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Advocates for sustainability urge for government, citizens’ greater involvement

Environmental experts, alarmed by the global achievement of only 15 percent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in eight years, are emphasizing the need for education, increased government engagement, and citizen participation to make a more substantial impact in the remaining seven years of this critical agenda.

While a few nations have made noteworthy progress in addressing specific aspects of the 17-point SDG agenda, many others lag behind, making the 2030 deadline appear increasingly unrealistic for several countries.

Read also: Nigeria failing on SDGs metrics – Don

Recognizing the concerning levels of under-achievement, the United Nations, which introduced the SDGs in September 2015 to foster global sustainable development by 2030, is urging active involvement from all stakeholders.

In Nigeria, Berger Paints Plc, a prominent player in the paint manufacturing industry, has joined this conversation during the inaugural edition of its industry panel session, ‘True Colours.’ Recently in Lagos. The focus of the discussion was on Agenda 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities. During the event, experts expressed concerns about the limited knowledge and understanding of sustainability issues among Nigerians.

Read also: SDGs: Nigeria’s unsteady steps towards meeting the 2030 deadline

Dapo Omolade, CEO of Hybrid Group, called upon the government to establish sound policies and infrastructure to empower environmentalists and communicate sustainability concepts to Nigerians more effectively. He stressed that government should lead the way with advocacy, policies, regulations, and enforcement to sensitize Nigerians on the importance of sustainability, emphasizing that sustainability is a collective responsibility.

Speaking on the intricacies of environmental sustainability, Dapo, with extensive experience in health and safety environments, described sustainability as the responsible utilization of today’s resources while considering the needs of future generations. He acknowledged some positive steps taken by the government, such as policies related to gas and waste management, to advance the environmental protection agenda.

Ronke Olajubu, Head of Operations at Berger Paints Plc, emphasized that resources available today will not be accessible to future generations if they are depleted. She highlighted how preserving the environment can help mitigate climate change and reiterated Berger Paints’ commitment to the three Ps: People, Planet, and Profit, with the objective of maximizing benefits in all three areas. Olajubu noted that the company carefully selects environmentally friendly and non-toxic raw materials for its paints and allied products.

An entrepreneur, Ajilore Francis suggested that the government collaborate with communities to educate them on environmental protection, while Ijeoma Odunukwe, CEO of Nigson Group, urged the government to offer incentives to companies involved in recycling.

Read also: UN tasks private sector on implementation of SDGs

Alaba Fagun, the Managing Director of Berger Paints, emphasized the forum’s role in promoting sustainability. She stated, “Sustainability is dear to our heart as a manufacturing organization. We must start from our own space to educate other Nigerians about it, and we have begun incorporating sustainability into our operations.”
Peculiar Okafor, Head of Marketing at Berger Paints, explained that the True Colours event aims to sustain conversations around sustainability. She emphasized the importance of understanding that the actions taken today will impact future generations’ access to resources.
Ogho Okiti, former Managing Director of BusinessDay, who moderated the program, attributed the rural-urban divide in Nigeria to poor infrastructure.

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