In an earnest commitment to advancing global sustainability efforts, Safaricom, one of Kenya's leading telecommunications companies, has officially joined the United Nations Global Compact's Forward Faster initiative.
This ambitious initiative seeks to expedite private sector endeavours in support of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the 2030 Agenda.
Safaricom's involvement in this initiative underscores its dedication to fostering measurable, credible, and ambitious actions aimed at propelling progress across all 17 SDGs, with a focus on areas where the private sector can enact the most significant and swiftest impact by the year 2030.
The Forward Faster initiative lays particular emphasis on key SDGs, including Gender Equality, Climate Action, Living Wage, Water Resilience, and Finance and Investment.
By taking up the mantle in these crucial areas, Safaricom is not only contributing to the global efforts to reduce inequalities but also playing an active role in enhancing the overall well-being of our planet.
Peter Ndegwa, the CEO of Safaricom, expressed his enthusiasm for the company's involvement in the Forward Faster initiative.
"We have taken up the challenge to fast-track key sustainability action areas as the 2030 deadline approaches. I am glad that we at Safaricom are shaping the narrative on the delivery of the SDGs which are key to reducing inequalities and making our planet better," Ndegwa.
Ndegwa acknowledged the challenges facing the achievement of these vital goals, including global issues such as climate change, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and conflicts that have disrupted progress.
He emphasized the role of the private sector in addressing these challenges through collaborative partnerships, stating, "As much as we are doing a lot in short and long-term investments to integrate ESG into our business practices, there is still some way to go as global challenges such as climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, and conflicts have slowed down momentum on the achievement of some of the goals. As the private sector, we can collectively find ways to overcome the challenges through partnerships to fulfil our agenda."
Safaricom has been at the forefront of sustainability efforts, incorporating nine of the 17 SDGs into its business operations.
Notably, the company has previously rallied CEOs from the region to commit to the African Business Leaders Coalition, with a specific focus on addressing concerns related to climate change.
In a further demonstration of its commitment to sustainability, Safaricom recently secured a Sustainability-Linked Loan amounting to Sh5 billion.
This substantial financial resource is expected to fortify the company's Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) agenda.
The loan will enable Safaricom to diversify its investments, aligning its efforts with the attainment of key ESG objectives.
Despite the commendable strides made in the pursuit of the SDGs, as revealed in the SDG Progress Report earlier this year by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, challenges persist.
The report disclosed that only 15 per cent of the SDG targets are on track, while 48 per cent of the SDGs exhibit weak and insufficient progress.
Additionally, progress on 37 per cent of the SDGs has either stagnated or regressed.
Safaricom's participation in the Forward Faster initiative signifies a renewed commitment to addressing these challenges head-on, as it endeavours to be a catalyst for positive change and a harbinger of progress in the realm of sustainable development.