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29 November 2017: Global Compact Kenya in collaboration with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) held a half day workshop on governance and sustainability reporting. The workshop convened 53 participants from business and non-business entities.

  
(L-R) Mr. Mohammed Nyaoga giving the Key note address and participants at the workshop

Delivering the Key Note address, Central Bank of Kenya Chairman Mr. Mohammed Nyaoga observed that in the last decade, the world has witnessed the emergence of what is commonly referred to as the 'third generation' of corporate governance with an emphasis on sustainability, where the first and second wave focused on legal issues, structures, individual competencies, board independence and stakeholder engagement.

'Sound and effective corporate governance cannot solely rely on the legislative framework, it requires self-discipline and the proper execution of duties by directors and managers of corporate organizations, checks and balances and the promotion of an ethical corporate culture. The tone at the top is key because it drives the behavior of the whole organization all the way from the chairman, the board and down to the front line' said Mr. Nyaoga.

The workshop featured two panel discussions on corporate governance and disclosure for companies and investors; and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosures. The panel on corporate governance moderated by  Paul Ouma, CEO of Institute for Family business comprised of seasoned practitioners in the field such as Stefan Handoyo - Program Lead, International Finance corporation (IFC), Joseph Githaiga- Head of Regulatory Compliance and Advisory, PwC, Duncan Watta- Chairman, Institute Of Directors (IOD) and Wanjiru Kirima- Director, Alternative Prosperity.

        
(L-R) Mr. Paul Ouma, Ms. Wanjiru Kirima, Mr. Duncan Watta, Mr. Joseph Githaiga, Mr. Stefan Handoyo

Stefan Handoyo implored companies to put more emphasis on non-financial reporting to incorporate issues of strategy, history of the board, environment and social policies, as these issues inform investors decisions. He further mentioned that IFC is trying  to be a catalyst, encouraging the uptake of corporate governance, emphasizing that "transparency is the mother of all integrated reporting".

Joseph Githaiga in his remarks observed that Kenya has a comprehensive Companies Act with enhanced set of Directors’ duties critical among which is to promote the success of the company while taking into account the well-being of stakeholders. He also pointed to  efforts by  individual associations such as the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) that has developed a Code of Corporate Governance. The Code sets out the principles and specific recommendations on the structures and processes that companies should adopt in making good corporate governance an integral part of their business dealings and culture. The Code advocates for the application of standards that go beyond the minimum prescribed by legislation.

CMA has also introduced a Stewardship Code which encourages the institution investment community to serve as responsible stewards for their beneficiaries and to help promote good corporate governance and the sustainable success of listed companies. In his closing statement Joseph discussed the role of media in promoting good corporate governance by increasing coverage of such issues.

In his remarks, Duncan Watta said that sustainability reporting is an imperative for all companies regardless of sector. He noted that Kenya struggles with enforcement of good corporate governance, and should borrow a leaf from other countries where stakeholders play a key role in driving corporate accountability. He further mentioned that Kenya should consider making governance and sustainability disclosures mandatory and highlighted trends in other countries where non-disclosure cost companies a lot in mergers and acquisitions. "As we promote governance, we should promote sustainability reporting. Encourage board committees to push for compliance and set apart a committee for compliance. Directors have to be responsible for sustainability." Mr. Watta concluded.

Ms. Wanjiru Kirima in her opening remarks noted that "what gets measured gets done."  She advised that the role of the board in ensuring good corporate governance should be complemented by wider stakeholder engagement. She challenged companies to go over and beyond compliance to codes to understand and disseminate actions around their ESG performance.  Companies were also encouraged to start their sustainability journey slowly and measure progress while managing risks in the process. She reiterated the need to make integrated reporting a requirement rather than voluntary and to put checks and balances in order to make the country investor friendly. She encouraged companies to consider having sustainability issues in Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to allow proper uptake and accountability.

            
(L-R) Mr. Douglas Kativu, Ms. Felicitas Irungu, Mr. Mumo Kivuitu, Ms. Karen Basiye, Ms. Judy Njino

The Second Panel on ESG Disclosures was moderated by Douglas Kativu of GRI and comprised of  Felicitas Irungu of FKA Consultants, Mumo Kivuitu of EBS Advisory, Karen Basiye of Safaricom and Judy Njino of Global Compact- Kenya

Karen Basiye opened the panel observing that the short-term pursuit of profits by companies remains a major hindrance in adopting sustainability as a key business strategy. She shared with participants Safaricom's sustainability journey, noting the important role played by the senior management and the  board in driving the agenda. In doing so, the company was able to make honest disclosures around critical sustainability issues it was facing such as gender equality, carbon emissions, salary disparities and innovation. She further challenged the media to focus on presenting a balanced view of a company's disclosures and not just the negative aspects. She ended her remarks encouraging companies to work up to the transformative level where they do what is right because its the right thing to do.

Mumo Kivuitu in his remarks stated that  the business case for sustainability in Kenya is yet to be crystallized. In seeking to identify the true value of a company, he challenged participants to reflect on who benefits from the existence of their business and how the country can create a more enabling environment for businesses that are playing by the rules.

Felicitas Irungu stated in her remarks that when one starts a business, one wants it to be a success and around in the next 5,10 years, noting that sustainability is that simple. She reiterated the need to educate all stakeholders on the importance of sustainability, noting that non-financial factors also determine the bottom line. 'In the process of sustainability reporting, a business is able to identify and mitigate risks. It also helps business improve on their day to day operations. Business as usual no longer works.' She added also noting the need to measure sustainable performance of employees. In regards to the education curriculum, she stressed on the need to introduce sustainability at an early level so it is embraced.

Judy Njino gave a brief background on the UN Global Compact, with the Kenya Network being strategically positioned to support companies in their sustainability journey. She informed participants that SME’s are the main drivers of the global economy and will play a key role in delivering on the sustainable development agenda provided they leveraged on good governance and sustainability as a means to advance their own business goals. She noted that more action is needed to incentivize good behavior in the private sector. She called on  companies to take advantage of the vast library of sustainability materials to aid in corporate reporting available here

Click here to view photos of the event.
 

Bonn, 15 November 2017: Leaders from business, civil society, Government and the United Nations convened in Bonn to discuss an accelerated pathway forward towards implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the COP 23/CMP 13: High-Level Meeting of Caring for Climate.


Jointly hosted by the UN Global Compact, UN Environment Programme and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat, the meeting served as a high-level stakeholder consultation — with a focus on business engagement — to inform the process leading up to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit to be held in 2019.  

In the opening address of the High-Level Meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on business to urge Governments to make stronger commitments by 2020, saying, “Be more vocal, be more demanding… I am asking you to misbehave. Make sure that your voice is heard and… that you are clearly demonstrating [climate action] in the way you invest and the way you act as entrepreneurs in today’s world.” Underscoring the importance of the next two years, the Secretary-General added, “We need to make sure that the agreements that are made are fully implemented, but that we go beyond that. In 2020, there will be stronger commitments than the ones that were made in Paris [at COP 21].”

Fijian Minister Inia Seruiratu, High-Level Climate Champion reiterated the show of progress by business and non-state actors to accelerate climate action and called for all actors to embrace the Marrakech Partnership for Climate Action. Reflecting on the moral case for responsible corporate action, he added, “Development is not only about economic gains. Development at the expense of the environment is irresponsible development. And development at the expense of the people with serious social implications is also not responsible development.”

Discussing the importance of corporate climate action leading up to 2020, Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, observed that mainstream business are still continuing with a business-as-usual scenario.” She added: “Global leaders have the power to accelerate ambition and action — we need to embrace a new era of business-unusual.”

The day also saw the release of the 
Global Climate Action Playbook 2018, which equips business with a set of policy updates, tools and analysis to enhance Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the SDGs. Launched by the UN Global Compact together with its partners, including the World Resources Institute, the Playbook is designed to help business and Governments work together to enhance country level ambition and action to implement the Paris Agreement leading up to 2020.  

Kenya through the ministry of Environment and Natural Resources launched the Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (GESIP)  in 2016 to enable Kenya to attain a higher economic growth rate consistent with Vision 2030, the strategy firmly embeds the principles of sustainable development in the overall national growth strategy. The policy framework for Green Economy is designed to support a globally competitive low carbon development path through promoting economic resilience and resource efficiency, sustainable management of natural resources, development of sustainable infrastructure and providing support for social inclusion

In 2016, Kenya made a commitment to the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. To achieve this the country seeks to promote  and implement the following mitigation activities
  • Expansion in geothermal, solar and wind energy production, other renewables and clean energy options. Enhancement of Energy and resource efficiency across the different sectors.
  • Make progress towards achieving a tree cover of at least 10% of the land area of Kenya.
  • Clean energy technologies to reduce over - reliance on wood fuels.
  • Low carbon and efficient transportation systems.
  • Climate smart agriculture (CSA) in line with the National CSA Framework.
  • Sustainable waste management systems.

  Explore our resources:

                        
              (L) Ms. Lise Kingo (R) Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, Ms. Olajobi Makinwa

9th November, 2017, Nairobi: UN Global Compact CEO and Executive Director Ms. Lise Kingo hosted a CEO’s Dialogue with business leaders in Kenya on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),  to identify untapped opportunities for companies to deliver accelerated impact on the SDGs. 

Speaking during the event Ms. Lise Kingo called on business to implement the SDGs and look at the global goals as a way of turning risks into opportunities. “The  SDGs present 1.1 trillion US dollars potential for business in Africa and creation of  up to 85 Million new jobs. There is so much that business can do to implement the SDGs,” said Ms. Kingo.

The SDGs launched in 2015 seek to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. They call on companies everywhere to advance sustainable development through the investments they make, the solutions they develop, and the business practices they adopt.

A survey conducted by the United Nations Global Compact targeting over nine thousand participating companies worldwide reveals that 85% of African companies are already taking action on the SDGs. With key focus on SDG 8 to provide decent work and economic growth, SDG 5 to achieve gender equality and SDG 3 to provide good health and promote well being. Globally, sustainability is gaining strategic ground and Africa as the hub of innovation and entrepreneurship is expected to play a key role in delivering on the global goals. 

                                     

                                     (L) Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee (R) Participants of the CEO Dialogue


Speaking at the session, the Kenya UN Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee pointed out  that the main movers of an economy are access to health and basic education.  “Health & Agribusiness are the two turning points to deliver the world we want in Africa & in Kenya. These two are sectors are expected to provide the greatest potential for Socio-economic transformation.” He added.

Speaking during the dialogue, the Global Compact Kenya Network Representative and Kenya Association of Manufacturers Chief Executive Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga noted that Kenya possesses numerous untapped opportunities in reference to the SDGs.

This dialogue session seeks to explore opportunities to deliver accelerated impact on the SDGs. We’re glad to see that our members have identified and continue to implement the goals, we will continue to build their capacity and we call on other businesses to implement the goals,” added Ms. Wakiaga. Kenya currently has over 700 signatory companies committing to responsible and sustainable business practice and will require a national movement to deliver transformative change.
 
The event drew participants from various sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications and the service sector. The participants shared their companies' implementation of the SDGs, with key goals being:  SDG 3 to provide Good health and ensure well being for all, SDG 5 to achieve gender equality, SDG 7 to provide  affordable and clean energy,  SDG 8 to promote sustainable economic growth and decent work, SDG 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, SDG 15 on Life on Land. 

The participants shared the challenges encountered in the implementation of the SDGs, they include:

  • Localizing and actualizing the opportunities presented by the goals
  • Inclusion of the private sector in the implementation and reporting on the SDGs
  • The representation of men professionals in the healthcare and recycling sectors
  • Corporates take on issues like tree planting like Publicity stunts
  • Corporates fail to talk about the future and set short term goals
  • Lack of Security in the Oil and Gas exploration sector
  • How to deal with controversial issues such as piracy while respecting Human Rights
  • Lack of co-operation when dealing with government on implementation and reporting on the goals
  • Corruption when dealing with government agencies