Africa’s B Team Leading Continental Leadership Change

Founded in 2013 by Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, Former CEO of Shoe Manufacturer PUMA. The B team (name coined from the group’s vision of seeking a better way-a plan B, of doing business) schemes to render obsolete the traditional way of doing business where profit is the primary motive. Under the B Team, the new purpose of businesses is to drive social, economic and environmental change in the world.

“I’m very proud of everything the B-Team stands for and the work they do towards changing business for good. Working with other leaders to find better ways of doing business for the well-being of people and the planet is vitally important as we secure the future for generations to come,” said Richard Branson.

In Africa The B Team members include: Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Chair of GAVI, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Jochen Zeitz, Co-Founder & Executive Chair of The B Team and Former CEO of PUMA, Amy Jadesimi, CEO of LADOL Nigeria, Jesse Moore, CEO and Co-Founder of M-KOPA Solar, Rita Kavashe, Managing Director of Isuzu East Africa and Joshua Oigara, CEO & Managing Director of KCB Group.

B Team Leader Mo Ibrahim
Image from http://www.bteam.org/announcements/meet-b-team-leader-mo-ibrahim/

At the sixth edition of the Africa CEO Forum, a gathering of more than 1,000 business leaders, The B Team Africa announced its agenda in hopes of stirring other leaders to join their movement of responsible business. “It’s time for business to recognise its role in making the world a better place,” said Jesse Moore, CEO and Co-Founder of M-KOPA Solar, “and nothing could be better than working with other business leaders across the continent to build a coalition that is working for exactly that aim.”

The B Team agenda will focus on the following areas;

  • Open Contracting and supply chain transparency

Supply chain transparency is an issue that has frequently featured in procurement scandals throughout the continent. For instance in Kenya, the 2016 PricewaterhouseCoopers report found that in the previous two years of the report’s release, one in three companies had reported experiencing procurement fraud. As such, the B Team leaders have committed to ensuring that contracting is openly and transparently done in their areas of influence.

  • Environmental preservation

This is a timely goal for the B Team as the continent currently grapples with food shortage, water scarcity, and soil degradation (due to excessive use of chemical fertiliser). All as a result of actions of both industry (pollution, logging activities etc.) and the normal folk- environment degradation has been officially been cautioned as a threat to international peace and security by the United Nations High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

  • Renewable and Green energy

Embracing renewable and green energy will help reduce net-greenhouse gas emissions, which is currently the best way to limit the rise of global temperatures beyond 2 Degrees Celsius- a result of which would be catastrophic effects. This part of the agenda is already in action with 10 companies under the B Team initiative having committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. They include Safaricom, Econet, Broad, Kering, Natura, NRG, Salesforce, Tiffany & CO, Unilever and Virgin Management.

In addition to the above goals the B Team’s has also committed to; responsible tax practices, championing capital for value addition, green business and social enterprise, job creation, civil rights, gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. To reiterate the groups’ commitment, Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom said, “As forward-thinking business leaders, we are ready to take a positive stand not just for our communities and our nations, but for the continent. We are The B Team Africa, and together we can tackle the challenges of Africa’s present and future. “

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