As the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly winds up in New York, USA today (September 27), Dangote employees across the Group’s operations in Africa are implementing various initiatives aimed at empowering their host communities and ensuring a sustainable present and future for the conglomerate.
The initiatives form part of the activities to mark the Dangote 2021 Sustainability Week, a purely volunteering process among employees of the Group, with the theme “Building a Sustainable Future – The Dangote Way”. The Week begins on September 27 and ends on September 30.
The theme for this year’s Dangote Sustainability Week is in tandem with the theme of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 76), which is “Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations.” The UNGA is the main policy-making organ of the global Organisation comprising 193 Members States, among them Nigeria.
This year’s theme and initiatives, according to the Sustainability Unit at the Dangote Group Head Office at Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos State, are focused around six core UN SDGs – SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing), SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), and SDG 13 (Climate Action).
For the 2021 Sustainability Week, Dangote employee volunteers and numerous Sustainability Champions are expected to undertake empowerment and development initiatives in their host communities across the Group, with activities monitored by the Sustainability Function. The events will avail sustainability champions across Dangote operations the opportunity to execute social projects that align with the Group’s community engagement objectives and with optimum benefits for local beneficiaries.
The Week is aimed to help project the social side of the Dangote brand, helping to build goodwill and cordiality with host communities, thereby enhancing the Group’s social license to operate.
There would be empowerment and sustainable activities at Dangote Cement Cameroon, Dangote Cement Congo, Dangote Cement Ethiopia, Dangote Cement Gboko plant in Nigeria, Dangote Cement Ghana, Greenview Limited, Dangote Cement Ibese in Nigeria, NASCON Allied Industries (Dangote Salt), and Dangote Cement Obajana in Nigeria.
Other participating Business Units include Aliko Dangote Foundation, Dangote Packaging, Dangote Rice Limited, Dangote Cement Senegal, Dangote Cement Sierra Leone, Dangote Cement South Africa, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement Tanzania, Dangote Transport, and Dangote Cement Zambia.
At the DIL Head Office at Ikoyi, Lagos, the Sustainability Function, in collaboration with the Group HSSE, Human Resources, and Corporate Communications will organize an Outreach Programme for physically challenged persons at the Pacelli School for the Blind, Surulere, Lagos; and the Lagos State-owned Old People’s Home, Sabo-Yaba. This will involve the donation of basic food items and other consumables, accompanied by a pep talk and awareness session on good hygiene and COVID-19 prevention; in line with Goals 2 & 3 of the UN SDGs.
Another proposed initiative at the Head Office is the ‘Waste as Public Health Risk’ Campaign, in line with Goals 3, 6, and 13 of the UN SDGs. This will involve an awareness campaign on the impacts of wastes (plastic wastes and poorly discarded COVID-19 PPEs such as facemasks, hand gloves e.t.c. on the environment and public health, and how to manage such wastes sustainably. Proposed beneficiaries include those at the Mammy Market, Falomo, Taxi drivers at Falomo bridge, and members of Police Officers’ Wives Association (POWA)/ Army Officers’ Wives Association, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos State.
As part of this year’s Sustainability Week, the Volunteers are collaborating with a waste off-taker to station a waste drop-off Bin at the Mammy market. Leveraging this initiative, over 400 women in the market will be able to drop off recyclable wastes that they have collected from the market or in their neighborhoods, and be paid based on the quantity or weight of the wastes that they drop off. It is therefore environmental stewardship as well as a wealth creation initiative for hundreds of women that use the market, and this is to be sustained even after the 2021 Dangote Sustainability Week.
To ensure compliance with the various health procedures and safety protocols adopted by the Group to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sustainability Unit, in collaboration with the Group Human Resources and Group Health, Safety, Social, and Environment Departments, also rolled out safety measures for all participating employee volunteers across all the Business Units for the Dangote Sustainability Week ending on September 30.
These include zero compromises in terms of compliance with COVID-19 precautionary measures. (facemasks, hand sanitizers, physical distance, ventilation, and up to 50% bus occupancy rate). There is also a reduction in the number of volunteers embarking on field visits (group outreach programmes, etc); e.g. 50% reduction in the number of persons that would have participated.
The BUs are also to ensure that vulnerable employees or those who may be at higher risk of serious illness (e.g. older employees i.e. > 65 years old and those with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart, and lung disease) are advised not to participate physically in these events.