Experts in the nation’s integrated marketing communications space have stressed the need for media practitioners to enhance their skills through capacity development, to enable them  authoritatively report issues regarding sustainability.

The experts made these calls at the  Sustainability Media Capacity-Building  Session, organized by Unilever Nigeria, recently in Lagos, recently.

They argued that the nation’s journalists must enhance their knowledge in that crucial subject in order to bring to the fore, issues relating to the subject.

Speaking at the opening session of the  two-day programme, the Director, Professional Education, School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Dr. Isaac-Ogugua Ezechuwku charged media practitioners on the need to develop and hone their skills, without necessarily waiting for sponsorships.

He stated that the issue of sustainability, and how it affects individuals, brands and corporate organizations, requires the support of the media to be brought to the front burner.

“Interestingly, there is no way the media can successfully do this without embarking on self development projects that will enhance their knowledge in respect of this very important issue of how we develop as mankind.

“Practitioners should begin to think of how to invest in themselves, and sometimes save money to embark on studies that would, at the end, help them  contribute their quota to  germane issues, such as that of sustainability.

“We don’t have to wait for any sponsor to do that. While we acknowledge the fact that the industry could be tough, but practitioners should begin to cultivate the habit of investing in capacity development ventures such as  this,” he stated.

He believes such trainings would go a long way in instilling confidence in the practitioner, and at the same time, boost productivity.

Lead, Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre, Orevaoghene Irene Atanya, would want the media to do more on bringing the issue of sustainability to the front burner, by creating awards that use sustainability as the yardstick to measure performance.

She also urged the media on the need to report with social impact in mind, translate researched solutions in to public information and embark on awareness campaign that would drive the narrative.

Dr. Austin Nweze, also of the Lagos Business School, in his own contribution, urged media practitioners to pay attention to the environment and draw people’s attention to it.

He argued that while the economics of embarking on such such reporting may not be attractive, business-wise, he  however  recommended a project-based report, where brands and multi-nationals could sponsor.

He also charged media practitioners on the need to focus on the implications of individuals’, groups’ and businesses’ actions on the environment.

In her contribution, the Director, Corporate Affairs and Sustainable  Business at Unilever, West Africa, Soromidayo George, explained that the decision of Unilever to organize the event stemmed from the need to ensure that the issue of sustainability, and its impact on the environment is given the utmost attention it deserves.

“Why sustainability matters to us is that it leads to less waste, less operational costs, while making us a responsible corporate organisation; hence the reason we are making it part of guiding principles at Unilever,” she stated.

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