Stakeholders focus on ESG, diversity and digital transformation in corporate governance

Wednesday 05 October 2021 / 12:12 p.m. / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header image credit: WebTV

At the 2021 Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria annual conference, stakeholders believed that the nation had much to gain from fully embracing the new principles of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) and emerging trends in corporate governance. environment, society and governance (ESG), diversity and digital transformation.

The approach covers the sustainability of organizations, the effectiveness of boards of directors, strategic operations, the viability of companies and the improvement of relations with stakeholders, which will have a positive impact on the economy.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Muhammad K. Ahmad, OON, President of the Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria (SCGN), said that the topic “Emerging Trends in Corporate Governance” was appropriate and timely as it provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss issues. Like ESG, regulatory diversity and digital transformation are shaping businesses.

He said the SCGN is committed to improving corporate governance practices in businesses and enterprises in Nigeria, including critical sectors of the economy.

During the opening speech, Ms Kerrie Waring, CEO of ICGN, London, said that there had been significant changes in the components of corporate governance, leadership, diversity, evaluation, board activities, capital allocation, tax avoidance, auditing and shareholder participation. .

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

Kerrie Waring also advocated for effective risk monitoring covering ecological issues, social inequalities and digital transformation.

She added that good governance in sustainable development is essential for companies, organizations and institutions in the country.

During the panel session moderated by Mr. Olufemi Shobanjo, Head, Broker-Trader, NGX Regulation Limited, his contribution said that the capital market has witnessed 4 green bond issues. Transactions in the green bond market, he said, amounted to N40 billion.

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

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

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

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

PWC Nigeria partner Ms. Rukaiya El-Rufai reiterated the need for businesses, corporations and organizations to put people, planet and prosperity first.

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

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

All conference panelists agreed that investments in environment, society and governance (ESG) are essential for business and society.

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