As the world economy turns towards a green economy, so too should the Cameroon economy in the face of a gruelling negative impact of climatic change. In an effort to launch this campaign in Cameroon and mentor the Cameroon’s corporate bodies to move towards a greener economy, the leading national conservation organisation in Cameroon, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) is launching the pioneer green corporate awards known as the ERuDeF Green Corporate Leadership Award as an annual event. Through this award, ERuDeF intends to promote effective corporate social responsibility and a corporate environmental movement in the country.
In their 2015 Programmes launching, the President/CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, announced the launching of their pioneer annual ERuDeF Green Corporate Leadership Award. The award aims at promoting and recognising those members of the corporate sector that are contributing substantially towards achieving the government of Cameroon’s vision of moving towards the green economy. Recently in Brazil, the Cameroon government signed the Agenda 21 protocol of becoming one of those emerging nations that is fully committed to developing a totally a green economy. It is within this perspective that ERuDeF wants to increase the national and international awareness on the issue of a green and sustainable economy.
In all their activities, the corporate sector and their executive leadership have a unique obligation to adhere to high norms of corporate governance and citizenship. Private production processes and delivery mechanisms often have broad economic, social, and ecological consequences, which enterprises should address in a socially responsible manner (CSR Platform 2003).
International treaties and instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Labour conventions, the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, and the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development provide guidelines for responsible business practices that help ensure private sector growth benefits society and protects the environment.
More recently, the UN Global Compact was enacted in 2000 as a UN sponsored initiative to enable global businesses to sign up to a code of conduct that respects human rights, labour standards, and environment standards and fights corruption. The Global Compact lays out 10 basic principles for conducting business and provides useful guidelines for global corporations, in the spirit of the UN Millennium Declaration (UN 2004e).
The Compact is a valuable undertaking that should promote operational guidelines and measurement tools, including targets where possible, for companies that want to contribute actively to the Goals. We endorse the UN Global Compact as a voluntary initiative and recommend that all corporations with operations in Cameroon sign up for it.
Corporate Social Responsibility is not just about philanthropy or doing charity services for the community. It is about environmental responsibility; it is about considering the bigger picture, from the company’s internal processes to clients’ satisfaction, the CEO of ERuDeF stated..
The Green Corporate Leadership Award seeks to engage a relationship with corporations that will increase the national CSR of the corporations and drive home the much-needed profits and sustainability of the businesses. It is within this perspective that the ERuDeF Green Corporate Leadership is placed.
By Margaret Eyong