By Chioma Umeha
One of the leading beverage alcohol companies, Guinness Nigeria Plc, has released its Sustainability Report for 2016, displaying its performance on various aspects of its operations and the strategy of achieving future targets in line with Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) of ensuring healthy communities.
The report was unveiled in Lagos on Wednesday, at a formal ceremony attended by various stakeholder groups and partners such as the Federal Road Safety Corps, The Lagos Business School, Water Aid, Institute for Industrial technology (IIT) and Diageo’s Global Sustainable Development Director, David Croft among others.
The Sustainability report, titled: ‘Sustainability: From Grain to Glass’ is an 87- page report of Guinness Nigeria performance from July to June, 2016 and focuses on material issues critical to the sustainability of the company’s business.
The excerpts read: “We consider an issue material if it could potentially have a significant impact on our business performance or our business leadership position.
“The report also captures the strategy we will be leveraging to achieve the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) we have set out to attain, the CEO Foreword by the Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Peter Ndegwa further read.
It added: “Every year, we set ourselves stretching targets that will guide us as we work to reduce our negative impact on the environment.
“We also strive to increase our positive social impact by delivering transformational social investments in communities where we operate. This report captures our achievements in the 2016 financial year.”
Ndegwa further noted in his remarks at the launch that the principal ambition of the company is to become the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer products’ company in the world.
He further observed that the attainment of this goal will be futile if a commitment to society is not at the heart of the business.
“The Sustainability Report we are here to launch today is one of the ways we measure our progress against the sustainability and responsibility targets we have set for our organisation.
“The report also serves as an expression of our continuing commitment to embedding sustainability into our daily interactions and operations,” he said.
Ndegwa, reinstated Guinness commitment to helping Nigeria meet her Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets, especially in the area of providing access to water and sanitation for the majority of the people.
In this regard, the company has made significant investments, he disclosed.
Corroborating, David Croft, Global Sustainable Development Director, Diageo Plc said: “Overall we are proud of the progress made. Guinness Nigeria’s Sustainable Development strategy which aligns with Diageo’s global strategy is underpinned by three main pillars: “Leadership in alcohol in society, building thriving communities and reducing environmental impact.
“Delivering on these goals is an integral part of our long term business strategy and our commitment to making a real difference in communities where we operate.”
Major highlights from the 2016 report include social investments in the Guinness Eye Hospitals, flagship Water of Life scheme and Undergraduate Scholarship scheme, which has opened doors of opportunity to many young Nigerians.
As part of its commitment to notable economic impact in the country, the company paid over N16 billion in taxes ranging from VAT, employee taxes, Corporate Income Tax, Excise Duties and other taxes in the 2016 financial year.
The company has further outlined strategic objectives the attainment of which will put it in better stead to serve its key stakeholders as well as help to strengthen corporate reputation and build a sustainable business.
In the area of business performance, the company aims to optimize return on investment for its investors and shareholders through good corporate governance and by implementing the plans that underpin its performance ambition.
The company has also reassured its commitments to sustain product quality by providing consumers with beverages that meet the highest standard of quality.
In the area of environmental performance, the company said it will continue to ensure that its products, processes and operations are safe for the environment, while enhancing the wellbeing of host communities.
The company has also pledged to continue to sustain initiatives that promote responsible consumption of alcohol, prevent underage drinking and ensure strict adherence to the principles of responsible marketing of its beverage brands.