Safaricom launches Sustainable Development Goals Strategy
Last week, Safaricom launched their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) strategy in a colourful event in Nairobi. The event marked the first public commitment to the SDGs made by a company in Kenya since they were launched last year. In his opening remarks, Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore noted that the SDGs usher in a new era of sustainability. He therefore urged companies in Kenya to get ready to take on the SDGs agenda as these goals provide a platform to pursue new opportunities for business. To do this, companies must challenge their current practices and address poverty, inequality and environmental challenges. The SDGs make good business sense. Businesses cannot be successful when the society around them fails. They need to look at the future and develop products and services now that will help to tackle future challenges. Global Compact has developed guides to support businesses in aligning strategies with the SDGs.
Safaricom’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, Sanda Ojiambo then presented the company’s SDGs strategy for business, which is, centred around 3 business pillars, 9 SDGs and one purpose. In her presentation, she was emphatic that businesses need to recognise the power they have in shaping development through these global goals.
This gave way to the keynote speech by Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary General to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He urged business enterprises to lead the way in adopting the Sustainable Development Goals by coming up with smart and innovative solutions to benefit all. For example, there’s no minimum wage limit in Ethiopia’s manufacturing industry. What then does that say about the future of apparel manufacturing in Kenya? His address centered around 3 key points: critical actions must follow decisions made, smart partnerships with government, civil society and private sector are key and, finally, international responsibility with shared differential balance according to abilities must be underlined. These three issues pervade all multilateral efforts being made today to combat contemporary challenges from climate change to corruption to trade. Dr. Kituyi wrapped up his address with the observation that Africa is the theatre where the SDGs3 will succeed or fail.
Hats off to Safaricom for their leadership and commitment to doing business sustainably.