As part of activities marking the 2019 Global Sustainability Week, employees of the pan-African conglomerate, the Dangote Group, Thursday flagged off a Waste-to-Wealth initiative to create a sustainable environment, generate revenues from environmental waste, and also give back to the company’s host communities.
The company marked the Sustainability Week with the theme: ‘Our Community, Our Passion’ with various activities held in its Lagos head office and across the plants and business units. These activities focused on investment programmes directed towards turning waste to wealth, and reviving reading culture in young children in host communities.
In Lagos, over 200 ‘Sustainability Champions’ and employee volunteers across the business units assisted five international facilitators to train the children on turning the most insignificant materials and waste in the environment into tangible assets of economic value to the country.
Dangote employees took the initiative to St. George Primary School and Aunty Ayo International School in Ikoyi, Lagos, where the facilitators with additional help from the volunteers, trained the children on how to manage their wastes and create sustainable products that are marketable from their everyday generated wastes.
Speaking on the initiative, the Group Chief on Sustainability and Governance, Dangote Industries Limited, Dr. Ndidi Nnoli, said the company’s sustainability approach is driven by a desire to contribute and impact positively towards the development of host communities and the society at large.
According to her, the 2019 Sustainability Week is directed towards safeguarding the environment by educating the host communities on how to turn waste to wealth to achieve sustainable development.
According to her, “We chose St. Georges School because the school is a neighbour to Dangote Head Office building in Ikoyi. Charity begins at home! We started to engender the sustainability culture as an employee volunteering initiative. We honestly believe that the people are at the centre of any organisation, and sustainability needs to begin with the individual person. It is a culture in Dangote to celebrate the Sustainability Week yearly, and this year, we decided to bring it to a neighbouring school.
“It is so important that we bring the initiative to the schools around us because we need to be very concerned about our children, their future, and most especially, education outside the classroom. We need to be concerned about educating our children on sustainability beyond the definition.”
Nnoli disclosed that the company brought international artists to educate the employees that the type of waste that can easily be thrown into the trash can could be transformed into usable items. “We have people making bangles and pencil cases out of waste
We also have literacy session, mentoring and above all, we are learning about why it is necessary to be hungry for knowledge,” she said.
She noted that the Dangote Group has a responsibility to the environment and the society, adding: “We are looking for ways to ensure that value is added to things around us. We have many volunteers who are so eager to learn and impact knowledge to the children.
The children are also very excited to learn on new ways to transform the environment.
“For us at Dangote, it is social responsibility and also corporate services, but in this case, the employees have volunteered to carry out this initiative. But the organisation has given us the licence to do whatever we want to do. So, as Dangote employees, we have chosen to stand for sustainability; we stand for social development and we stand for the education of a child.”
Giving insight into the programme, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, Dangote Cement Plc, Dr. Musa Rabiu, said the company’s intention was to create an environment “where we keep improving on how we operate and interact with the environment as well as regarding people as the most valuable assets.”
Also, General Manager of Sustainability, Dangote Cement Plc, Eunice Samson, said the company’s intention was to ensure that Dangote employees key into the Group’s vision, and volunteer to reach out to the local communities through value addition.