The Nigerian Stock Exchange’s efforts to at promoting corporate social responsibility and sustainability received boost recently when the bourse was honored with the Best Corporate Social Responsibility Company Award in New York, United States at the African Business Awards. The African Business Awards, launched in 2008 by African Business magazine, is designed to celebrate excellence in African businesses, by recognizing the individuals and companies that are driving Africa’s rapidly transforming economy and creating new socio-economic opportunities for citizens and communities all over the continent.
The Managing Director of IC Publications and Group Publisher of African Business magazine, Mr. Omar Ben Yedder said “It is encouraging to read the many achievements that are taking place all over the continent, despite the headwinds and difficult global environment. The continent continues to be blessed with some remarkable individuals, who are driven and relentless in their ambitions to playing a transformative role. The calibre of entries is very high and continues to reflect and recognise Africa’s outstanding individuals and businesses. These entries are assessed by a judging panel of renowned individuals who are chosen for their expertise on the African Business Industry, with scores based on a set of qualitative and quantitative criteria”.
THE JOURNEY TO DOING GOOD
In 2013, The NSE took a bold step towards the actualization of its CSR programme by establishing a CSR Unit and the institution of a CSR strategy. This unveiling was part of the overall corporate transformation agenda of the bourse led by Oscar N. Onyema.
With a vision to be the foremost Africa’s securities exchange with core values of transparency, teamwork, integrity and professionalism, the exchange is committed to promoting market-based approach to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) imperatives.
The NSE plays a vital role in the economy of Nigeria by providing businesses with a platform for raising capital, and providing institutional and retail investors with the opportunity to invest through a robust market infrastructure that is anchored on the good governance and fair play.
This unique positioning to support growth in Africa’s largest economy comes with significant responsibilities. It is therefore imperative that the NSE provides an efficient and sustainable capital market that creates long-term value for its varied stakeholders by embracing opportunities, whilst at the same time managing the risks that derive from economic, environmental and social change.
According to the NSE, it therefore focused its strategy and the CSR governance structure to supports three central ambitions:
- To make responsible and sustainable business practices a core competence of our organisation, integrated into our daily business decisions and operations
- To provide opportunities for our stakeholders to make positive contributions towards a sustainable future
- Support the disclosure and provision of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) data to enable market participants to integrate these considerations into their investments activities and decisions.
THE FOUR PILLARS OF DOING GOOD
In line with global CSR best practice, NSE developed a strategic framework that sets out its commitments and priorities against four key impact areas for our business based on the material CSR risks and opportunities linked to the long-term success of the NSE and our stakeholders.
|Promoting market-based approach to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) imperatives amongst all stakeholders.||– Develop a sustainable capital market.|
– Maintain the highest standards of ethics and corporate governance.
– Ensure ethical and sustainable suppliers relations.
|Making positive contributions to the communities where we live and work.||– Support educational programs that increase financial literacy and capacity in our local communities.|
– Support initiatives that combat global and local health issues.
– Enable employees to contribute to their local community and support the NSE CSR plan through corporate volunteering.
|Fostering an engaging and high performing work environment that facilitates diversity, wellbeing and development of our people.||– Promote Diversity and Inclusion.|
– Facilitate Health, Safety And Wellbeing.
– Encourage Human Capital Development.
|Environment||Focusing on reducing the Exchange’s environmental impact||– Minimize our impact on the environment through increasing efficiency and reducing consumption.|
– Promote environmental awareness and sustainability.
NSE Joins the League
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), took a different and strategic step by publishing its first sustainability report. The report is titled, “Connecting Nigeria to the World Through a Sustainable Capital Market.”
The report, the NSE has said, demonstrates its commitment to increased disclosure, expanded stakeholder engagement and thought leadership on sustainability as a key aspect of its business strategy. The NSE said the report, which aligns with its corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework, showcases its performance along the four key impact areas it has devoted attention and resources. The key areas the NSE said include: Market place, Community, Workplace and the Environment.
“The NSE continues its journey to build a sustainable organisation through responsible and inclusive financial and investment services. Our major achievements include: launching the Alternative Securities Market (ASeM), a specialist board for the listing of SMEs, signing on to the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative and launching the Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS). Others are: forming a partnership with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to develop Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines in the Nigerian capital market and signing the UNGC Call to Action: Anti -Corruption and the Global Development Agenda
“The NSE is committed to supporting local communities through planned, shared-value social and economic investments that are aimed at creating much-needed opportunity and positive change. Key progress recorded include; hosting over 650 free capacity building workshops, and total of 81 TV & radio programmes to boost its financial inclusion programme and the successfully launching the annual Corporate Challenge competition that drew more than 850 participants from over 1000 companies together around the theme of cancer prevention and treatment over the past 2 years,” the NSE said.
Workplace and the Environment
As a responsible employer, the NSE said it strives towards building a strong and consistent relationship with all our employees, built on mutual respect and dignity.
According to the exchange, “We provide a safe work environment while ensuring professional development opportunities. The following was recorded: Had an average of 96 per cent training participation over the last three years, achieved 38 per cent women in management positions, introduced an employee award scheme, the CEO Awards, to recognise outstanding performance and commenced Graduate Trainee programme to develop future leaders for the Nigerian capital market
“The NSE is committed to conducting its business in a way that protects the environment. Through an environmental management approach, the Exchange has been able to: Achieve a 70 per cent drop in power consumption by installing energy efficient LED lighting and computing infrastructure across the Head Office, launch the NSE Recycles campaign and conducted organisational waste audit and commenced an in-house recycling project whereby cans, glass & plastics are collected within our head office and recycled.
Commenting on the report Chief Executive Officer of the NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said: “Sustainability is a critical component of our business strategy and publication of this inaugural report marks a significant step towards greater transparency and robust engagement with our stakeholders and the communities that we operate in. It is about responsible and inclusive investment services, increasing opportunity, preserving resources, improving lives, creating jobs and meeting the needs of the various stakeholders that we serve. We will continue to leverage our CSR platforms to share how, through efficient utilization of resources, support of our committed employees and partners, we are transforming lives and communities.”
Onyema added that to ensure that there is effective integration of our Corporate Responsibility (CR) goals across the organisation, The National Council through the Executive Committee provides governance oversight for the management of sustainability in the Exchange. Currently, The NSE Executive Committee also serves as the CR committee.
“As the NSE is a self-regulatory organisation, the council is also responsible for ensuring that it meets all the conditions of its license as prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market), and contained in the in the Investment and Securities Act, 2007.
In 2015, we plan to increase our stakeholder engagement, encourage employees to get more involved in our operating community and commence the process of phased introduction of Sustainability Disclosure in the Nigeria capital market. We welcome your comments and are open to suggestions that will enhance our future endeavours, “he said.