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Thursday, October 26, 2023

SDGs Related Investments Globally Suffer  $2.5trn Funding Shortfall Annually

For public and private investments in sectors related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries to achieve the desired objectives, there must be concerted efforts to bridge the funding gap that has been estimated to be about $2.5 trillion.

This, among other issues featured at the  Sustainable Futures Africa event, hosted by Hudson Sandler in collaboration with the United Nations Global Compact Nigeria, took place at The Wheatbaker in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, October 25th. 

The event brought together industry leaders, experts, and stakeholders to explore and discuss the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) aspects of sustainable development in Nigerian businesses.

The event featured insightful presentations, case studies, and a dynamic panel discussion, providing valuable perspectives on the integration of ESG principles into business strategies. 

The distinguished line-up of speakers included Naomi Nwokolo, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria, Ayotola Jagun, Chief Compliance Officer and Company Secretary at Oando PLC, Emeka Oparah, Chief Communications Officer at Airtel Africa Plc, and Benson Adenuga, Country Director, British International Investment.

Naomi Nwokolo, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network Nigeria, stated: “Globally, there is an average annual funding shortfall of $2.5 trillion between public and private investments in sectors related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries (UN Sustainable Development Group).

“Businesses in Africa are making huge contributions to society, but few are fully engaged in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. To achieve maximum impact and scale, companies must collectively adopt SDG-aligned practices to meet social and governance expectations in society.”

Dr. Rabiu Olowo, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, shared his vision at the Sustainable Futures Africa event, stating, “In aligning corporate governance with the tenets of sustainability, we lay the foundation for economic prosperity and resilience. The role of the Financial Reporting Council is pivotal, not just as a regulatory body but as a catalyst for instilling the utmost confidence in investors and upholding the highest standards in accounting, auditing, and corporate governance. 

“My commitment is to lead a transformation that ensures accountability, transparency, and adherence to ESG principles, contributing to a future where businesses thrive in harmony with societal and environmental needs—ultimately fostering sustainable economic growth for Nigeria.”

Rebecca Gudgeon, Partner, and Head of Hudson Sandler’s Sustainability Practice added: “Aligning business operations with ESG principles is essential for long-term viability, resilience, and market relevance. Investors increasingly consider ESG performance as a significant factor in investment decisions, impacting funding and growth opportunities. The diverse perspectives shared by our speakers underscore the urgency and importance of integrating ESG principles into corporate strategies.”

The panel discussion covered critical topics such as establishing a credible ESG profile, stakeholder expectations, organisational benefits of sustainability integration, ESG investing, and best practices in sustainability communications. Speakers emphasised the necessity of transparent reporting, stakeholder engagement, and ethical leadership to drive sustainable growth.

The event concluded with a post-panel Q&A session, allowing attendees to engage directly with the expert speakers. The closing remarks highlighted the commitment of businesses to adopt sustainable practices, address stakeholder expectations, and contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Kaylie Pferten
Kaylie Pferten
A pilot of submersible crafts in a former life, now married to my husband David and writing about investment advice.

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