Dr. Army Jadesimi, The Managing Director of LADOL Free Zone, has stated that Lagos State can take a share of a new USD 12 trillion markets by creating fair competition that enables private sector companies to compete and grow sustainable businesses. For almost all the new jobs the world needs, the private sector will create 680 million, particularly SMEs–the most profitable of these growing companies will be those that embrace sustainable business plans and targets.
Dr. Jadesimi made her remarks at the Ehingbeti Lagos Economic Summit 2021, in a panel season tagged ‘Mainstreaming Sustainability in Governance and Business’. Other members of the panels were Mr. Young David, MD & Senior Partner, BCG; Dr. Gloria Udoh, Social Performance Manager, Shell; Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, GM External Affairs, and Communication, Director AGPC (Anoh Gas Processing Company) Seplat; Mrs. Titilola Alabi, Sustainability & Public Affairs Manager, Diageo Nigeria.
“To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we have to embrace the fact that the private sector is going to be the driver. In a country like Nigeria and in states like Lagos, it is the private sector, large or small, that is going to be critical. There is a great opportunity for low-income, high-growth countries like Nigeria to correct our market failures by enabling our private sector to adopt sustainable business models. Lagos State can go a step further and push faster implementation and growth of companies in the state by working with organizations such as the UNDP. UNDP has recently launched its SDG Impact Standards to support funds in driving capital to where it is most needed. UNDP’s suite of impact standards will help make sustainable businesses bankable, based on a market case, and give them greater access to funding. The Nigerian private sector has proven itself to be hardworking and resilient, with fair competition and wide acceptance of Impact standards as criteria for funding, the private sector can soar.”
Dr. Jadesimi was a Commissioner on the Business and Sustainable development Commission that produced the 2017 report, “Better Business Better World”. The report identified 60 biggest market opportunities related to delivering the Global Goals, in four verticals of Food & Agriculture; Cities; Energy & Materials; Health & Well-Being. The Commission’s work showed how achieving the Global Goals opens an economic prize of at least US$12 trillion by 2030 for the private sector and potentially 2-3 times more. Well over 50 percent of the prize is in high-growth, low-income countries. Achieving the Global Goals in these four economic verticals could create 380 million new jobs by 2030, almost 90 percent of them in developing countries. One market hot spot, affordable housing, accounts for almost one-fifth (70 million) of these jobs. Pricing in environmental costs such as climate change increases the “real” size of the prize by a further 40 percent, and we now associate this report with the case for sustainable business. In short, companies with a sustainable business model will be the most profitable and competitive, those without one will probably fall out of the market. Lagos is already a powerhouse for Africa–by driving sustainable private entrepreneurship and commerce, creating fair competition, and adopting impact standards such as those produced by the UNDP–Lagos could shortly be transformed into a powerhouse for the world.