Awe Calls for Review of Current ESG Frameworks

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The current structures of the environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) should be reviewed for better efficiency, the chief executive officer of the Nigerian Exchange Regulation (NGX RegCo) Limited, Ms Tinuade Awe, has submitted.

According to her, the ESG frameworks must be tinkered with to accommodate the changes triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, urging stakeholders to intensify ESG efforts.

“Our world is yet to heal from the economic scars caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now we are facing a climate crisis. These challenges threaten to erase the significant progress made toward sustainable development,” Ms Awe said during her keynote speech at the Association of Sustainability Professionals of Nigeria (ASPN) webinar held recently.

At the programme themed Purpose Driven ESG Disclosures: Redefining the Facts Behind Sustainability, she said stakeholders should begin to prioritise actions that would help address global developmental challenges affecting ESG disclosures, noting that opportunity abounds for both private and public sectors to enhance sustainability output.

“This awakening for a sustainable world is also present within the financial sector, as evident in the rise of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors in assessing investment opportunities and providing financial services,” she further said at the seminar organised to address several challenges confronting businesses and sustainability professionals in the formulation and implementation of ESG disclosures in Nigeria and beyond.

“The concept of ESG is an area of increasing interest in developed and developing economies due to the interplay between ESG and key issues such as sustainable development, corporate governance, climate change, stakeholder engagement, and community relations, amongst a myriad of issues,” she added.

Ms Awe disclosed the initiatives NGX RegCo is doing to catalyse ESG disclosures in the Nigerian capital market, saying the regulator collaborated with other stakeholders on developing the NGX Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines in 2019.

The guidelines aim to provide companies with a step-by-step approach to integrating sustainability into their activities and operations. With the last publication in 2019, the organisation is looking to update the NGX Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines.

According to her, “the updated Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines will be built on some of the most updated recent global sustainability reporting standards and frameworks including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Universal Standards and facilitate a phased transition to mandatory sustainability reporting for companies listed on NGX in line with global trends.”

The CEO has also called for improvement across the ecosystem and tasked stakeholders to set agendas that ensure that critical ESG-related issues become deep-rooted cultural values shared by all stakeholders in corporations, a step she believes will help improve Nigeria’s ESG performance and reputation on the global stage.

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