Nigeria Joins League Of Nations, Standardizes Social Responsibility
History was made when Nigeria formally launched a standard to guide social responsibility practices in Nigeria.
Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) in collaboration with her knowledge partner, ThistlePraxis Consulting (TPC) formally presented the new Nigerian Standard to a cross section of stakeholders at the Southern Sun Hotel on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.
The launch which marks the inception of a standardized approach to implementing social responsibility by organizations of all sizes and in all sectors; also serves as a tool to enshrine socially responsible business practices in Nigeria. The standard was formally launched by the Honourable Minister for Industry, Trade & Investment, represented by the CEO, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Jim Obazee. In attendance were Technical Partner representatives from organizations, who contributed their expertise to the process of adoption, which began July 2012. Sponsors of the adoption process include Etisalat Nigeria, Nigeria Breweries Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), while ThistlePraxis Consulting Limited (TPC) served as Knowledge Partner to the process.
In a welcome address, the Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph I. Odumodu explained that “The standard is about how you do your business, and not about how much money you give; it is about top management’s commitment on how business operations are done in a way that prevents negative impact on the environment; it is about aligning business strategies in conformity with the ISO standards”. He further stated that the NIS: ISO 26000 is a framework for Nigeria to implement and apply the standard in daily organizational procedures and practices.
Commending the SON on this noble feat, Lead Consultant/CEO of TPC, Ini Onuk expressed her excitement on the institutional leadership exhibited by the national standard body. She highlighted that the launch coincided with TPC’s partnership with The CSR Company International on an ISO 26000 Toolkit™, a groundbreaking software for the implementation of ISO 26000 and a CSR Label, a social responsibility product label and audit service in Africa. She advised that organizations should not only talk about social responsibility, but integrate it into business strategies and operations.
Representative of the Lead Sponsor of the process, Ndidi Okpaluba, Director of Operational Strategy, stated that Etisalat is committed to the development of Social Responsibility in Nigeria. She also announced the commencement of the first MSc programme in Telecommunications Engineering currently offered in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU). This, she explained is act to encourage more Public Private Partnerships in ensuring tangible social impact to the Nigerian educational sector.
The Honourable Minister for Industry, Trade & Investment encouraged the SON to liaise with all relevant agencies of Government to create the necessary awareness and ensure copies of the Standard are made readily available to the broad spectrum of stakeholders for implementation as required. The adoption ceremony which attracted participants from corporate organizations involved as technical partners include First Bank of Nigeria First Bank Plc, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigerian Breweries Plc. Members of other organizations present were: Mantrac, Keystone Bank, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Siemens Nigeria, Promasidor, NNPC/NAPIMS, Nigerian Bottling Company, NESREA, Bridge Clinic, Caritas Communication amongst others as well as several media organizations.
Prior to the launch, the Nigeria Adoption process commenced in July 2012 with an invitation to interested corporate organizations to participate as Technical Partners as well as government departments, ministries, agencies and parastatals. As technical partners, organizations will benefit from global recognition as industry leaders and pioneer institutions in promoting Social Responsibility standards in Nigeria. SON and TPC have also promised special recognition and further technical support to participating organizations after the successful completion of this exercise. The process commenced with a workshop and technical meeting on Tuesday, July 31 and Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja and another in October 2012 in Lagos. These meetings were attended by the six main stakeholder groups: Industry, Government, Labour, Consumers, Nongovernmental Organizations, Service, Support, Research and others; as well as a geographical and gender-based balance of participants.
ISO 26000 is an International Standard (by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) elaborated to guide organizations on Social Responsibility. It is a consensus guidance document that provides support or a reference for all kinds of organizations in both private and public sectors both in developed and developing countries, as well as those who may be referred to as ‘being in transition’. In July 2010, at the 9th Plenary meeting of the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility (ISO/WG/SR) held in Copenhagen, 450 participating experts and 210 observers from 99 ISO member countries which included Nigeria and 42 liaison organizations deliberated and ratified the Final draft standard.
Nigeria joins many other African countries such as Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa, Senegal, Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Ghana who have adopted the standard. The ISO26000: NAP Secretariat will remain open for the next 12 months for organizations interested in using the standard as a guide for their CSR reports. Online resources will also be made available during this period via a blog and also for local and foreign observers. Interested individuals are encouraged to visit for requests, comments, suggestions and input, accordingly.