The recently concluded second edition of the Environmental Sustainability Conference, Expo, and Awards (ECOSEA), celebrated five outstanding individuals for their exceptional impact on environmental sustainability in Africa.
The event, which took place in December at Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, saw Peju Ibekwe, Chief Executive Officer of Sterling One Foundation emerge as the sustainability champion of the year in the Not-for-profit category.
Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head of Group Sustainability at Access Corporation, was recognised as the sustainability champion of the year in the financial category while Victoria Nwadoka emerged as the sustainability champion for the food and beverages category.
For the Extractive industry and FMCG categories, Igazeuma Okoroba, Group Head of Sustainability at Dangote Plc and Godfrey Adejumoh, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Unilever respectively emerged as sustainability champions.
Speaking during his keynote presentation, Dr. Bankole Allibay, Consultant, Social Safeguards, World Bank Group, and CEO of Transatlantic Development Ltd called on Nigerian citizens to take critical actions to reduce the level of emission, environmental risk, and impact to a manageable level so that we don’t heat up the ecosystem.
Allibay was speaking on the theme: “Solutions to Pollution: The Nexus Between Public Policies and Private Sector Intervention” at the second edition of the Environmental Sustainability Conference, Expo and Awards (ECOSEA) held at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos last Thursday.
According to him, “Regardless of the size of the economy, every agriculture product that is consumed every day, the meat we eat; the water we drink; and the vehicles we drive are critical contributions to our ecosystem and they are natural drivers for pollution.
“With all the challenges we have in Nigeria, this economy is a $2.1trillion economy and out of the number, the informal sector is over $1.1trillion and in the totality of these numbers, about 56% of these numbers falls in the critical life base activities which include activities that has to do with the natural eco-system, land, water, industrial, agriculture, mining and extractive exploration oil and gas and these are the greatest perspective in which emission of environmental degradation happens to our eco-system.”
Speaking on the collaboration of public and private sector, he said “Evidently, every society is guide by policies law, regulations and guidelines, these laws, regulations and guidelines are the bedrock in which the private and public sector will survive.
According to him, one of the roles to ensure that we have a safe eco-system is having a strong policy development which is a product of critical policy consultation. You can’t give to people what you don’t have, which is why the first role is policy consultation.
“We also have participation in policy development which is actually a process of ensuring that the reality of the street actually speaks to the situation we find ourselves. The reality of people that live in Ghana which is the total of 26 million human beings cannot be compared to the population of over 250 million Nigerians. So, when Ghana adopts a policy, we need to learn that the policy cannot be hard for them, however, we need a bespoke policy situation to speak to our situation.
“Policy education is another role we need to ensure we practice to have a safe eco-system, also we need to know how to implement these policies.” He added.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Convener of ECOSEA, Joshua Ajayi revealed that the goal of ECOSEA in the near future for ECOSEA is to create an annual platform that would steadily become the largest foremost thought-leadership platform that champions the cause of environmentally sustainable actions in Africa.
His words: “We also want to create an aspirational space people will gather annually to showcase innovative and environmentally friendly products, services, and initiatives. We equally want to be the most prestigious recognition platform for champions of environmental sustainability in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa while serving as a tool of inspiration to others”.
Two different panels of discussants that dissected various issues on sustainable collaboration and Nigeria’s Carbon Footprint equally stressed the need for emission to be tackled on a consistent basis in Nigeria.