CSR Fundamentals for Small and Medium Enterprises

Arabia CSR network’s first workshop for the year 2013 raises sustainability awareness for SMEs

Date: 30th January, 2013

Arabia CSR Network, an organization whose primary objective is to actively engage companies in the region on corporate responsibility issues, conducted a workshop on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fundamentals for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in the Arab region. The workshop was held at the Millennium Plaza Hotel in Dubai.

This one-day course was organized for SME managers and owners to understand how they can drive business value by investing in CSR and Sustainability. The objective of the training was also to prove that CSR and responsible business practices should not be seen as an exclusive privilege of large and multi-national organizations, but a necessary investment for organizations of all sizes and from all sectors.

“It is a general perception that CSR and corporate sustainability are exclusive to large organizations and multi-national companies. However, if one assesses the coverage and impact of SMEs, it is obvious that the contribution made by small and medium sized companies serves as the backbone for the GDP of almost all countries across the world. It is therefore, imperative to include SMEs in the sustainability debate,” said Habiba Al Marashi, President of Arabia CSR Network and the UN Global Compact GCC Network.

The training had more than a dozen participants from various organizations and sectors ranging from Oil & gas, Logistics, Education, Health, Asset Management, Food & beverages, Recruiting and more. The workshop focused on topics such as ‘What is CSR?’, ‘The benefits of a CSR-centric approach’, ‘A step-by-step approach to CSR’ and ‘Communicating CSR progress’. The workshop made use of regional and international case studies and group exercises that further elaborated key corporate sustainability topics. It also shed light on the UN Global Compact Principles for responsible businesses and invited representatives from a couple of local SMEs to talk about their experiences in implementing CSR. These included speakers from Dubai Customs, Blossom Nursery, First Select International and Tristar Transport. Each of the speakers presented how CSR has helped create shared value for their business as well as for society.

The CSR Fundamentals workshop is one of the many capacity-building programs that the Network has planned for 2013. ACSRN conducts trainings covering a wide spectrum of CSR and corporate sustainability topics, such as Sustainability reporting using the GRI framework, Social Return on Investment, CSR Strategy & Leadership, Effective CSR Budgeting and Implementation and more. To ensure credibility of sustainability reports, ACSRN also offers external sustainability assurance services to companies in the MENA region.

“The Arabia CSR Network is very well placed to provide CSR trainings to build the capacity of organizations and businesses in the region, mainly because it is a regionally rooted organization that has acquired an in-depth understanding of the benefits and challenges faced by organizations in their efforts to meet their Corporate Social Responsibility within the region’s unique limitations and possibilities,” Mrs. Al Marashi added.

Click here to visit the Arabia CSR Network Facebook page for photographs of the training.