SWITZERLAND, DECEMBER 20 – As issues like climate change, environmental degradation and economic, racial and gender inclusion become increasingly important in the global framework, it has become pertinent for businesses to put sustainability at the core of their business strategy. One of the areas in which this has become obvious, is access to electric power, an important component of economic inclusion and sustainability.
In Nigeria, one of the visionaries driving sustainability in the power sector is Adedoyin Adele-Fadipe, the CEO of Central Electric & Utilities (CEU) Limited, a project development company active in renewable energy, solar solutions, and innovation in the power sector. Fadipe and her team are facilitating access to electricity for communities through the deployment and management of solar systems.
With a background in Energy Law & Policy, Petroleum Taxation & Finance, and Infrastructure Project Finance from the University of Dundee, Scotland, Fadipe’s professional roots are in oil & gas, and power generation & supply. An experienced international professional, Fadipe has worked in power sectors in both West and East Africa, developing electricity projects in Rwanda, Zambia, Sao-Tome & Principe and the Republic of Benin while also playing a leading role in the acquisition and management of crude oil & petroleum products contracts, as well as policy design initiatives across the world.
However, two years ago, she made the decision to transition from oil and gas, and conventional power, to renewable energy, after realizing the urgent need to facilitate access to electricity for vulnerable communities.Doyin has now spent considerable time in the last 2 years working to develop a business/project structure involving the Nigerian Power Distribution and Transmission sector, to facilitate investment that could aid infrastructure upgrade and increase optimal sector performance, notwithstanding the challenges. Her focus is on bankable end-user supply strategy and renewables.
Traditionally, the bulk of the world’s population depend on electricity generated through the burning of fossil fuels vial gas thermal plants. However, fossil fuels have had an adverse impact on the environment and the climate, and they are non-renewable, which limits their sustainability in the long term. Also, in developing countries like Nigeria, many rural communities have been excluded from the national grid and without power because of their remoteness or lack of business profitability in supplying them. This has given rise to more sustainable alternative energy sources like Solar systems, which Doyin Fadipe’s CEU deploys to Nigerian communities.
Today’s Echo caught up with Ms Fadipe at the 9th Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) Conference, where she addressed a vast array of stakeholders and participants in Nigeria’s extractive industries.
“Finding myself in the renewable sector was a matter of necessity, having transited from oil and gas and discovering that there is a real urgency in finding out new ways to address the issue of access to energy, particularly for the unserved and underserved communities, which is where most of the extractive activities take place,” Fadipe said.
Tagged, Inclusive Communities, Inspired Women, the SITEI Conference analysed various issues relating to gender inclusion, effective stakeholder engagement, access to energy, inclusive development, and resource extraction in Nigeria.
Building Sustainable Corporate Organizations
In the 21st century corporate organisations are no longer seen in terms of their structures, systems and assets, but in terms of their approach to doing business, their impact on the people and environments they interact with, and the values they support. Today, all these have become important components of corporate brands. Thus, to drive their organisations as sustainable corporate brands, Chief Executives need to evolve from being operational focussed to sustainability focussed. In this, CEU is making remarkable efforts to be distinct.
According to Fadipe, access to electricity, sustainability, and stakeholder engagement are all interlinked, and cannot be separated. Many businesses find it difficult to implement these processes, not because they are not interested or willing but that they did not count the cost at the inception of the business. Without the right framework and structure from the beginning, it becomes difficult to implement them.
“I think, for all corporate organisation interacting with vulnerable communities, not only in the extractive industries, community stakeholder engagement and sustainability have to be part of the core of a business.”
Furthermore, Fadipe advocates for sustainability records to be part of the criteria in awarding licences for corporate entities doing business in vulnerable communities.
“I dare to say that even in selecting and identifying the management capabilities of the organization, you need to find people who are intrinsically disposed to making sure and understanding that this is not a question of obligation. You have to link community engagement and sustainability to profitability, and it can be done,” she said.