Ms. Bola Adesola is Senior. Vice Chairman Africa, Standard Chartered Bank and UN Global Impact Board – the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. The Global Compact was proposed in the late 1990s by then UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in response to widespread concerns about the negative impact of corporate business practices on human rights, workers’ rights and the environment.
She was appointed to the United Nations Global Compact Board (UNGC) by the UN Secretary General in 2015 and has been Co Vice-Chair of the Board since 2018.
It is a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. The initiative is a call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption and take actions that advance social goals.
It has under its umbrella more than 12,000 signatories of participating companies based in over 160 countries representing every sector and size of business activities. Mobilising global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create a desirable world is the mission of the UN Global Compact.
Driving change across all corporate sustainability, inspiring, guiding and supporting companies to do business responsibly and take action for a more sustainable future are its central objectives. Adesola holds a critical position in the global initiative that is making the mission and the objectives of the body to come to fruition.
As co-vice chairman, she is in the forefront of driving the culture of corporate sustainability across the corporate world. It is an initiative that takes companies all the way back to their value systems and help them adopt a principles-based approach to doing business.
This involves a system of company operations that meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Adesola’s role is to have companies around the world incorporate the principles of the UN Global Compact into strategies, policies and procedures and thereby establish a culture of integrity.
She is keen to see that companies are not only upholding their basic responsibilities to people and the planet but eagerly setting the stage for long-term success. The point is for companies to appreciate that long-term success is equally desired by their workers, their communities as well as the planet and to take action to do business right for all.
The principles of the United Nations Global Compact are derived from: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation’s Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
At Standard Chartered Bank, Adesola is responsible for supporting the execution of the bank’s strategic intent within the Africa region. Her role also includes representing Standard Chartered Bank on various boards in Africa and leading as a senior banker on key relationships and transactions.
She joined the bank in March 2011 as chief executive officer for Nigeria and became CEO for Nigeria and West Africa in 2015.She was previously on the board of First Bank of Nigeria Plc as executive director, corporate banking with oversight of retail and commercial banking businesses.
She also served as managing director/CEO of Kakawa Discount House and also worked at Citibank in senior leadership roles in Nigeria and Tanzania.
Standard Chartered PLC is a leading international banking group, with presence in 59 of the world’s most dynamic markets and serves clients across another 85 financial centres in the world.
Adesola takes with her diverse experience in the private sector and in the corporate sustainability space to the United Nations Global Compact that is the entry point for business within the broader United Nations system.
She holds degrees from Harvard Business School and Lagos Business School as well as a law degree from the University of Buckingham, UK and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, U.K. and Nigeria.
She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985 and has built over 31 years of banking experience and expertise. She has served on the boards of Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems Plc and the Financial Institutions Training Centre. She chairs the Central Bank of Nigeria Bankers’ sub-Committee on Economic Development, Sustainability and Gender. In Standard Chartered, Bola is a member of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Council, and is actively involved with women’s networks across the bank. She also sits on the boards of Standard Chartered in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.