CEOs hold key to sustainable business growth – Dr. Ken Kwaku


By Ebenezer NJOKU

Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), by virtue of their positions at the apex decision makers, hold the key to making sustainable growth attractive within their businesses. This is according to Dr. Ken Kwaku, the Chair of the awarding board of the Ghana CEO Awards, who believes the broad adoption of sustainable business practices rises and falls on the buy-in of the topmost executives.

He said this in an interaction with the B&FT ahead of the third edition of the Awards, themed: ‘CEOs for Climate Change: Steering Towards a Greener Future’. “CEOs have a pivotal role in driving the sustainability agenda within their organizations. By understanding and committing to sustainable practices, they can lead their companies toward a future where economic success and environmental stewardship go hand in hand,” he explained.

This comes as business leaders increasingly prioritise sustainability. A paper published earlier this year by consulting firm, Arthur D. Little, showed that a growing number of CEOs (from 58 percent in 2023 to 71 percent in 2024) are incorporating ESG considerations into their overall business strategies, as they consider it “business as usual.”

Closer home, the case is no different. In its 2022 Ghana Banking Survey Report PwC stated that 62 percent of top bank executives it surveyed confirmed the existence of ESG plans, with 86 percent indicating that the subject is discussed at  board level, at least, once every year. Since that time, top executives, especially within the financial sector have accelerated ESG strategies buoyed by initiatives especially from the Bank of Ghana and Ghana Stock Exchange.

Dr. Kwaku, who was awarded a Prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s event, added that the major focus this year is to create a platform to give CEOs insight into the latest trends and strategies in sustainable business practices. “The 2024 Ghana CEO Awards marks a significant shift in its objectives, moving from merely acknowledging economic achievements to fostering a deeper understanding of sustainability among CEOs,” he noted.

A major challenge identified by Dr. Kwaku is the lack of knowledge among many CEOs regarding the impact of climate change on their businesses. Traditionally, business education has focused primarily on economic gains, leaving a significant gap in understanding sustainability.

Dr. Kwaku highlighted this issue, saying, “People are just unaware, because in our line of work, most people are taught about economic gains, that is all. We are taught about how to make profits, and we are judged based on how to make profits. So people do not even understand why they should worry, think about sustainability.”

Consequently, the event will include a panel discussion initiated by African Women and Children Conference (AFRIWOCC), an initiative by the Office of the Second Lady, Samira Bawumia which will bring together experts from around the globe to educate and engage CEOs on climate change and sustainable business strategies.

“We want CEOs to understand the essence of sustainability, the essence of putting together strategies that are able to help address climate change one way or the other, and how best they can make positive impacts on the environment,” Dr. Kwaku noted, adding that “we are going beyond just economic gains, both to economic and sustainable gains, and give them insights, get experts to give them insights as to how they can achieve that.”

The event will also discuss the role of technology in achieving sustainable growth. Emphasising the importance of green technology, Dr. Kwaku stated that advancing technology is key and significant to innovation and sustainability. “Our job is to make CEOs understand how they can incorporate technology and innovation to achieve that,” he further remarked.

The Ghana CEO Awards aims to be a beacon of inspiration and a catalyst for change, encouraging CEOs to take bold steps towards sustainability. The event will feature a keynote address from the Vice President, Dr. Mahamud Bawumia and will be chaired by His Royal Majesty, King Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, King of the GA states.

Nominations for this prestigious event are now open via and will close on July 8, 2024. The awards ceremony will take place on July 26, 2024 at the Kempinski Hotel.

The awards will not only recognise economic achievements but also celebrate CEOs who have made significant environmental impacts. “The ideal outcome is getting them to have the knowledge and understanding about the climate world and equipping them with the necessary skills, tools, and techniques required to be able to implement a sustainable, environmental-friendly strategy within their businesses,” Dr. Kwaku said.

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