February 25, 2022 - 5 minutes read

UNGC launch of Africa strategy on corporate sustainability expected to scale responsible business practices

By Abigael Ndanu

The UNGC, which is a non-binding United Nations pact, encourages businesses and firms worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation. Under the Global Compact, companies are brought together with UN agencies, labour groups and civil society.

UNGC being the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative founded in 2000 by the previous UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, enables businesses to be a part of the solution for a more sustainable, peaceful, and inclusive global economy by promoting globally responsible business practices. They therefore call companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption and take strategic actions to advance societal goals.

UNGC launched the UN Global Compact Africa Strategy at the UN headquarters in New York, September 2021. The strategy seeks to advance corporate sustainability and scale up responsible business practices across the continent in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The strategy will accelerate impact with a multifaceted approach that is built upon four essential factors: a clear strategic vision, a well-defined and compelling value proposition, an ambitious and targeted growth plan, and a fit-for-purpose operating model.

UNGC Africa Strategy vision is to pursue three strategic objectives in Africa:

  • Grow impact through focus;
  • Drive inclusive impact;
  • Leverage associations, supply chains, and sources of capital.

On February 22, the Africa Strategy for the period 2021-2023 which aims to mobilize businesses for impact in Africa was launched at Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi, Kenya, by members of Global Compact Kenya.

The Africa UNGC strategy will advance corporate sustainability and scale up responsible business operations in the country. During the launch, sustainability champions were inducted on how to align their business strategy and operations with the Ten Principles of UNGC to take action in the achievement of SDGs. The Government of Kenya (GoK) exchanged ideas with the Private Sector on how to strengthen mutual collaboration and harness business opportunities within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

During the CEO’s round table, Trade Principal Secretary Amb. Johnson Weru mentioned that the Private Sector continues to be a strategic partner of the GoK in policy formulation, regulation and in the expansion of trade and investments, and the creation of markets for Kenyan goods and services.

KCB being a member of UNGC Kenya, has aligned it’s activities with Global Compact principles. As a result, the bank has been able to map their SDGs and report on progress identifying key areas of impact for the society and the environment. In 2021, KCB was ranked 8th globally by Fortune Change the World List as one of the institutions including the profit motive to address society’s unmet needs to create shared value.

As a UNGC member, it’s a mandatory requirement for companies to annually report on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impact. Kakuzi, also being a member of Global Compact Kenya, has been granted the opportunity to highlight its sustainable initiatives and communicate their positive impact to the communities and environment to their stakeholders. This has enabled Kakuzi to have a strong brand reputation and retain their investors despite the critics around them following the launch of their 2020 ESG report.

This strategy will go a long way in giving a clear guide on key areas of business focus for the achievement of a sustainable and an inclusive future. Embracing sustainability as a company will foster greater innovation, open new opportunities, create predictability, and de-risk investment.

Companies seeking to lead a sustainable business can become a member of UNGC by registering via the link below.

https://www.unglobalcompact.org/participation/join/application

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