Building Alliances for Effective CSR

Date: 11 April, 2012

An evening networking workshop was held by the Arabia CSR Network on Wednesday, 11th April 2012 in Dubai, in collaboration with the Swedish Business Council and the Swedish Trade Council, and with the support of the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa.

The event, titled ‘Building Alliances for Effective CSR’, focused on comparative learning within CSR where expertise and business cases were shared from the UAE.

Speaking at the event was Mrs. Habiba Al Marashi, President and Founder of the Arabia CSR Network, an organization focusing on fostering an understanding about corporate social responsibility and promoting sustainable development in the Arab countries. Mrs. Al Marashi stated that today sustainable business is much more than just managing risks and creating market reputation. It is increasingly focusing on creating value by converting challenges into opportunities.

Today, the United Arab Emirates is Sweden’s second largest trading partner in the Middle East. More than 150 Swedish companies are represented there. Mrs. Al Marashi also stated that Swedish businesses have a global reputation of being very good at advancing their competitiveness through responsible business practices. Sweden was also the first country to demand sustainability reports from state-owned enterprises. Therefore, it is important for Swedish businesses in the UAE to operate as models for sustainable development, especially in aspects such as occupational safety and environmental preservation.

One of the components of the workshop was an interactive group exercise which was facilitated by PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) Energy and Sustainability team in Abu Dhabi. This exercise helped the participants determine some of the most important CSR related issues and challenges for companies in the UAE.

The highlights of the day were the presentations by Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, Tristar Transport and Bank Sarasin-Alpen on how they have been able to integrate sustainability for creating organizational value while also contributing to various social issues and environmental challenges. Some of these companies have been recipients of the Arabia CSR Awards in the past. Their presentations served as excellent examples for other participants present at the seminar.

The Seminar’s key objective was to provide networking opportunities amongst local businesses and Swedish companies so that they could learn more about each other’s sustainable business strategies and CSR initiatives. This Seminar was the second CSR and sustainability related event organized by the Arabia CSR Network and Swedish Trade Council. The informative seminar was appreciated by all participants and speakers.