Wednesday, March 20, 2019
05:22 PM /NSE
Good morning distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this Sustainability Reporting Implementation Workshop, jointly hosted by The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
I would like to thank you all for the work that you are doing to advance sustainable development and responsible business practices within Nigeria and across Africa.
I am aware that there are participants from more than 100 organizations here today, representing our listed companies, capital market operators, Big Four (4) Audit Firms and members of the Press. Much more than this classification, I see citizens who share a common goal of a sustainable future.
This diversity of participation reflects one of the central tenets of this workshop, which is to reveal how organizations can go beyond corporate responsibilities and start creating value through sustainability and reporting in line with global standards. The solutions to the social and economic challenges threatening Nigeria and the African region, require commitments and contributions from all stakeholders.
You will recall that NSE began its journey to developing the Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines in 2015 with the hosting of the maiden edition of the Nigerian Capital Market Sustainability Conference. The conference brought together global thought leaders in sustainability reporting whose recommendations formed part of the foundation for the drafting of the guidelines. The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the Guidelines in 2018 and reporting has commenced effective January 2019.
The NSE has become more resilient in its commitment to influencing its ecosystem towards sustainable business practices and creating structures to implement reporting in line with their business peculiarities. Such is the idea that inspired this workshop.
We are aware of the role Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance will play in maintaining business relations, access to markets and capital in the nearest future. Therefore, disclosure of ESG performance will enable stakeholders to engage with and understand a company’s true value, highlighting tangible and intangible materiality. Strong ESG performance thus attracts the growing number of investors interested in the long term sustainability of their investments.
At The Nigerian Stock Exchange, I am quite happy to report that we have also held ourselves accountable to the highest standards regarding sustainability reporting and we will continue to challenge ourselves to do more.
Over the next four hours, our deliberations will be centred on the imperative of good sustainable practice, NSE Sustainability Disclosure requirements and timelines, importance of assurance in reporting and how organizations can create, report and share value with reporting.
Specifically, the conversation will seek to address the implementation of sustainability reporting, key metrics in the guidelines, GRI reporting standards and reporting process and enhancement of corporate transparency and ultimately performance on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues.
We are pleased to have some of the thought leaders in the sustainability space to deliver the key lectures and as panel discussants to answer the numerous questions that will be raised in this gathering.
We have received immense support from our implementing partner, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and hope this workshop becomes a reference for the needed knowledge for participants to steer sustainability reporting in their respective businesses. The NSE will continually explore partnership opportunities to catalyze new initiatives and raise awareness on the need for responsible business practices.
While I wish us all a successful workshop, let me commend our individual efforts towards integrating sustainability into our respective businesses, and hope that we continue to do our best for the community and the world at large.
Once again, I welcome you all to this workshop, and I wish us all fruitful deliberations.