Dangote employees across the Group’s operations in Africa have implemented various initiatives aimed at empowering their host communities and ensuring sustainability of the conglomerate.
The initiatives form part of the activities marking the Dangote 2021 Sustainability Week, a purely voluntary arrangement among employees of the Group, with the theme; “Building a Sustainable Future – The Dangote Way”. The Week began on September 27 and ended on September 30, 2021.
The theme for this year’s Dangote Sustainability Week was 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 revitalise the United Nations’.
The UNGA is the main policy-making organ of the global organisation comprising 193 members states, including Nigeria.
This year’s theme and initiatives, according to the Sustainability Unit at the Dangote Group 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 undertook empowerment and development initiatives in their host communities across the Group, with activities monitored by the Sustainability Function. The events availed 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 helped project the social side of the Dangote brand, helping to build goodwill and cordiality with host communities, thereby, enhancing the Group’s social licence to operate. There were 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 Dangote Industries Limited head office in Lagos, the Sustainability Function, in collaboration with the group HSSE, Human Resources and Corporate Communications organised 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 involved 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 involved an awareness campaign on the impacts of wastes (plastic wastes and poorly discarded COVID-19 PPEs such as facemasks, hand gloves among others 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 collaborated 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 dropped off recyclable wastes that they have collected from the market or in their neighbourhoods, and are paid based on the quantity or weight of the wastes that they dropped off. It is therefore an environmental stewardship as well as wealth creation initiative for hundreds of women that used 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 which ended on September 30.
These include zero compromises in terms of compliance with COVID-19 precautionary measures (facemasks, hand sanitisers, physical distance, ventilation and up to 50 per cent bus occupancy rate). There is also reduction in the number of volunteers embarking on field visits (group outreach programmes, among others); for example, 50 per cent reduction in the number of persons that would have participated in the programme.
Speaking at the Pacelli School for the Blind, Surulere and the Lagos State owned Old People’s Home, Sabo-Yaba, head, Sustainability, Dangote Group, Eunice Sampson said: “We are employees of Dangote Group and every year, we have our sustainability week, which is driven by employee volunteering.”
She noted that, all the operations of Dangote Group across Africa are implementing various initiatives that are aimed at empowering their host communities and ensuring a sustainable present and future for the conglomerate.
According to her, they have set aside the week to create awareness about the need for good neighbourliness and would also be promoting environmental responsibility, social responsibility and good governance in all their operations.
She explained that one of the things they do during their sustainability week is to reach out to their host communities, which aligned with the vision of their employer, Dangote Group.
The manager of Old People Home, Yaba, Oluwafunmilayo Adekola thanked the Dangote Group for the goods brought for the elders and for supporting the Lagos State government at this COVID-19 era.
Also, the principal of Pacelli School for the Blind & Partially Sighted Children, Surulere, Jane Onyeneri said, the school has been in existence since 1964 and it provides free education to the pupils and students, saying, it is through the goodwill of people like Dangote Group that they are able to give the children the best education.
She noted that the children are well taken care of because of generous donations from Nigerians, commending the kind gesture of Dangote Group for the items brought for the children.