Stakeholders Highlight ESG, Diversity and Digital Transformation in Corporate Governance


Wednesday, October 05, 2021 / 12:12 PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV 


At the 2021 Annual Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria conference, stakeholders believed the nation had a lot to gain from fully adopting the new International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) principles and the emerging trends in the environment, society, and governance (ESG), diversity and digital transformation.


The approach covers the sustainability of organizations, the efficiency of the boards, strategic operations, viability of corporations, and improved stakeholder relations, which will positively impact the economy.


Giving his opening remarks, Mr. Muhammad K. Ahmad, OON, President of the Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria (SCGN), said the theme "Emerging Trends in Corporate Governance" was appropriate and timely as it provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss issues like ESG, regulations diversity and digital transformation is shaping businesses.

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He said the SCGN was committed to improving corporate governance practice across corporations and companies in Nigeria, including critical sectors of the economy.


Delivering the keynote address, Ms. Kerrie Waring, CEO ICGN, London, said there had been significant changes to the components of corporate governance, from leadership, diversity, evaluation, activities of the boards, capital allocation, tax avoidance, audit and shareholder participation.


She called on companies to have a clear purpose, which will guide the discussions and engagement with key stakeholders across all sectors.


Kerrie Waring also made a strong case for effective risk oversight covering ecological issues, social inequality and digital transformation.


She added that proper sustainability governance is a must-have for companies, organizations and institutions in the country.


At the panel session moderated by Mr. Olufemi Shobanjo, Head, Broker-Dealer, NGX Regulation Limited, his contribution said the capital market had witnessed 4 issuances of the green bond. The transactions in the green bond market, according to him, accrued to N40bn.


He noted that the green financing market has been very competitive while the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has issued sustainable guidelines for quoted companies.


In the opinion of Ms. Rose Lumumba, a Corporate Governance Specialist, International Finance Corporation (IFC), companies must map stakeholders to their operations.

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Lumumba also stressed the need for companies to understand and explore how to manage the interests of government, employees and other stakeholders in the industry.


She advised companies to be proactive in engaging with the government and regulators in policies and fiscal issues like tax.


Ms. Rukaiya El-Rufai, a Partner with PWC Nigeria, re-emphasized the need for companies, corporations and organizations to prioritize people, the planet and prosperity.


The PwC expert believed that companies need an effective corporate governance strategy to create value in the market and economy and achieve sustainability in their operations.


She also described the International Corporate Governance Network, ICGN principles as robust enough for companies to adopt for societal and company value.


All the panellists at the conference agreed that investments in Environment, Society and Governance (ESG) were critical for corporations and society.


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