How Sustainability Guarantees Continuity of any Going Concern – ICSAN President
The President/ Chairman in Council of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN), Mr. Bode Ayeku has submitted that the concept of sustainability should be the new currency both in public and private sectors, as it critically examines and seeks to guarantee continuity of any going concern or establishment.
The ICSAN president made this submission as he decried as outdated the traditional model of business operations where the emphasis is solely on profit generation to the detriment of other stakeholders-focused considerations like the environment and social issues.
Mr. Ayeku made this disclosure during this year’s ICAN public lecture (2021), a virtual conference, with the theme “Sustainability Beyond Rhetoric as a Corporate Survival Strategy”.
According to Mr. Ayeku, the popular model nowadays is the one that places adequate emphasis on much more expanded considerations on the environmental and social issues, though this is intertwined with the profitability factor in business decision making in such a way that none is compromised.
“Sustainability concepts as espoused in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) therefore refers to the inclusion of the non-financial topics within investment decision-making. It is a business approach that, through policy mainstreaming, seeks to build long-term competitiveness without unduly compromising short-term profitability and cash flows”, he further said.
Dwelling on the role and importance of the ICSAN in corporate governance and sustainability issues, the ICSAN President explained that year in year out, the Institute has consistently chosen very apt and trendy themes for her Annual Public Lecture (and indeed for all her programmes) and this year’s theme is not an exception.
“If you look at the concept of sustainability in Corporate Governance, you will realise it is a very important concept. Failure to get sustainability right spells doom for any company and organisation. It is a concept that critically examines and seeks to guarantee continuity of any going concern or establishment.
According to him, the challenges foisted by COVID 19 pandemic has exacerbated the problems of sustainability in many companies and industries adding that the concept has become more relevant now.
While underscoring the importance of the concept, Mr. Ayeku asked, “in practice, how many organisations or people are really committed to the ideals of sustainability?
For him, sustainability beyond rhetoric, should mean sustainability beyond mere words, beyond mere lip service, sustainability beyond mere box-ticking; a kind of “they say we should comply and we have complied.”
He, therefore, urged government, business and all to be genuinely committed to the principles and ideals of sustainability adding that it is when there is a genuine adherence to the principles of sustainability that it can serve as a corporate survival strategy.
“Rather than the obsession with rhetoric, it is imperative that companies develop and practice guidelines which encourage and enable businesses to go beyond basic compliance and embrace sustainability principles anchored on responsible business conduct as part of their operational ethos”, he further counseled.