Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the world’s sustainability impact measurement and reporting standards body, based in Amsterdam, has appointed Bekeme Olowola, Founder and Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action, headquartered in Nigeria, as a member of its Board of Directors, where she will be joining a leading caste of global sustainability professionals.
Olowola, who is the first West African member on the Board of Directors, will be commencing her 3-year appointment on 1 January 2019. She was appointed alongside Mr. Jack Ehnes, Chief Executive Officer, The California State Teachers Employees’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), USA and Dr. Jianzhong Lu, China President of Weir Group, China.
The GRI board appointment process is rigorous and meritorious and other current board members include Tim Mohin, Chief Executive, GRI; Prof. Alexandra Watson, Vice-Chairman, GRI Board; Girish Ramachandran, President, Tata Consultancy Services Asia Pacific, Singapore; Mr. Peter H. Y. Wong, Chairman of General Fiduciary Company Limited, Hong Kong SAR; Dr. Roberto F. de Ocampo, OBE, Founding Partner of Centennial Group International, Philippines and Sandra Guerra, Managing Director, Better Governance, Brazil.
“They are joining at an exciting time, as GRI navigates towards the consolidation of its strategy and uncovers new opportunities for growth,” says Eric Hespenheide, Chairman, GRI Board, a former Partner at Deloitte, who led their global sustainability reporting and assurance practice. Also, according to GRI, the latest “appointments reflect GRI’s multi-stakeholder nature and commitment gender, regional and background diversity.”
Commenting on the appointment, Olowola expressed her delight, saying, “I am humbled by this appointment. It tells me that the GRI is committed to engaging its most crucial stakeholders honourably and to pursuing an African agenda. I remain convinced that Africa is ripe for advancing and embedding sustainability practices and that the GRI is a valid partner to work with to drive the sustainability agenda even more than ever.”
A social entrepreneur, Bekeme Olowola is the Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action, a group made of a consulting firm, a think tank and a training institute dedicated to corporate social responsibility, policy development, advocacy, empowerment and sustainable development in the region.
Under Olowola, CSR-in-Action has promoted sustainable measurement and reporting using the GRI framework, specifically, since 2011, and has catalysed the growth of sustainability adoption and transparency through corporations’ production of the annual report.
CSR-in-Action produces the pioneer sustainability investment report in Nigeria The Collective Social Report: Nigeria (now The Corporate Sustainable Investor Report), endorsed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and supported by United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in 2012; a first of its kind compendium which includes a rating of business sustainability performance.
Bekeme Olowola helped establish the Business Coalition for Sustainable Development Nigeria (BCSDN) in May 2014, an initiative affiliated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), made up of a coalition of leading businesses across all sectors to drive collective development.
She has engaged stakeholders throughout the economic value chain – government, business, civil society organisations and communities – and recently spearheaded the design and development of a Community Engagement Standards to facilitate the Federal Government agenda for promoting peace through equity in oil and gas communities in Nigeria.
She is on the board of several non-profit and for-profit organisations and is convener of the annual Sustainability in the Extractive Industries Conference, the largest development focused gathering for extractives now in its eighth year, and producer of The Good Citizen Radio Show.
GRI is an independent international organisation that pioneered sustainability reporting globally. It currently serves a global audience through regional hubs in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, South Africa and the United States. GRI reports are produced in more than 100 countries.