Lagos - Thirty-one leaders of major Nigerian businesses have agreed to establishment a common platform that would enable them to jointly promote sustainable development initiatives and programmes across the country.
The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) made the disclosure in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday made available to the media.
It said they have agreed to set up a council for sustainable development which would be affiliated to the Geneva-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
The statement said the proposed council would work to arouse the interest of the Nigerian business community towards taking collective action for the future sustainable development of society.
It said the Managing Director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC), Mutiu Sunmonu, had hosted a roundtable to introduce the idea to the CEOs.
“There is no doubt that Nigerian companies support sustainable programmes in their respective areas of influence quite adequately.”
“However, no platform currently exists for businesses across all industries to share experiences, best practices and advocate for business positions that transform lives and communities from what they are today to the greatness they can be tomorrow.”
“If there is one area we do not need to compete as businesses, it is in the goodness of our heart to our society and environment,” it quoted Sunmonu, whi the Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria as saying.
The statement said the Managing Director and CEO, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, Bola Adesola, described the idea as innovative and desirable.
“It is important that the organised private sector show interest in the challenging operating business environment,” it said.
It added that also speaking at the roundtable, Chief Keith Richards, Chairman, Promasidor Nigeria Ltd, said the companies would devote their time and energy to development programmes.
“We look forward to contributing and devoting our time and energy in actualising the goals of this intervention which will impact on Nigerians positively and sustain business development,” the statement said.
It said that Wolfgang Goetsch, Managing Director, Julius Berger Nigeria, echoed his assertion when he said: “I am looking forward to a business council that works, through proper management and commitment by members.”
The statement also said that a lecturer at the Lagos Business School, Sir Chris Ogbechie, had earlier made a presentation in which he outlined the justification and modalities for setting up the council.
The gathering agreed that there would be a governing council to oversee the organisation, comprising CEOs of member companies and reputable international business figures.
It said that the council would be committed to driving a positive sustainable future for society and the rapid development of the economy.
The statement said that Rabab Fayad, Regional Director of WBCSD, noted that “we are committed to supporting this Nigerian vision as it is our goal to establish vibrant networks on sustainable development across the globe.”
The media reports that many companies at the roundtable volunteered to work toward the establishment of the business council.