Recognize Potentials Of Renewable Energy For Building Sustainable Development, LBS Conference Panelists Task Private Sector

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By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos

Panelists at the annual Lagos Business School (LBS) International Sustainability Conference have called on private sector operators to recognize the enormous potential of renewable energy sources for the building of sustainable development.

The panelists also told the private sector to develop solutions that are localized, decentralized and tailored to suit and solve the issues of different economic and social settings.

The zoom conference held on Friday 18th November 2022 was organized by Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre (LBSSC) in partnership with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Africa, IHS Nigeria Limited and Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI).

The panelists who discussed the topic, “Practical Solutions In Systems Building In Food and Energy” are Mr. Ashvin Dayal, Senior Vice President, Power and Climate, Rockefeller Foundation; Tendai Matika, Manager at Global Reporting Initiative, and Agatha Nnaji, Managing Director, Geometric Power Group.

On the occasion, business leaders and sector experts called on the private sector, especially in Africa, to play their role in building resilient systems that will enable the achievement of the sustainable development outcomes.

“Our systems are failing us almost every day, and they are doing so faster than the government. We need to promote long-term transformation,” Professor Enase Okonedo, Vice Chancellor of Pan-Atlantic University (PAU) and Board Member of United Nations (UN) Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), said in his opening remarks.

Okonedo emphasized the necessity for organizations to transcend a compliance-based culture for incorporating so in their key operations to one of strategy and corporate purpose.

Organizers of the conference pointed out that the aftermath of climate change impact and Corona Virus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have left many countries affected by risks and pressures which have a negative impact on the population’s ability to survive.

“This has also exposed the vulnerability of current system and structures which are incapable of coping, consequently endangering previously attained development gains.

“Some of these risks include conflict and insecurity, economic shocks, extreme weather events, and climate change social impacts, which frequently cause food insecurity and mass displaced people, natural hazards, particularly floods and droughts, and communicable disease outbreaks and pandemics.

“These problems pose a threatening to the private sector as well as the larger society and economy thus highlight the need for urgent action and collaboration among business leaders,” the organizers wrote while explaining the reason for which the conference was held.

Mr. Rodney Irwin, Chief Operating Officer of World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), emphasized that the private sector is an important backbone of any economic system, and stressed that business leaders have a duty to build in sustainability and resilience as a desired outcome in addition to traditional focus on profit within their own operations first and for their stakeholders, especially “people”.

Irwin reiterated the fact that “climate change is no longer a risk but a full-fledged reality and needs urgent action across sectors in rethinking their business models and energy needs.”

The conference brought together sustainability professionals and key stakeholders from over 30 countries who emphasized the essence of working together to promote resilient food and energy systems that support sustainable development, especially in emerging and developing economies.

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