Spotlight on: Nigeria
CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY IN NIGERIA
The death of General Sani Abacha in 1998 and the resulting transition to democracy in 1999 raised the public appetite for good governance, transparency and corporate sustainability. Citizens had good grounds for concern: A survey by the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in April 2003 showed corporate governance was only at the rudimentary stage. Only around 40 per cent of surveyed companies had a corporate governance code. The same year, the SEC adopted a voluntary Code of Corporate Governance Best Practices for publicly quoted companies, known as the SEC code. Around the time the Global Compact
was launched in Nigeria in 2006, the degree of implementation of corporate sustainability was low. Nigerian companies typically perceived CSR or corporate sustainability practices as philanthropy aimed at addressing socio-economic challenges.
THE LAUNCH OF THE NETWORK
The Global Compact Network in Nigeria was formally launched as a tripartite alliance of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), the African Leadership Forum and the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. Despite low
levels of activity in its early years, by 2010, the situation had changed as a result of a multilateral project partnership agreement with the Siemens Integrity Initiative.
Since its launch the majority of the activities of the Local Network have focused on corruption. Highlights include:
- Hosting the Africa Sustainable CEO Business Roundtable Forum in January 2015, focused on addressing the issues influencing collective action efforts related to corporate sustainability in Africa.
- Launch of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles in 2012, the WEPs in 2013 and B4P in 2014.
- Two-day training workshop on anti-corruption risk assessment for senior administration officials from government ministries and agencies (see case below).
THE ROLE OF THE LOCAL NETWORK IN CATALYSING CHANGE
Today, corporate sustainability in Nigeria has become more sophisticated, going beyond philanthropy and becoming embedded in corporate culture. More companies, particularly in banking, now report explicitly on sustainability measures. There is also greater awareness of corporate sustainability in society at large. The Local Network has contributed to a wider dialogue among stakeholders in Nigeria which has led to considerable change. The Network’s greatest impacts to date include:
- Raising awareness on anti-corruption, in both the public and private sector. The Local Network has also targeted corruption in sports.
- Supporting the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) policy dialogues.
- Creating awareness about the COP reporting process through training of participants.
CASE: CORRUPTION RISK ASSESSMENT TRAINING FOR NIGERIAN PUBLIC SECTOR OFFICIALS
In March, 2015, a two-day training workshop on anti-corruption risk assessment for senior public sector officials was successfully organised by the Network in collaboration with the Global Compact, NESG, the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This was supported by the Siemens Integrity Initiative. Attendees included officials in charge of ethics, compliance, legal, internal audit and risk management, as well as those in charge of procurement, accounting, finance and human resources at several ministries and agencies in Nigeria. The approach was interactive and practical. Using a fictional case study titled “Ms. Cora Liam joins the public service”, participants were taken through various definitions and forms of corruption, the justification for conducting risk assessments, as well different issues surrounding leadership and responsibility in risk assessments.
Participants were also guided through the process of planning for a risk assessment exercise. Other skills that participants were equipped with included identifying factors, types, forms, risks, schemes of corruption and control measures that
needed to be put in place. There was also an exercise to help them rate the probability and potential impact of corruption. The course was unique because it showed how the private sector could, through collaborative action, help develop the
public sector’s capacity in the area of anti-corruption.
Network launch: 2006
Number of business participants: 41
Number of non-business participants: 107
Total number Global Compact
Hosting organisation: The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG)
Key focus area: Anti-corruption
Notable fact: In 2010, NESG signed a project partnership agreement with the
Foundation for the Global Compact and the Global Compact Office
to implement an anti-corruption project aimed at creating fair market
conditions and fighting corruption.