In a world reeling from the impacts of climate change, the Africa Climate Summit provides a beacon of hope and collaboration. Despite contributing a mere five per cent to global climate change, Africa bears the brunt of its devastating consequences. The urgency to act is palpable, as recent events like China’s harrowing floods underscore the importance of collective action.
Diversity and resilience define Africa’s essence, making it a longstanding frontrunner in the climate crisis. Its people grapple directly with escalating climate challenges. The need for a united response is paramount as the goal is to secure a sustainable future for generations to come.
Climate change effects are far-reaching, spanning from parched Sahel lands to vibrant Cape of Good Hope coasts. Rising temperatures and erratic weather jeopardise livelihoods. Even daily sustenance faces disruption as water grows scarcer and costs soar.
Yet, amid these challenges, optimism shines. The summit showcases collective determination to alter the climate change course. Our strength lies in collaboration –collaboration is the bedrock, uniting governments, businesses, communities, and individuals in a shared mission to protect the planet.
Individual actions, seemingly small, ripple into significant change. Reflecting on personal tree-planting history underscores that change begins with us. Backing sustainable organisations and making mindful choices can push industries toward eco-friendly practices.
The finance sector, a global economic powerhouse, is pivotal in this transformation. The shift towards Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) indicators underscores the growing recognition of non-financial factors in assessing a company’s performance.
In Kenya, this trend finds expression in the Companies Act and initiatives like the ESG Manual, a collaborative effort by the Nairobi Securities Exchange and the Global Reporting Initiative.
Integrating ESG goals into corporate culture and decision-making structures fosters a genuine dedication to change. Effective navigation necessitates equipping decision-makers with knowledge and resources. Informed choices stem from well-prepared minds. This empowerment extends beyond boardrooms to Kenya’s dynamic youth.
Conferences such as the Public Finance Conference by Association of Women Accountants Kenya (Awak) to be held in November 2023 are some of the platforms to bridge information gaps and capacity for credible ESG reporting. While progress is evident, challenges linger. Inconsistent sustainability claims, known as greenwashing, underscore the need for vigilance.
Africa’s journey towards a sustainable future is a tapestry woven with many threads. From dismantling outdated norms to fostering a culture of accountability, every action contributes to this transformation. It’s time to champion ESG principles not just in words, but in every facet of business – a cultural shift that aligns decisions with the planet’s well-being. In unity lies our strength, and the time for action is now.
Dr Koech, PhD, Business Administration Expert and Board Member, Association of Women Accountants [email protected]