Nigeria’s multinationals should take ownership of her RE goals

Nigeria can encourage her big influential businesses to help her achieve her climate change and renewable energy targets just the way RE100 – a collaborative, global initiative has united more than 100 influential businesses to commit to 100% renewable electricity.

Where Government has failed to provide, the private sector has often stepped out of the way, and this is a conventional business wisdom found in many climes.

In 2015, when signs of Nigeria’s economic depression were obvious, private foreign capital quickly found their ways out of the country to reinforce the maxim that investments often go where the numbers are healthy and promising.

Because the global private sector is profit driven and will respond to positive or negative stimulus in markets which are heavily managed by governments, the amount of capital that left Nigeria over this period did not at least stun economists who understood the times and its indicators, instead it showed that where governments make policies that are conducive for investors to make profits they (investors) will flock there, but where the government’s plans interrupt the smooth flow of money into companies’ pockets, they will leave.

Based on this, it is also quite exciting and incredible to have private investors reach out to adopt operational strategies that is considerate not only of profit but also the impacts of their profit-making acts on the environment.

Usually when that happens it involves matters of seismic proportions such as world wars, weapons of mass destruction or global warming – all of could end the lives of businesses and as such need to be tackled.

Today, the climate change phenomena has become an obvious threat to businesses and corporations, and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Based on this, international companies with reach all over the world choose to collectively orient their focus from profits to dimension and address the impacts of climate change on the global economy.

There used to be a time corporations never cared about their carbon emissions, and often burnt away fossil fuel into the atmosphere. But cautious of the impacts of their past actions which has resulted to the climate change challenges the environment contends with today, a group of globally recognised brands in 2014 banded together and pledged to power their entire operations with renewable energy.

Dubbed RE100, these world class private sector players aimed to transition their operational fuels from ‘unclean’ fossil to the more environmentally friendly renewable option by either buying exclusively from generators and utility suppliers who produce energy from renewable sources, or acquiring and maintaining their own green energy generating facilities.

Companies already signed up to the RE100 include Coca Cola, Apple, Burberry, HP, Unilever, Nike and Wells Fargo among a host of others. In fact the overwhelming success they have achieved has led the effort to be replicated across India and China.

From records of the tractions the RE100 has made so far, as well as the potentials in its pursuits, we are of the view that multinationals in Nigeria could also borrow a leaf from the concept to help Nigeria closedown its wide energy gap, as well as meet its commitment to the Paris Climate Change Pact.

It is not news anymore that Nigeria is deeply under-energised, neither is it that her potentials in renewable energy sources are immense. We feel strongly convinced however that an alliance of multinationals for renewable energy usage just like RE100 would consistently help to dimension and implement renewable energy policies initiated by the government.

Such platform which the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) could birth, being the foremost rallying point for private sector operators in Nigeria, would take steady steps and actions contained in government’s RE policy to eventually cut down the level of energy poverty in the country by encouraging businesses to source and use renewable energy options at their facilities and premises.

Also, we are convinced that commercial power in Nigeria needs renewable energy and that RE100 has provided proof that this is an economically viable option. Similarly, there are proof that hybridizing power solutions like solar plus inverters plus generators, produces more affordable energy than singularly relying on diesel or gas power.