This article is part of a World Economic Forum series of interviews with CEOs from our PACI community, which aims to rebuild trust, transparency and integrity in business.

What does greater transparency and integrity mean for the oil and gas industry?

Greater transparency and integrity for oil and gas relates to an inherent and consistent problem - lack of trust within the industry. It should focus on how to engender trust amongst the various stakeholders through the development and implementation of effective and efficient policies and regulations across the board.

How can this be achieved in Nigeria?

Trust is very dependent on who tells the story. Transparency and integrity can be achieved through honest and open stakeholder engagement. The industry already has some of the highest standards of corporate governance but has very little or no advocates to speak on their behalf. By ensuring third party acknowledgement of these efforts in an unbiased, balanced and open way, trust can be re-established.

How has signing the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) impacted your company?

One take-away from PACI was the act of ‘designing’ corruption out of any system. Sahara has adopted this principle and rather than ‘fight’ an unending battle, has created an organized system through the use of technology via an Oracle ERP system to limit ‘temptation’ areas while driving the culture of the company and the PACI values through the entire organization.

The platform established under PACI by which Sahara abides to has enabled us not only limit corruption within our own system but has also helped to limit our level of exposure to corruption within the industry as a whole.

Thus, signing up to PACI has played a major role in reaffirming our stance on the importance of a sound governance framework as the foundation for sustainability in any enterprise.

How important is setting the tone at the top for building a culture of integrity and trust in an organisation?

It is imperative that the tone is set at the top as this usually lays the foundation for the organization’s ethical performance and the attendant trickle-down effect on employees of the company. To build a culture of integrity and trust it is important that the top management also live and lead by the culture set in the organization.

Top management are always in the spotlight, whether they know it or not and their actions reflects upon their employees with or without their consent. Therefore, it is critical that their actions are also in line with the ethics and integrity of the organization as those watching are more likely than not to imbibe what they see.

How can PACI and the community better contribute to increasing transparency in the oil and gas sector?

As earlier mentioned, one of the issues facing the oil and gas sector is the lack of trust which can be improved through transparency. PACI and the community can contribute to increase transparency in the sector through the following;

- The use of self regulation from established industry standards, to setting and enforcing rules and guidelines relating to the conducts of companies in the industry. Self regulation helps to increase public trust, combat negative public perceptions, and to ensure commitment and compliance.

- Creating awareness through praise and recognition of companies that are in line with industry standards and have performed effectively over time. Praise and recognition helps to increase stakeholder engagement, rebuild trust and strengthen accountability within the industry.