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African Corporate Sustainability Forum Launched

2004-09-28 AICC/GCO

The Africa Corporate Sustainability Forum (ACSF)  was launched on  21 September 2004, during the Second African Corporate Citizenship Convention  in Johannesburg.
The ACSF is a multi-stakeholder platform providing an opportunity for business, government and broader civil society to discuss and act on corporate sustainability policy and practice in Africa. The Forum facilitates innovations that provide competitive sustainability advantages for countries and regions on the continent. It also ensures that the business case for corporate citizenship in Africa can be demonstrated and understood. One of the Forum’s goals is to facilitate knowledge exchange and research dissemination across the region and internationally, and to provide opportunities for training and skills development on corporate sustainability and other related issues.
Africa has experienced "the worst economic tragedy of the 20th century" (World Economic Forum's Africa Competitiveness Report 2004). Business can and must play a crucial role in reversing this trend. "By conducting business responsibly, companies can improve their own competitiveness and that of their country and the continent,” said Dr. Yusuf Turundu, Coordinator of the Private Sector/NEPAD Business Group at the NEPAD Secretariat. “In order to link responsibility and competitiveness for the benefit of business, government and broader civil society on the continent, a platform that facilitates learning and sharing of experiences, at this stage of Africa's development is pertinent."
“We welcome the Forum as an important catalyst of change and economic development,” said Ellen Kallinowsky of the United Nations Global Compact. “This is a vital initiative to promote and promulgate good corporate practice in the spirit of universal values. We encourage our stakeholders to consider an active participation in the ACSF.”
The Nelson Mandela Foundation also welcomed the Forum: "In Africa, we dream of, and work for the full participation of the continent in the affairs of the world over the coming years; we are deeply conscious of the need for both private and public sector businesses to play their role in creating a stable, equitable and prosperous society. The launch of the ACSF is an exciting initiative in promoting such a role."  
Many companies are recognizing that undertaking successful business in Africa requires corporate citizenship as a business imperative. Apart from the social and environmental risks inherent with operating on the continent, integrating responsible business practice throughout a company's activities is necessary to develop market opportunities, which reflects societal needs. However, there are relatively few opportunities for entities involved in these debates to share information, feed these perspectives into the sustainability debates outside Africa, and to access international information on corporate citizenship.
While not endorsing a company's activities, the Forum provides companies with a multi-stakeholder platform to demonstrate practically their commitment to responsible growth and development in Africa. It also offers access to a valuable knowledge resource, based on Africa's own unique challenges and practices that take into account international trends in corporate citizenship.
For membership information and other inquiries, please contact forum@aiccafrica.org; Mr. Sean de Cleene (Director: AICC) Tel: +265 (0)1 772404 Fax: +27 (0)11 643 6918 Email: sean@aiccafrica.org; Mr. Tagbo Agbazue (Programme Manager for the Forum) Tel: +27 (0)11 643 6604 Cell: +27 (0) 83 721 7320 Fax: +27 (0)11 643 6918 Email: tagbo@aiccafrica.org.