Close this search box.

Members of Institute of Directors-Ghana to benefit from IFC training on Environment, Governance next year

The International Financial Corporation (IFC) will from next year commence an Integrated Environmental, Social and Governance (IESG) training programme for members of the Institute of Directors-Ghana (IoD-Gh) and the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE).

IESG is a framework used in assessing an organisation’s business practices and performance on various sustainability and ethical issues.

Mr Kyle Kelhofer, IFC’s Senior Country Manager for Benin, Ghana, Guinea, and Togo, in a statement delivered on his behalf at a pre-launch of the programme on Friday in Accra, said ESG was of great importance and at the core of how investments and businesses were conducted.

The IESG programme will equip board directors with practical knowledge and actionable guidance to start implementing the integrated ESG approach in their companies.

Private investment is essential to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and international investors are progressively requiring robust ESG practices from their investees.

However, current ESG practices of many companies in emerging markets are inadequate, resulting in external costs on the environment and society, including inadequate climate change mitigation, leading to a lack of investor confidence, which is becoming a barrier to investment.

Mr Kelhofer said the training would also focus on new elements and approaches that were unique to ESG topics and how boards should approach such themes to steer organisations in their sustainability journey.

He said there was evidence that better ESG practices were positively correlated with firm performance, better access to capital and better development outcomes.

Ms Magdalena Wst, the Deputy Head of Cooperation, Swiss Embassy, Ghana, stated the development of ESG framework by IFC aligned with Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs’s ongoing support for Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), which focused on improving transparency and disclosure through sustainability reporting.

She said in an era defined by global challenges, including climate change and inequality, the importance of ESG principles could not be overstated.

‘ESG is not just a buzzword. A company that is well and transparently managed, that supports its employees and protects the environment, is better equipped to retain customers, investors and competent staff. ESG responsibility and credible reporting are, therefore, in the best interest of shareholders, as they increase company’s success in the long term.

Ms Wst noted that adoption of ESG was fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and addressing the climate crisis.

The Deputy Head of Cooperation said the programme would support the adoption of good ESG standards and practices at market-wide and at firm level, including climate risk management and best practice disclosure of climate finance flows and impact on climate change.

For regulators, she said ESG would improve the regulatory environment for ESG, build market demand and the capacity of market intermediaries.

Madam Abena Amoah, Managing Director of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GES) in a statement delivered on her behalf, said Governments, market regulators, stock exchanges, civil society, and other stakeholders continued to place huge demands on companies to get information on their sustainability programmes.

She said the GSE collaborated with the African Securities Exchanges Association?(ASEA), and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to launch its ESG Disclosure Guidance Manual in November 2022 after a stakeholder workshop.

She noted that it was part of the plan to encourage all listed companies to start sustainability reporting from 2024.

‘GSE has already started its ESG journey by reporting in its annual report during the Annual General Meeting held in September 2023. GSE recognises the importance of executive appreciation of sustainability reporting to help advance the ESG agenda in Ghana,’ she said.

Reverend Mrs Angela Carmen Appiah, the President of Institute of Directors-Ghana, said all actors in the ecological system had a unique role to play and that when an actor was sacrificed it posed a huge challenge to the survival of the rest.

‘It has become very important to take decisions that will reduce footprint and ensure resource efficiency. We see plastics all over, deforestation and degradation. That has to stop,’ she stressed.

The ESG Programme is a collective effort of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO, and the Bank of Ghana.

Source: Ghana News Agency