Oando PLC, Nigeria’s leading indigenous energy solutions provider, endorsed and celebrated the United Nations’ (UN) 75th anniversary by joining over 1,250 business leaders from more than 100 countries, to pledge support for the UN and inclusive multilateralism Statement for Renewed Global Cooperation.
Oando who was the only indigenous Nigerian oil and gas company along with signatories to the Statement including Coca-Cola, Microsoft, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Nokia, PwC, L’Oréal amongst others, committed to further enhancing corporate governance, modeling ethical leadership, and tackling systemic inequalities as well as injustices in the world. The business leaders expressed a renewed global cooperation among public and private entities to strengthen institutions as well as laws and systems, nationally and internationally. They are also committed to demonstrating accountability and conducting business in an ethical, inclusive transparent manner.
The Statement of support was presented to UN Secretary-General, António Guterres by Sanda Ojiambo, the CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, at the opening of the Private Sector Forum on the sidelines of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly.
Commenting, Sanda Ojiambo said, “The Statement is a resounding endorsement of inclusive multilateralism. In no uncertain terms, it says that cooperation must cross borders, sectors and generations for us to adapt to changing circumstances. In the course of just one month after we issued the Statement, it has been signed by 1,294 CEOs from large, medium and small enterprises in virtually every industry and region. We deeply appreciate their commitment to global cooperation at a pivotal time for the UN and the world at large.”
The statement endorsed by CEOs states: “We, the business people, recognize that peace, justice and strong institutions are beneficial to the long-term viability of our organizations and are foundational for upholding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now is our opportunity to learn from our collective experiences to realign behind the mission of the UN and steer our world onto a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable path. We are in this together — and we are united in the business of a better world.”
Commenting, Ms. Jagun Ayotola Jagun, Chief Compliance Officer, Oando PLC, said; “Governments are under a lot of pressure financially to be able to deliver on the SDGs. The private sector also needs to take center stage and responsibility to support the realization of the SDGs. Businesses today must pivot; they can no longer be only about the bottom line. They must show compassion in how they conduct business to create a positive multiplier effect. At Oando, we are intentional about how we think and act as a business, our goal – ensuring that in everything we do we can positively impact people, the community, environment and planet.”
Oando was one of the 13 Nigerian companies to sign the Statement, testament to the company’s unwavering commitment to actualizing the SDGs and the company’s strong belief that the Government cannot do it alone. Oando’s commitment to the realization of the SDGs is rooted in its policies, practices and operations. Notable amongst these are SDG 4 & 5 on Education and gender equality respectively. Through Oando Foundation, the company’s independent charity, Oando is are focused on creating a sustainable and successful educational system in Nigeria via the holistic improvement of learning environments in primary schools.
This is done through the Foundation’s flagship and innovative programme – the Adopt-A-School Initiative (AASI). Today, the Foundation has adopted 88 public primary schools across Nigeria, supporting over 200,000 students, enrolled over 60,000 Out of School Children, trained 5,000+ teachers, carried out infrastructure rehabilitation on 54 schools and established 39 digital learning centers. Oando Foundation prioritizes the girl child in its scholar selection and award process, to date 618 female beneficiaries representing 55% of total scholars on the scheme as well as a Code Club for Girls. The Foundation also supports safe spaces for the girl child in local communities as an active member of the Safe Spaces Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Girl Hub Nigeria (GHN) and the Population Council Commission.
Oando is also a big proponent of Goal 16 for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. The company is the only Nigerian participant, in the Action Platform for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (“Action Platform”) alongside the likes of Anglo-American, APCO Worldwide, Enel, Leonardo, Linklaters, LRN Corporation, Baker McKenzie, L’Oreal, Nestle RELX, Safaricom, Sumitomo Chemical, Thomson Reuters and White & Case.
Aligned with the ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and the UN Sustainable Development Goals – specifically, Goal 16 – the Action Platform provides a forum for policy dialogue between Governments, businesses, the UN and civil society that results in concrete action towards improving accountability, integrity and transparency within businesses and the countries where they operate.
In 2019, Oando partnered with Accountability Lab, an advocacy Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), focused on establishing change-makers to develop and implement positive ideas that promote integrity within their communities to champion an initiative called the SDG 16 Innovation Challenge Nigeria. The SDG 16 Innovation Challenge is an initiative in the form of a competition to find creative solutions for justice in Nigeria. The competition is targeted at young men and women between the ages of 15 – 35 years tasked with developing ideas, building skills and connecting with like-minded peers working towards a shared goal of strengthening accountability, the rule of law and access to justice for Nigerians.
The 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and CEOs Statement comes at a time of unprecedented disruption and global transformation, serving as a stark reminder that international cooperation must be mobilized across borders, sectors and generations to adapt to changing circumstances. In the spirit of renewed global cooperation, public and private institutions need to show they are accountable, ethical, inclusive and transparent.