Private, public partnerships key to SDG achievement - Dr. Heymann-Adu

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
The Sustainability & Social Investment Award winners
The Sustainability & Social Investment Award winners

A Communications Specialist and journalism lecturer, Dr. Mrs. Diana Heymann-Adu, has called for more private, public partnership (PPP) initiatives to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She said in view of the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had exerted on businesses and the economy, there was the need for collaboration from multiple organisations and corporations working together to chart the path for recovery and economic rebuilding.

The journalism lecturer said the SDGs, which aimed at ending poverty, hunger, war, misery, unfairness and inequality, could be achieved through effective collaboration between the government and the private sector.

Dr. Heymann-Adu, who is the Chairperson of the Sustainability & Social Investment (SSI) Awards Board, said the government alone could not achieve the SDGs and much more the Agenda 2030.

She was speaking at 5th Sustainability & Social Investment (SSI) Awards in Accra, an event to recognise companies and individuals for their commitments to driving positive impact on the environment. Thirty-six companies and 13 individuals received awards in various categories.

The awards scheme is an initiative that creates awareness, encourages companies, corporate social investment and responsibility (CSI/CSR) foundations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other implementing agencies to deliver high impact CSR projects that align with the government’s SDGs focus areas.

The award scheme also seeks to reward the social impact of responsible businesses, institutions and persons, particularly in the localities where they operate.

The event, which is endorsed by the Ministry of Education, the National Road Safety Authority, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, as well as the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, brought together top-level performers from various multinational enterprises, NGOs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to network, review the year in perspective and set the tone for the coming year.

Present at the ceremony included the Director-General of the NRSA, Mrs. May Obiri Yeboah, the Chief Operations Officer of the SDG Advisory Unit, Office of the President, Ms. Leticia Browne, and the Abola Mantse and Chief Advisor to the Ga Mantse, Nii Ahene Nunu III.

CSOs, companies

Dr. Mrs. Heymann-Adu said the importance of the private sector's role, the need for PPP and civil society partnerships towards achieving SDGs could not be overemphasised.

Realistically, she noted, the 17 SDGs, which had been sub-divided into 169 targets and applicable to both developing and developed countries, might be difficult for any government or individual organisation alone to achieve.

She indicated that even though there were uncertainties in terms of how businesses and individual organisations could contribute towards the achievement of all the SDGs, it remained true that businesses had enormous power, resources and knowledge to assist in the achievements of these goals.

The SSI Awards board chairperson, who mentioned that businesses suffered the most as a result of over-reliance on global supply chains, urged companies and organisations to work towards self-reliance, sustainability and equality towards achieving the goals.

"These are pre-requisite requirement to meeting these goals," she said.

She noted that the successful implementation of the SDGs did not only present businesses with duties, but also strengthened the environment for doing business and built dynamic markets for businesses to grow.

"There are enormous opportunities for each of us as businesses, but sometimes these opportunities need us to join forces together," the journalism lecturer said.

"It should not be just what our individual businesses can do, but how we can collaborate with other businesses to attain a common goal," she added.

The awards board chairperson called on businesses and individuals to join forces with the government to help achieve these goals.

"Companies and Chief Executive Officers coming together and asking what can be done is the next edge of leadership,” Dr Mrs Heymann-Adu noted.

Impact investments

The President and Founder of the CSR Training Institute, Professor Wayne Dunn, on the night, challenged companies to start considering social impact investments as an avenue to create value.

Prof. Dunn, a new member of the SSI awarding board, said businesses should not consider such impact investments a cost unit, but rather as a means of improving and making society better.

Some winners

In all, 36 corporate bodies won awards in different categories.

They include MTN Ghana Foundation, Vodafone Ghana Foundation, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Volta River Authority, Anglogold Ashanti Ghana Limited, Ghana Shippers Authority and Bel Aqua Foundation.

For the personalities, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Asafo-Agyei Foundation, Dr. Asafo-Agyei Frempong and the Sustainability Manager of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Kwame Baah-Nuakoh, picked up the CEO of the year and the Personality of the year awards respectively, while the CEO of B5 Group, Mr. Mukesh V. Thakwani, received the Foreign Personality of the year award.

The Managing Director (MD) of Absa Bank Ghana, Mrs. Abena Osei-Poku and the MD of Zoomlion Ghana Ltd, Mrs. Gloria Opoku Anti, were honoured with the Women Empowerment Leadership, and the Sanitation Leadership awards, with the CEO of Zonda Tec Ghana Ltd, Ms. Yang Yang, picking up the Road Safety Leadership award.

The CEO of MTN Ghana, Mr. Selorm Adadevoh, and the MD of Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Dr. John Kofi Mensah, received the Exemplary Leadership and the Agriculture and Agribusiness Support Leadership awards respectively, with the Lead and Head of Vodafone Ghana Foundation, Rev. Nana A. Perbi, emerging the Innovation Champion of the year.