implementation Workshop in partnership with the Global Reporting Initiative. This was a way of helping listed companies understand the reporting requirements of the recently launched NSE Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines.
“Today, is yet another historic day for sustainability in the capital market as we host the very first Facts Behind the Sustainability Report ( FBSR) which is fashioned after NSE’s flagship “Facts Behind the Listing” and “Facts Behind the Figures” event series. The Facts Behind the Sustainability Report is designed to provide the investing ecosystem with details of listed companies’ sustainability reports whilst allowing them to further engage with the listed companies.
“We are pleased that Dangote Cement Plc has chosen to champion the maiden edition of the Facts Behind the Sustainability Report series both to launch and discuss highlights of their first ever stand-alone sustainability report. According to the Principles for Responsible Investment, the financial community is increasingly aware that ESG factors play a material role in determining risk and return. Therefore, this decision is timely and strategic to the growth of the capital market as more stakeholders are now aware that the promotion and disclosures of Environmental, Social and Governance principles can facilitate more meaningful engagement between investors and listed companies.
Onyema commended the Board and Executive Management of Dangote Cement Plc for their leadership in integrating sustainability into the core of their business operations, saying “Dangote Cement Plc is setting a strong precedence by their presentation today. I have been gladly informed that their report is compliant with the NSE Disclosure Guidelines and Global Reporting Initiative”.
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