Nigerian Sustainability Expert, Bekeme Olowola Joins Global Reporting Initiative as Group Moves to Boost Africa’s Economic Growth

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The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the world’s leading sustainability impact measurement and reporting standards body, has appointed Nigerian national, Bekeme Olowola as a member of its Board of Directors.

Olowola, who is Founder and Chief Executive of consulting firm and think tank, CSR-in-Action, will be headquartered in Nigeria where she will be joining a leading group of global sustainability professionals.

She is the first West African member on the Board of Directors and will be commencing her 3-year appointment on January 1st, 2019. She was appointed alongside Mr. Jack Ehnes, Chief Executive Officer for The California State Teachers Employees’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), USA and Dr. Jianzhong Lu, China President of Weir Group, China.

GRI, which is based in Amsterdam, is an independent international organisation that pioneered sustainability reporting globally. It currently serves a global audience through regional hubs in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, South Africa and the United States. GRI reports are produced in more than 100 countries.

The GRI board appointment process is rigorous and meritorious. Other current board members include Tim Mohin, Chief Executive of GRI; Prof. Alexandra Watson, Vice-Chairman, GRI Board; Girish Ramachandran, President, Tata Consultancy Services Asia Pacific, Singapore; Mr. Peter H. Y. Wong, Chairman of General Fiduciary Company Limited, Hong Kong SAR; Dr. Roberto F. de Ocampo, OBE, Founding Partner of Centennial Group International, Philippines and Sandra Guerra, Managing Director, Better Governance, Brazil.

“They are joining at an exciting time, as GRI navigates towards the consolidation of its strategy and uncovers new opportunities for growth,” said Eric Hespenheide, Chairman, GRI Board, a former Partner at Deloitte, who led their global sustainability reporting and assurance practice.

According to GRI, the latest “appointments reflect GRI’s multi-stakeholder nature and commitment to gender, regional and background diversity.”

“I am humbled by this appointment. It tells me that the GRI is committed to engaging its most crucial stakeholders honourably and to pursuing an African agenda,” Olowola commented.

A social entrepreneur, Olowola is the Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action, a group made of a consulting firm, a think tank and a training institute dedicated to corporate social responsibility, policy development, advocacy, empowerment and sustainable development in the region.

Under Olowola, CSR-in-Action has promoted sustainable measurement and reporting using the GRI framework, specifically, since 2011, and has catalysed the growth of sustainability adoption and transparency through corporations’ production of annual report.

CSR-in-Action produces the pioneer sustainability investment report in Nigeria The Collective Social Report: Nigeria (now The Corporate Sustainable Investor Report), endorsed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and supported by United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in 2012; a first of its kind compendium which includes a rating of business sustainability performance.

Bekeme Olowola helped establish the Business Coalition for Sustainable Development Nigeria (BCSDN) in May 2014, an initiative affiliated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), made up of a coalition of leading businesses across all sectors to drive collective development.

“I remain convinced that Africa is ripe for advancing and embedding sustainability practices and that the GRI is a valid partner to work with to drive the sustainability agenda even more than ever,” she said following her appointment.

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