“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business” – Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company.
The above quote summarises the ideal responsibility of businesses – ensuring that considerations of social and environmental impact are balanced against those of financial gain.
Many businesses are racing to overcome the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations over the past two years. The challenge to survive the arduous business climate exposes businesses to irresponsible business practices.
Across the private sector, informal businesses, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as large businesses were badly hit by the pandemic – especially in the hospitality, education, manufacturing and agricultural sectors.
A total of 14,162 small to large size businesses in the country out of 30,654 are still permanently closed due to the ravaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a COVID-19 Business Tracker by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) indicated last week.
According to the GSS, some 15,174 businesses have fully reopened through support from family relations while about 1,318 businesses though reopened have not been able to operate at full capacity. The closure of businesses translates into job losses. In this regard, the sustainability of businesses is key to socio-economic development and improvement in the livelihoods of the people.
It is therefore important to recognise and appreciate the sacrifices and resilience of surviving businesses and their leaders whom, in spite of these pressing challenges, continue to weather the storm and maintain high level of diligence in the discharge of their duties. It is in recognition of these commendable contributions that ION Africa Business has set out to honour responsible businesses and leaders who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields.
The Responsible Business and Leadership Excellence Awards (RBLEA™), scheduled for Friday, April 29, 2022 at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra will celebrate deserving businesses and personalities from across the Banking, Aviation, Information Technology, Telecommunication, Manufacturing and Retail sectors.
The award, the first of its kind, is aimed at championing the implementation of sound business governance and systems, and also discourages practices which hinder social development. It also seeks to celebrate and reward innovative solutions that promote societal development.
The scheme further intends to create a network of professionals who are committed to furthering the sustainability agenda for businesses while recognising individuals and organisations that have excelled in business and corporate sustainability leadership.
The criteria for shortlisting nominees is based on some key performance indicators (KPIs) and survey by the Market and Consumer Insight, a research company that would handle the technical aspects of the awards, and an awarding board, made of eminent personalities.
The award categories include: Responsible CEO of the Year, Responsible Trade & Investment Leader of the Year, Responsible CSR and Community Development Impact Award, Responsible Brand of the Year, Responsible Business and Leadership Company of the Year, and Industry Personality of the Year.
The Responsible Female Business Leader and the Responsible Young Business Leader of the Year awards will also honour exceptional female business leader, who, in spite of stiff competition in a male-dominated world, has been resilient in building an impactful brand, as well as a young business leader aged 40 years and below, who has raised a successful business and has become a source of inspiration.
The Chair of the Awards Board, Professor Wayne Dunn noted that there was a misunderstanding about the belief that not being socially and environmentally responsible created a cost for businesses, stressing that “responsible business tend to be successful business.”
He said the RBLEA™ seeks to create an opportunity to celebrate all the good works that Ghanaian businesses are doing and encourage them to do more. “We want to celebrate all the social and environmental impact that Ghanaian businesses are having. With the onset of coronavirus, making profit is very difficult, but businesses are having major impact on the SDGs in Ghana,” he said.
Prof. Dunn added that: “We are rewarding responsibility, social and environmental impact, and good works. We believe that every society needs a strong private sector, but if the businesses do not engage in better practices, the country will suffer.”
The RBLEA is an empowerment driven initiative that seeks to distinguish and uphold the achievements of inspiring corporate front-runners of responsible values. It also aims at defining and celebrating vision, achievement, and excellence in business leadership in Ghana.