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Biodiversity: Dangote cement partners agencies, stakeholders on environmental sustainability

by Goddie Ofose
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  • Plants 7,205 trees to commemorate the 2022 Environmental Day

Nigeria’s bid to reduce carbon emissions has received a boost as Pan-African cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc entered into partnership with partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and National Environmental Standards and the Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to promote environmental sustainability.

In the same vein, Dangote Cement also collaborated with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre, and Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) as part of the Company’s initiatives to mark the 2022 World Environment Day in all its 14 production plants in Nigeria and Pan Africa.

Dangote Cement’s Environment Week programme supports African countries and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) joint venture (JV) agreement to invest in carbon avoidance and offsetting projects.

In carrying out the initiatives, Dangote Cement engaged experts to build the capacity of employees, local communities and other stakeholders on biodiversity conservation and progressive reclamation of mining sites. Other topics addressed were soil rehabilitation and carbon mitigation. The company also set up a biodiversity garden at one of its mines in Nigeria to serve as model.

The Group Managing Director of Dangote Cement Plc, Mr Michel Puchercos noted that the company demonstrated support for governments’ efforts by contributing climate solutions that would reduce Nigeria’s carbon emissions.

The World Environment Day featured a web forum entitled ‘Only one Earth: Conserving the Values of Biodiversity’. It centered on the need for humans to make deliberate efforts to save the earth by conserving biodiversity. The forum brought together about 560 participants from the manufacturing and extractive industries, academia, government agencies, international agencies, civil society (NGOs), media, and environment enthusiasts across Africa.

The Head of Sustainability, Dangote Cement Plc, Dr Igazeuma Okoroba gave insights into the activities of Dangote Cement during the forum stating that the organisation is complementing government efforts through collaboration with stakeholders in civil society and industry. She noted that as Africa’s leading business, the “World Environment Day commemoration avails us the opportunity to create awareness on sustainability initiatives to conserve the earth and maintain the values of biodiversity.” According to Dr Okoroba, the initiatives were “aimed at entrenching sustainability consciousness across the business’ value chain. One of the ways Dangote Cement seeks to achieve this is by complying with rehabilitation plans and exploring ways to protect the ecosystem in the communities where we operate.”

Speaking on World Environment Day, the Head of Environment and Social Performance, Dangote Cement Plc, Engr Tukur Lawal said the objective of the initiative was to make mining sites safe for current and future land use.  Specific goals include creating awareness amongst mining personnel, enabling mining stakeholders to understand the processes of identifying and evaluating species, flora and fauna for climate risk management.

Adducing reasons on why Dangote Cement is taking the challenge, Engr. Lawal asserted that “The company is ready to engage with stakeholders to conserve biodiversity, mitigate carbon emission and make the environment safer”.

In line with this year’s theme ‘Only One Earth’, not less than 1,708 Dangote employees volunteered with 1,186 third-party volunteers whom contributed  12,658 hours in 46 different initiatives across 10 pan-African countries.

The World Environment Day also featured a web forum on “Only One Earth: Conserving the Values of Biodiversity”, which was hosted by Dangote Cement in collaboration with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre.

The forum brought together participants from private sector, government agencies, international agencies and nonprofits across Africa. Topics discussed centered on the need to remedy the changing ecosystem as humans must make deliberate efforts to protect the planet. Speakers submitted that sustainable land management should be a priority for industry. Businesses whose activities affect soil and biodiversity should restore the soil by funding recycling, ensuring green development, and supporting the natural habitat and developers’ who integrate biodiversity in pre and post-development.

In other contributions at the webinar, Dr Igazeuma urged the participants to draw lessons from Dangote Cement in the alignment of UN SDGs to Corporate Social Responsibility programming. “An example in this regard is the planting of 510,636 trees which support carbon sequestration and the company’s investment in recycling waste for alternative fuels which supports SDG 13. Dr Okoroba also announced the release of the Dangote Cement’s 2021 Sustainability Report, which was published in accordance with GRI Sustainability Reporting Standard and assured by an independent consultant.”

An impact report released at the end of the forum indicated that participants advocated that biodiversity loss should be mitigated through collaboration with government environment agencies, local communities, NGOs and educational institutions. Greater awareness is also needed for the public to understand the species of plants and animals that need not be consumed to extinction.

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