BY CHIOMA OBINAGWAM
IN order to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is need for strong partnership to exist among, governments, communities, companies and stakeholders.
The global Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, Paul Polman emphasized.
Polman who said this during an interactive session on theme: ‘Building sustainable and profitable businesses in volatile times’ noted the SDGs can only be achieved by tackling global issues in a systematic way but through collective action.
“It will take much more than one company, government or community to solve the challenges that face us. We need entirely new types of collaboration, innovation and partnership between these bodies if we are to drive collective action for a brighter and more sustainable future for all,” he said.
Polman noted that though Unilever has been championing the crusade on the SDGs, it would be impossible for it to solve challenge of poverty, inequality and climate change if others shy away from the course.
He also lamented that 40 per cent of the food that farmers produce are wasted and noted that they need to ensure that no part of the food value chain is wasted.
“We form alliances with government and agencies. It would be impossible for Unilever to deal with all the farmers in Nigeria one on one. We don’t have the capacity to do that. It is these partnerships that we need. All of our value chains are full of SMEs,” he stated.
He also noted that sustainability is quite profitable and disclosed that 61 per cent of the company’s agricultural raw materials are now sourced sustainably and have avoided costs of more than €600 million across its global factory network since 2008.
Collaborating, the executive governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources in the state, Olawale Oluwo said that the state is doing a lot through the new Ministry of Wealth Creation to support the sustainability campaign, particularly in the area of poverty reduction, inequality among others.
“We are doing a lot in Lagos state through the Ministry of Wealth Creation. Since the state discovered crude oil, we’ll focus only on crude oil for now until we’ve agreed on a more sustainable way of flaring gas,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Mutiu Summon noted that businesses need to understand that they cannot survive in a society that fails.
“It is obvious that businesses cannot survive in the long-term if it neglects societal well-being,” Summonu said.
He noted that there are a lot of resources available to SMEs, but advised that they do a lot of research to tap from it.